McNeese Women's Basketball releases 2014-2015 season schedule

McNeese Women's Basketball releases 2014-2015 season schedule
2014-15 McNeese Women's Basketball Schedule

Nov. 14           Louisiana College (7 p.m.)

Nov. 16           Tulane (2 p.m.)

Nov. 20           LSU-Alexandria (7 p.m.)

Nov. 23           Southern Miss (2 p.m.)

Nov. 26           at Texas A&M (TBD)

Dec. 3              Wiley (DH/6 p.m.)

Dec. 10            Centenary (7 p.m.)

Dec. 13            at Louisiana-Monroe (TBD)

Dec. 17            at Texas (11 a.m.)

Dec. 19            at Rice (7 p.m.)

Dec. 29            Texas Southern (7 p.m.)

Jan. 3               *Stephen F. Austin (1 p.m./DH)

Jan. 5               *Houston Baptist (5:30 p.m./DH)

Jan. 10             *at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (TBD/DH)

Jan. 14             *Abilene Christian (7 p.m.)

Jan. 17             *at Sam Houston State (TBD/DH)

Jan. 22             *at Incarnate Word (TBD)

Jan. 24             *at Northwestern State (1 p.m./DH)

Jan. 29             *at Southeastern La. (TBD)

Jan. 31             *New Orleans (4 p.m./DH)

Feb. 5              *at New Orleans (TBD)

The McNeese women's basketball program released its 2014-15 schedule Wednesday and it's one that features contests against five teams that played in the postseason last year and home tilts against Tulane and Southern Mississippi has the Cowgirls facing five postseason teams from 2013-14, including games against Texas A&M, Texas, Tulane and Southern Miss.

The seventh-year head coach Brooks Donald Williams is eager to see the challenges a strong schedule will bring to the Cowgirls.  In addition to Tulane and Southern Miss., both WNIT participants in 2013-14, the Cowgirls will face NCAA tourney teams such as Texas A&M and Texas.

"We're thrilled about the upcoming season and the challenges that lie ahead,” Williams said.  “ We have an extremely challenging, home and away, non-conference schedule. Several of our non-conference opponents participated in postseason play this past year, and three of those will tip it off in Burton Coliseum in front of our home crowd.”

The Cowgirls will open the season with four consecutive home games beginning on November 14 against Louisiana College.  Also during that four game home stand, McNeese will face Tulane (Nov. 16), LSU-Alexandria (Nov. 20) and Southern Miss. (Nov. 23).  

“Coach Ben Law did a fantastic job of scheduling tough, quality opponents and different styles of basketball for our girls and for our Cowgirl fans,” said Williams. “We've worked really hard to bring good basketball during the months of November and December to Lake Charles, something we've gotten numerous requests for from our loyal fans."  

Other non-conference home games for the Cowgirls will be against Wiley College (Dec. 3), Centenary (Dec. 10) and Texas Southern (Dec. 29), who also played in the WNIT a year ago.

The non-conference road schedule has the Cowgirls playing two teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament and it starts with a Nov. 26 tilt at Texas A&M, the 2011 National Champions.  Last season the Aggies advanced to the Elite Eight before falling to eventual National Champion Connecticut.  McNeese will also travel to Louisiana-Monroe on Dec. 13, Texas (Dec. 17), and Rice (Dec. 19).

The Cowgirls return three starters, including their top two leading scorers in juniors Allison Baggett and Jayln Johnson. 

Baggett, a second team All-Southland Conference pick as a sophomore, led the team and ranked third in the league with 17.8 ppg average.  She also led the Cowgirls with a 34.5 three-point field goal percent and was second on the team with 27 steals.

Johnson, who spearheaded the Cowgirls' offense at the point guard position, led the team and ranked third in the SLC in assists, dishing out 4.3 per contest.  She ranked third on the team in scoring with 10.2 ppg.

McNeese also returns six other letter winners (four sophomores and two seniors) who saw a good amount of playing time last season.  Alaina Verdin and Talisa Boyd are the lone seniors on the team while the sophomores include Hannah Cupit, Amber Donnes, Haily Jenkins and Victoria Rachal.  Mercede Rogers from Crowley will join the team after spending last season as a redshirt.  The 2014-15 squad will have seven freshmen making their collegiate debut.

The Southland Conference has a new format this season where Saturdays will consist of doubleheaders with the men.  The women will play single games on either Wednesdays or Thursdays while the men will play their single games on Mondays.

McNeese will open the conference slate at home on Jan. 3 against WBI finalist Stephen F. Austin.  The Cowgirls will also host Houston Baptist, Abilene Christian, UNO, Southeastern Louisiana, Northwestern State (SLC tournament champion and NCAA participant), Lamar, Nicholls and Central Arkansas.  The Central Arkansas game is the final regular season game on Saturday, March 7 and it will be centered around the LHSAA Girls Basketball Tournament.  That game has an 11 a.m. start time.  All but two home Saturday conference games will begin at 1 p.m. while weekday conference games will either tip-off at 5:30 or 7 p.m.

by Pam LaFosse