With the release of the American Athletic Conference slate of games Wednesday, the complete 2017-18 UConn women’s basketball schedule is official.
The Huskies open the regular season Nov. 12 on ESPN against Stanford in the Countdown to Columbus event at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. That kicks off 13 nonconference games, including 10 before the New Year.
The 16-game conference schedule begins Dec. 31 against Memphis at the XL Center (1:30 p.m, SNY).
The Huskies, who are 82-0 in the regular season and tournament since the American conference formed, will play at East Carolina (Jan. 3, 7 p.m.) before visiting USF Jan. 6 (7 p.m.). UConn returns home for UCF Jan. 9 (Gampel Pavilion, 7 p.m.) and will travel to Houston Jan. 13 (3 p.m.).
On Jan. 18, the Huskies host Tulsa at Gampel (7 p.m.) and are at Temple Jan. 21 (1 p.m., ESPN2). The second game against Memphis is away Jan. 24 before Tulane visits Gampel Jan. 27 (noon).
The February conference games: Cincinnati (Feb. 4, XL Center), UCF (Feb. 7, Orlando), Wichita State (Feb. 10, XL Center), Temple (Feb. 18, XL Center, CBS Sports Network), Tulane (Feb. 21, New Orleans), SMU (Feb. 24, Dallas) and USF (Feb. 26, Gampel). Wichita State is joining the American this season and has never faced UConn.
The AAC Tournament is March 3-6 at Mohegan Sun Arena.
UConn is coming off a 36-1 season that ended with an overtime loss to Mississippi State in the national semifinal, ending a 111-game winning streak. But the Huskies return four starters: All-Americans Napheesa Collier, Katie Lou Samuelson and Gabby Williams, and three-year starter Kia Nurse.
The Huskies also return sophomore guard Crystal Dangerfield and will add 6-foot-6 forward Azura Stevens, a transfer from Duke. UConn has one of the best incoming freshmen classes in the country, and Kentucky transfer Batouly Camara, a 6-2 forward, will provide size and depth.
So the Huskies will be among the elite teams in the country and will again face their toughest regular-season tests during the nonconference portion of the schedule.
UConn will play four nonconference home games, five on the road and four at neutral sites, including Mohegan Sun Arena. Eleven of its 13 nonconference opponents were in the 2017 NCAA Tournament and seven advanced to the regional semifinals.
Also, UConn will face two Final Four teams — Stanford and national champion South Carolina on ESPN (Feb. 1 in Columbus, S.C). The meeting with Stanford is the first between the schools since Nov. 17, 2014, when the Huskies lost in overtime.
The regular season home opener is Nov. 17 against California (Gampel Pavilion, SNY). Two days later, the Huskies will host Maryland (XL Center, ESPN) before heading to the West Coast for three games during Thanksgiving week.
The trip begins at the legendary Pauley Pavilion, where the Huskies will face UCLA Nov. 21 (ESPNU). On Saturday, Nov. 25, UConn is in Eugene, Ore., to face Michigan State in the Nike/PK80 event that celebrates Phil Knight’s 80th birthday.
The trip concludes in Reno for a Nov. 28 game against Nevada. That serves as a homecoming game for Williams, who grew up in nearby Sparks.
Rival Notre Dame is at UConn Dec. 3 (4 p.m., ESPN) and the Huskies play at former Big East foe DePaul Dec. 8 in Chicago. On Dec. 19, UConn play Oklahoma in the Naismith Hall of Fame Women’s Holiday Showcase at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Nurse, from Hamilton, Ontario, will have her homecoming game Dec. 22 at Toronto’s Mattamy Athletic Center — the former Maple Leaf Garden. UConn will face Duquesne in a game that will be played about 40 miles from Nurse’s hometown.
There are still three nonconference games after UConn moves into its conference schedule. The Huskies travel to Texas for a Martin Luther King Day game against the Longhorns on Jan. 15 (ESPN2). UConn visits the national champion Gamecocks Feb. 1 in South Carolina (ESPN) and will host former conference rival Louisville on Feb. 12 (ESPN2).