DURHAM, NC – Duke women’s basketball head coach Joanne P. McCallie announced the 2017-18 non-conference schedule Thursday, which features three teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2017, including the national champion.
The 2016-17 campaign saw the Blue Devils register eight wins against ranked opponents and finished the regular season with a 13-3 overall record, which was tied second in the ACC. Duke collected a 28-6 overall mark and received an NCAA Tournament bid for the 23rd time in school history.
Entering her 11th season with the Blue Devils, McCallie has guided Duke to four ACC regular season titles out of the last eight years, three ACC Championships and five NCAA Elite Eight appearances, while posting a 273-71 record.
“We are extremely excited for our non-conference schedule as we head into our 10th year of developing them,” commented McCallie. “Whether it’s the Pac-12 or the Big 10 or the SEC, we have excellent conference coverage and a tremendous opportunity to move forward in all that we are trying to do. In addition, our home schedule is absolutely fantastic and a great opportunity to enjoy and grow our fan base in Cameron.”
Duke will feature its annual Blue/White Scrimmage Sunday, Oct. 22 in Cameron Indoor Stadium at 2 p.m., before hosting Alaska Anchorage Sunday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m., for its final exhibition contest.
The Blue Devils will travel west to face Grand Canyon on Nov. 12 for their season opener, which will mark the fourth straight year Duke will open the season on the road. Duke will play its first contest in the state of Arizona, after taking down the Lopes, 90-47, in 2016-17. The Blue Devils feature three road contests over their first four games to open the season.
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Prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, the Blue Devils will travel to face two opponents on the road, competing against Villanova and Old Dominion on Nov. 19 and 22, respectively.
Duke will close the November slate as it hosts Oregon State on Nov. 25 and Presbyterian Nov. 26. Oregon State will invade Cameron just two years off advancing to the NCAA Final Four.
“Our schedule gives us different experiences as we start,” said McCallie. “Then, boom, a (2016) Final Four team in Oregon State shows up. That’s going to be a challenge, of course, and then it goes from there.”
Ohio State will make the trip to Durham, N.C., for the Big Ten/ACC Women’s Basketball Challenge on Thursday, Nov. 30, marking the 11th straight year of the event that pits two perennial strong conferences against each other.
The Blue Devils will kick off December with its lone road game as they will face 2017 NCAA Champion South Carolina Sunday, Dec. 3 in Columbia, S.C. Duke registered a 74-63 victory over then third-ranked South Carolina in Cameron a year ago.
Duke will close out the non-conference slate with five home contests against UNC Greensboro (Dec. 7), Winthrop (Dec. 10), Maine (Dec. 19), Wyoming (Dec. 21) and Liberty (Dec. 29). With the Spartans coming to Cameron Dec. 7, the Blue Devils will welcome back 2015 graduate Ka’lia Johnson, who is in her second year as a graduate assistant.
McCallie will also face Maine Dec. 19, where she kicked off her coaching career from 1993-2000. She spent eight seasons with the Black Bears as she helped lead them to seven straight 20-win campaigns, six straight NCAA Tournament appearances and was a three-time conference coach of the year. In 2009, McCallie was inducted in the Maine Athletics Hall of Fame.
Duke returns four starters off the 2016-17 squad in Lexie Brown, Rebecca Greenwell, Leaonna Odom and Kyra Lambert. After tearing her ACL in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, Lambert is not expected to be available at the start of the season.
Duke also welcomes back juniors Haley Gorecki and Faith Suggs, sophomore Emily Schubert, redshirt junior Sofia Roma and senior Erin Mathias. McCallie will also add transfer Bego Faz Davalos, Mikayla Boykin, Jade Williams, Jayda Adams and Madison Treece to the mix in 2017-18.
(Photos courtesy of Mel Brown and Duke Athletics)