The Big Ten released conference opponents for Northwestern today, and here’s how the program’s slate will look:
— NU Women's Hoops (@nuwbball) June 20, 2016
During the 2015-16 season, the Wildcats went 4-14 in the Big Ten but advanced all the way to semifinals of the conference tournament in March, winning games against Wisconsin, Minnesota and Indiana before falling to top-seeded Maryland. Then-junior forward Nia Coffey scored 100 total points over the course of the four games, setting a tournament record.
NU’s season ended in the first round of the WNIT in a loss to San Diego.
In 2016-17, the Cats will play only 16 conference games as opposed to 18 a season ago. The reduced number of Big Ten games may prove beneficial, as NU will only face off against powerhouses Maryland, Michigan State and Ohio State once each.
However, the team will also face potential bottom-feeders just once with only three games scheduled against Penn State, Wisconsin and Illinois. Two games against a Minnesota team sans No. 4 WNBA Draft pick Rachel Banham, who tied an NCAA record against the Cats with 60 points, would have been a good break for the team as well.
The teams NU will play twice — Indiana, Purdue and Rutgers — are all middle-of-the-pack programs.
Monday’s schedule announcement adds on to the previously announced Big Ten/ACC Challenge opponent from a few weeks ago. NU will face Virginia on Dec. 1.