Tarleton women’s basketball adds nonconference opponents to complete schedule

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STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton’s first-ever Division I basketball schedule is complete, as head coach Misty Wilson announced the Texans’ nonconference matchups on Friday. 

The Texans will play a total of nine games before beginning Western Athletic Conference play on Jan. 8 as previously announced. Tarleton’s nonconference slate features four home games, three road affairs versus regional Division I opponents and includes a Dec. 20-21 trip to Las Vegas, Nevada for the South Point Classic. 

“I really like our schedule,” Wilson said. “In nonconference, the only time we have to fly is when we go to Las Vegas. That’s kind of nice in the middle of a pandemic.” 

Tarleton’s Division I debut becomes official on Nov. 25 with a season-opening game at North Texas. The NCAA Division I Council approved a Nov. 25 start date for men’s and women’s basketball in September. 

“The biggest deal is having a game in Texas,” Wilson said. “It’s where you don’t have to travel out of state in the midst of a pandemic, so that was big for us. 

“North Texas has a great program,” Wilson continued. “They do a lot of great things, and I know coach [Jalie] Mitchell is doing everything she can to get that program going in the right direction. They just added a couple coaches from the University of Texas staff. I think they’re going to be a tough opponent.” 

Fans will have their first opportunity to see the Texans inside Wisdom Gym when the team hosts Howard Payne University at 2 p.m. on Nov. 28. The contest is part of a doubleheader with Tarleton men’s basketball, which plays the Yellow Jackets at the conclusion of the women’s game. This is the only scheduled doubleheader of the season.

A home tilt against Bacone College on Dec. 2 begins a busy December for the Texans, who will play seven games in a three-week span.  

Tarleton then hits the road for matchups with Lamar University on Dec. 5 and Oral Roberts on Dec. 10. Both Lamar and ORU are scheduled to make return trips to Stephenville in 2021. 

“That gives us a couple Division I opponents (for 2021),” Wilson said. “This year, it was kind of tough as late as we were scheduling. I think it will be exciting for our fans to have some Division I opponents at home.” 

The Texans return to Stephenville for games with Champion Christian College on Dec. 12 and Arlington Baptist on Dec. 14. 

“We are really appreciative of the nonconference games we have at home,” Wilson said, “because our fans deserve that Division I experience and to see how we match up against not only nonconference opponents, but our conference opponents as well. To be able to give them that a little earlier than you would with the conference opponents, is going to be big, I think.” 

The South Point Classic first pits Tarleton against North Alabama on Dec. 20. The Texans will then play Eastern Michigan on Dec. 21. Both games tip off at 2 p.m. CT. 

Both Tarleton basketball programs competed in the Division II edition of the tournament on a regular basis. The women’s team last played in Las Vegas during the 2015-2016 season. 

“It’s ideal, because one, Vegas is fun,” Wilson said of competing in the South Point Classic. “It’s a draw for your players, it’s a draw for their families, it’s a draw for your fans. So there’s that aspect. But also, in the midst of a pandemic, it’s ideal because at the South Point, you have everything. The arena is there, our hotel is there, the restaurants are in there. Really, you wouldn’t have to leave that facility. Basically, you can keep your team there, and as long as everyone is testing negative, stay safe there.” 

Tarleton breaks for 17 days before opening the conference portion of its season on Jan. 8-9 in Phoenix with consecutive games against Grand Canyon.  

The Texans’ conference home pairings are with California Baptist (Jan. 15-16), Utah Valley (Jan. 29-30), Dixie State (Feb. 19-20) and UTRGV (March 5-6). 

The WAC released its men’s and women’s basketball schedules on Oct. 26. Teams will play back-to-back games versus the same opponent at the same site in an effort to reduce travel and exposure. 

The March 6 game versus the Vaqueros marks the final contest of its inaugural Division I season. Tarleton is ineligible to compete in conference or postseason tournaments while the athletic department completes its NCAA-mandated four-year transition phase. 

“It’s going to be tough,” Wilson said of the conference schedule layout. “It’s going to force us to play some players who maybe normally wouldn’t get in the rotation. It’ll be good for them to get that experience and see how they measure up maybe at a time when they’re not usually ready. We’ll have to count on our depth a little bit. The most important thing right now is getting games in and giving the players that are here and don’t want to take advantage of the (NCAA eligibility waiver) a valuable senior year experience.” 

Visit tarletonsports.com to access the full Texan women’s basketball schedule. 

Individual game general admission tickets can be purchased online at tarletonsports.com/tickets or in person at the Tarleton Athletic Ticket Office. Fans are encouraged to buy their tickets in advance due to capacity inside Wisdom Gym being limited to 50 percent per Governor Abbott’s Executive Order No. GA-28. Walk-up sales will not be allowed this season, and the ticket office inside Wisdom Gym is only open for will call and complimentary ticket pickup one hour before tipoff on game days.

Questions related to basketball ticket sales should be directed to the Tarleton Athletic Ticket Office at tickets@tarleton.edu or 254-968-1832. Fans unable to attend in person can also watch every home game for free through the Tarleton Sports Network at tarletonsports.com/watch. Links to watch road games are provided on schedule pages at TarletonSports.com. All women’s basketball games will be broadcast on 100.7 FM in Stephenville this season.


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