Bucknell announces 2019-20 schedule

LEWISBURG — First-year women’s basketball coach Trevor Woodruff will begin his Bucknell tenure on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at Virginia, kicking off a challenging but exciting non-conference schedule for the Bison.

Bucknell will play four non-league opponents that won 20 or more games a year ago, including one that played in the NCAA Tournament and two others that appeared in the WNIT. Other highlights include a trip to Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Clasico, a rematch with a top-50 program in Quinnipiac, and home games with Temple, Drexel, Monmouth and St. Bonaventure.

“Our non-conference scheduling philosophy will be to try to find the best teams from other mid-major conferences and also to play teams from power-five conferences once or twice per year,” said Woodruff. “Not only are we trying to bolster our strength of schedule, but we want to give our student-athletes opportunities to play in those kinds of environments. We want to be challenged before the start of Patriot League play.”

Bucknell’s 47th year of varsity women’s basketball kicks off in Charlottesville on Nov. 5, which will mark the earliest start date in team history. The Cavaliers are rebuilding under second-year head coach Tina Thompson, a four-time WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold-medalist. Virginia, which last season finished 12-19 overall and 5-11 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, won the only other series meeting in 1988-89.

Four days later, Monmouth will be the guest for Bucknell’s home opener. The Bison drilled the Hawks 70-32 in last year’s season lidlifter, but Monmouth went on to go 9-9 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play. Another one of Bucknell’s most one-sided 2018-19 road wins came at St. Bonaventure (77-46), and the Bonnies return to Sojka Pavilion on Nov. 13.

Bucknell heads back out on the road for a Saturday, Nov. 16 date with Quinnipiac in Hamden, Conn.

On Wednesday, Nov. 20, Temple makes its first-ever visit to Sojka Pavilion. The Owls went 7-9 in the American Athletic Conference a year ago. The only other meeting between the two programs was a Temple victory at the FIU Tournament in 1992-93.

The Bison will then spend Thanksgiving Week at the Puerto Rico Clasico, taking on Howard on Wednesday, Nov. 27 followed by Cincinnati on Thanksgiving Day. Bucknell and Cincinnati will clash for the first time.

“What a great opportunity the Puerto Rico trip will be for our student-athletes,” said Woodruff. “Not every program gets the chance to make a trip like this. It’s something that sets us apart as a program. It’s a chance to get away during a holiday break and get to know one another off campus. It’s also very much a business trip, as we will be facing two quality opponents that will ultimately make us better.”

Bucknell travels to George Mason on Wednesday, Dec. 4 and hosts Drexel on Sunday, Dec. 8 before taking a 13-day break for final exams.

Bucknell wraps up non-conference play with a pair of road games at Saint Francis (Dec. 21) and Stony Brook (Dec. 29).

Bucknell begins Patriot League play on Thursday, Jan. 2 at Army, with the league home opener coming three days later against Lafayette. The Bison will play three of their first four conference games on the road, but in February they will have a key stretch with Loyola, Navy, Holy Cross and Lehigh coming to Sojka Pavilion over a span of five games.

Bucknell and American will play a rematch of the 2019 Patriot League championship game at Sojka Pavilion on Wednesday, Jan. 15. The two teams will meet again in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Feb. 15.

The team will celebrate Senior Day on Leap Day – Saturday, Feb. 29 – against Boston University, and then the final prep for the Patriot League Tournament will come at Lafayette on Wednesday, March 4.