MSU Women's Hoops v. N. Colorado (copy) (copy)

Montana State head coach Tricia Binford talks to her team during a timeout Jan. 9 at Worthington Arena.

BOZEMAN – The Montana State women’s basketball team faces five teams that advanced to the 2021 NCAA tournament as part of its 2021-22 schedule announced Bobcat head coach Tricia Binford on Monday afternoon.

“Our preseason schedule is going to be tough and will test us every single night,” Binford said. “Not only will we be playing against some elite competition with games against top 50 programs, but we will also face adverse road environments which will prepare us well for the Big Sky Conference season.”

After a home exhibition game against South Dakota Mines, MSU opens its regular season against Frontier Conference champion Carroll College on Nov. 9. The Bobcats will then begin a stretch of six consecutive road games starting at Gonzaga on Nov. 11.

The Zags captured the West Coast title last winter posting a 23-4 overall record and a 16-1 league mark en route to the NCAA tournament. Montana State closes out its opening road swing at UNLV on Nov. 13.

The Bobcats travel to the upper Midwest, fulfilling home and home agreements with South Dakota State and North Dakota before Thanksgiving. MSU faces SDSU in Brookings on Nov. 18. Last season, the Jackrabbits went 21-4 overall and won the Summit League with a 14-0 mark. SDSU fell in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Montana State closes out its second road trip in Grand Forks against the Fighting Hawks of Nov. 20.

MSU plays in its only regular-season tournament Thanksgiving weekend when it travels to San Luis Obispo, Calif., for the Cal Poly Invite. The Bobcats open play against North Texas on Nov. 26, followed by the Mustangs on Nov. 27.

Montana State opens December with Big Sky play facing Northern Colorado (Dec. 2) and Sacramento State (Dec. 4) in Worthington Arena. The two league contests start a six-game homestand for the Bobcats.

“After a season with no fans, or limited fans, we can’t wait to get back in front of our crowd,” Binford said. “We’re very grateful for the support we received from our fans last season, and now we want to give them something back.”

MSU will host sister school MSU-Billings on Thursday, Dec. 9 before closing out weekend play with Utah Valley on Saturday. The Bobcats defeated the Wolverines 66-63 in Orem last winter. Utah Valley went on to represent the Western Athletic Conference in the NCAA tournament.

The Bobcats close out their non-conference schedule before the Christmas break.

MSU plays Seattle U on Dec. 18 and BYU, Dec. 21. Last winter, the Cougars went 19-6 overall and 13-3 in WCC action. BYU advanced to the NCAA tournament where it upset Rutgers in the first round, before falling to eventual runner-up Arizona, 52-46, to move on to the Sweet 16.

Montana State resumes Big Sky play Dec. 30 at Weber State in Ogden, Utah. The annual Cat-Griz games take place Jan. 8 in Bozeman and Feb. 26 in Missoula. The Big Sky Conference Tournament will be March 7-11 in Boise, Idaho.

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