By Sofia Scekic
The Pac-12 Conference announced today the weekly matchups and game sites for its 2020-21 women’s basketball regular season, set to tip off on Dec. 4 and conclude on Mar. 1. Additionally, Stanford announced the dates of three non-conference matchups early in the season at Maples Pavilion.
The Cardinal will play each Pac-12 school twice this upcoming season for a total of 22 conference games; before last season was cut short due to COVID-19, Stanford played only 18 conference games and played Arizona, ASU, USC and UCLA once.
The No. 2 Cardinal open the season with a non-conference matchup at home against Cal Poly on Nov. 25. Stanford’s men’s hoops will also kick off its season on the same day in Maples Pavilion with a matchup against Utah Valley. Game times have not been set for the men’s or women’s games, and the Pac-12 said it will release the exact dates and times for each women’s conference game once its television partners finalize their basketball coverage schedule.
After the conference announced the postponement of football, basketball and winter sports seasons in early August, the Pac-12 convened again in late September to reevaluate the COVID-19 situation and ultimately determined that the basketball season could begin on Nov. 25.
The Cardinal’s other two non-conference games will be against the University of the Pacific on Nov. 29 and UC Davis on Dec. 11.
The women’s team will kick off Pac-12 play between Dec. 4 and 7 at home when Washington State and Washington come to visit. The Cardinal played both Washington schools twice last season, finishing with a 4-0 record against the two schools.
The Cardinal will then travel across the Bay between Dec. 12 and 14 to visit Cal in the first of their two matchups. The second installment of the rivalry will occur on the final weekend of the regular season, with Cal visiting Maples Pavilion at some point between Feb. 26 and March 1.
During the third week of conference play, the Cardinal will travel to Southern California for matchups with USC and UCLA. The then-No. 10 Bruins defeated the Cardinal at Maples in early February last season, but the Cardinal topped the UCLA women in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament four weeks later. The Bruins are currently No. 9 in the preseason poll.
The Cardinal then travel to Arizona between Jan. 1 and 4 for their second Top-10 matchup, playing No. 7 Arizona and ASU. The Wildcats bested the Cardinal 73-72 in overtime at the McKale center in Tucson in the only matchup between the two schools last season.
After five straight away games, No. 10 Oregon and No. 18 Oregon State will visit Maples between Jan. 8 and 11 for two more Top 25 games. The Ducks, who beat Stanford twice in last year’s regular season and in the Pac-12 Tournament Championship, will look to rebuild after the loss of Sabrina Ionescu, Satou Sabally and Ruthy Hebard. Oregon’s trio of star players were all chosen within the top-eight picks of the 2020 WNBA draft, with Ionescu taken first overall and Sabally picked second. The Cardinal played the Beavers twice in the regular season as well as in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament; the two regular season games were each decided by three points.
The next week, between Jan. 14 and 18, Stanford will visit both Utah and Colorado for the first matchup of the season with each team. Neither team is ranked to start this season, although the Buffaloes matched the Cardinal bucket-for-bucket last season in both games. The Cardinal, however, bested Colorado both times last season, albeit one game went to overtime at Maples.
Over the remaining six weeks, the Stanford women will play each school again until the Pac-12 Tournament tips off on March 4, with the tournament championship set to be played on March 7. The conference tournament will take place in Las Vegas again.
Notable matchups over the final six weeks of the regular season include a game between Feb. 11 and 15 in Eugene against the Ducks again, and home dates with UCLA in late-January and Arizona in mid-February.