The NIU men’s and women’s basketball teams announced their schedules Wednesday, with both teams opening at home.
The men’s schedule includes trips to St. Mary’s, of California, Pittsburgh and Iowa State, while the women will head to Iowa State in addition to hosting the Compass Challenge against the other directional Illinois schools.
The men open at home against Northern Iowa on Nov. 9, then head to Iowa State on Nov. 12. They are at St. Mary’s on Dec. 5, at Pittsburgh on Dec. 16 and start conference play at Buffalo on Jan. 4.
The matchup with defending West Coast Conference Tournament champion St. Mary’s is the first meeting between the two schools. The Huskies will remain in the Golden State to face UC Davis on Dec. 7, after downing the Aggies, 71-62, last year in DeKalb.
“We have a great two-game swing before finals, heading to California to play St. Mary’s while also returning a game to UC Davis,” coach Mike Montgomery said. “Right after finals we have a challenging ACC opponent [Pittsburgh] and two local games to finish the nonconference. I think our nonconference schedule will have us ready for [Mid-American Conference] play, and we anticipate that it will be another competitive MAC season once again.”
The women open Nov. 5 at home against Harvard at 11 a.m. and are not home again until the Compass Challenge on Dec. 19 and 20. They’ll face Eastern on the first day and either Western or Southern on Day 2. Conference play opens Jan. 4 at Ohio.
“This is by far the most challenging nonconference schedule we have put together since I’ve been here,” said coach Lisa Carlsen, who is entering her fifth season at NIU. “I believe this roster can handle the caliber of teams we will get the opportunity to compete against and will embrace the challenge.”
The women put together a 19-15 record in 2019 and reached the quarterfinals of the MAC tournament. The Huskies return four starters from last year’s squad, as well as Courtney Woods, who missed a majority of the 2018-19 season because of injury. Woods was a first-team All-MAC selection in 2018 after leading the conference in scoring with 22.1 points a game that season.