ORONO, Maine — Teams at the University of Maine are accustomed to playing many games on the road each season. That includes the majority of their nonconference contests.
The Black Bear women’s basketball team is again bucking the trend during the 2014-15 season. Coach Richard Barron’s squad will play 15 regular-season home games, including seven non-league contests.
UMaine’s hoop schedules, along with those of their America East counterparts, were announced Thursday.
The UMaine women will play 17 games in front of their home fans, with all but one at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Two are exhibitions against Canadian programs McGill and New Brunswick.
The Black Bears are coming off a resurgent season, during which they posted a 17-15 record and won a game in the Women’s Basketball Invitational postseason tournament.
UMaine, which opens its regular season with a Nov. 14 contest at Bryant, will entertain the likes of Long Island (Nov. 16), Sacred Heart (Nov. 23), Brown (Nov. 28), Wright State or Boston College (Nov. 29), Harvard (Dec. 7), Dartmouth (Dec. 10) and Northeastern (Dec. 13) in non-league play.
Road games not involving America East opponents include Massachusetts, Central Connecticut, Elite 8 participant North Carolina (at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina), William & Mary and Yale.
“We realize that this is a demanding schedule with some very strong programs represented, but our team is looking forward to the challenge,” Barron said in a press release. “We are also very pleased to have such a strong field for our nonconference games at the Cross Insurance Center.”
The schedule for the UMaine men’s program presents a stark contrast.
First-year head coach Bob Walsh will begin his rebuilding project with a ballclub that will play 12 of its first 14 games on the road. The Black Bears’ only non-league home contests are against Wagner (Dec. 2), Long Island (Dec. 9) and New Jersey Institute of Technology (Jan. 19).
That means UMaine is headed on the road to play 10 of its nonconference games. Opponents include a Nov. 15 regular-season opener at Butler, NJIT, Northern Illinois, Dartmouth, Boston College, Seton Hall and Quinnipiac.
The pairings for the Black Bears’ appearance Nov. 21-23 at the Central Michigan Tournament have not yet been determined.
UMaine tips off its America East slate with a Jan. 3 road game at Albany, then returns for its Jan. 7 league home opener against Vermont.
“Our schedule is going to challenge us in a lot of different ways,” Walsh said. “We want to play against great competition year in and year out to get ready for the America East, and we understand we have to prepare at a high level every day to be ready.”
The Bears are scheduled to play a couple of exhibition games against in-state Division III teams that should generate considerable local interest. UMaine faces the University of Southern Maine on Nov. 1 in Gorham and has lined up a Nov. 6 tilt against Husson University of Bangor.
UMaine has not faced USM since 1996 and last played Husson in 2002.
Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Van Chancellor is the headliner later this month during the University of Maine 2014 Coaches Clinic.
Chancellor, a longtime college coach and a former WNBA head coach, will be joined in the gym by University of Tennessee assistant women’s basketball coach Dean Lockwood.
Other clinicians for the event are Barron and Walsh.
The clinic, which is open to basketball coaches from the elementary school level right up through high school and college, is scheduled for noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, at UMaine’s Memorial Gym.
The cost of the session is $75, and a social gathering will follow. For information or to register, contact Tracy Guerrette at 207-581-1075 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.