Five of Missouri’s first six opponents during Southeastern Conference play made the NCAA Women’s Division I tourney last season.
Four of those five games are on the road, too.
If the Tigers are going to make a leap forward in coach Robin Pingeton’s sixth season, they’ll have to earn it.
MU reached the third round of the Women’s NIT last season, the program’s third straight postseason appearance, but the Tigers haven’t made the NCAA tourney under Pingeton and haven’t been at all since 2006.
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The SEC slate begins with a showdown against Tennessee at 6 p.m. on Jan. 4 at Mizzou Arena.
Missouri then hits the road to face Georgia (Jan. 7) and South Carolina (Jan. 10). All three games will be on the SEC Network or SEC Network+.
Pingeton’s squad hosts Mississippi State on Jan. 14 before returning to the road for games at Arkansas (Jan. 17) and Texas A&M (Jan. 21).
Georgia is the only team in that stretch that failed to make the NCAA Women’s tourney field last spring.
Missouri, whose 19 wins last season were the most since 2006 and the third-most since 1993, finished seventh in the SEC last season, but Pingeton wants to improve on a 7-9 conference mark.
“We have put together a strong nonconference slate and then will face off with some of the top teams nationally as we compete in the SEC, which is the most challenging and competitive conference in the country,” she said. “Our players have once again worked very hard this offseason, and we are all anxious to carry the momentum from last year’s strong finish into this upcoming season.”
Missouri’s non-conference schedule includes games at former Big 12 rival Colorado (Dec. 12) and at Wichita State (Nov. 18) along with a battle against Wake Forest on Nov. 22 at Mizzou Arena.
After two home exhibition games, the Tigers start the season Nov. 13 at Missouri State and open the regular-season home schedule Nov. 16 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Pingeton said she hopes Missouri can draw crowds of at least 5,000 per game with a home slate that also includes Florida, LSU, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Vanderbilt.
MISSOURI WOMEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Home games in bold
Nov. 4 Southwest Baptist (exh.)TBD
Nov. 9 Quincy (exh.) TBD
Nov. 13 at Missouri State TBD
Nov. 16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff TBD
Nov. 18 at Wichita State TBD
Nov. 22 Wake Forest TBD
Nov. 24 SIU-Edwardsville TBD
Nov. 27 vs. Northeastern* 2 p.m.
Nov. 28 vs. at St. Mary’s* 4 p.m.
Dec. 2 Southeast Missouri TBD
Dec. 7 Loyola Marymount TBD
Dec. 12 at Colorado TBD
Dec. 20 Lamar TBD
Dec. 21 Texas State TBD
Dec. 29 Charlotte TBD
Jan. 4 Tennessee 6 p.m./SEC Network
Jan. 7 at Georgia 6 p.m./SEC Network+
Jan. 10 at South Carolina 11 a.m./SEC Network
Jan. 14 Mississippi State TBD
Jan. 17 at Arkansas 2 p.m./SEC Network
Jan. 21 at Texas A&M 7 p.m./SEC Network+
Jan. 24 Florida 1 p.m./SEC Network
Jan. 28 LSU TBD
Jan. 31 at Mississippi 4 p.m./SEC Network
Feb. 4 Georgia TBD
Feb. 7 at Mississippi State 2 p.m.
Feb. 11 Alabama TBD
Feb. 14 Arkansas TBD
Feb. 21 at Auburn 2 p.m.
Feb. 25 at Kentucky 6 p.m./SEC Network+
Feb. 28 Vanderbilt 1 p.m./SEC Network
March 2-6 SEC Tournament^ TBD
* in Moraga, Calif.
^ in Jacksonville, Fla.