UT MARTIN WOMEN'S BASKETBALL RELEASES 2016-17 SCHEDULE
September 28, 2016
MARTIN, Tenn. – Coming off the program’s third consecutive Ohio Valley Conference regular season title, marking the program’s eighth OVC title in the past six years, University of Tennessee at Martin head women’s basketball coach Kevin McMillan has announced the Skyhawks’ 2016-17 schedule.
UT Martin will take on teams from 11 different conferences, including nine teams who qualified for postseason play in 2015-16 and a pair of first-time opponents. The Skyhawks will travel to seven states while hosting 13 games in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
The Skyhawks return just six players from a year ago while welcoming the addition of seven newcomers to the program. UT Martin will look to reload after notching the team’s third consecutive OVC title along with the program’s eighth 20-win season with an overall record of 22-11 and 14-2 league mark in 2015-16. The Skyhawks capped off the season with the program’s sixth straight postseason appearance while notching the team’s first postseason victory since 1999 in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
“Top to bottom, this is probably the most difficult schedule that we have played,” said McMillan. “There are some really good teams with Chattanooga, Louisville and Vanderbilt coming here – all of which spent a bit of time ranked in the Top 25 last season. When you add teams like Missouri, DePaul, Northwestern, Arkansas State and Ohio, it is one of the toughest schedules that we have had. With a young team combined with eight opponents that ranked in the top 50 in RPI last season, it should make for a very difficult slate heading into conference play.”
UT Martin will play a regular season tune-up with an exhibition contest against Christian Brothers on Monday, Nov. 7. The Skyhawks will then officially open the season against national powerhouse Louisville on Friday, Nov. 11.
“I think it is going to be great for our fans to be able to host a team that is probably going to be ranked in the top-5 in the country,” said McMillan. “I think it is a huge plus for our program that we can get a top ranked opponent into the Elam Center. It is something we try to do every year as a reward to our fans so they can see the nation’s top teams.”
Following the highly touted contest, the Skyhawks will hit the road for three consecutive road contests over the course of five days. UT Martin will travel to North Carolina A&T on Monday, Nov. 14 in the two team’s first matchup in series history before traveling to Western Carolina on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The Skyhawks will then head north to cap off the road trip with a contest at Ohio on Friday, Nov. 18.
UT Martin will return home for three consecutive home contests against three programs which participated in postseason play last season. The Skyhawks will play host to Vanderbilt on Sunday, Nov. 27 before closing the month of November against regional rival Southern Illinois on Tuesday, Nov. 29. The month of December will open up with a matchup against cross-state foe Chattanooga on Saturday, Dec. 3.
The Skyhawks will travel to Oral Roberts for the first matchup since the 1994-95 season on Saturday, Dec. 10 before hosting their final non-conference home game against Arkansas State on Wednesday, Dec. 14 for the team’s annual Kid Game. UT Martin will then pack up once again before closing the non-conference portion of the schedule with a three-game road swing against Missouri (Saturday, Dec. 17), DePaul (Tuesday, Dec. 20) and Northwestern (Thursday, Dec. 22).
“Scheduling is so difficult when you are a successful mid-major,” said McMillan. “I just hope that we are able to take the next step and beat some of these top programs. You have previous players who have given so much to build this program and set the stage for where the program is today. Hopefully our program continues to build upon the foundation that our past players have developed.”
Following the Christmas holiday, UT Martin will open OVC play with a pair of home contests against Jacksonville State (Thursday, Dec. 29) and Morehead State (Saturday, Dec. 31). The Skyhawks will then play its next two games on the road with a swing through Music City with matchups against Belmont (Thursday, Jan. 5) and Tennessee State (Saturday, Jan. 7).
The Skyhawks will play three of their next four games at home beginning against Southeast Missouri (Sunday, Jan. 15) before traveling to Eastern Illinois (Wednesday, Jan. 18) for a mid-week contest. Consecutive home contests against SIUE (Saturday, Jan. 21) and Austin Peay (Wednesday, Jan. 25) will wrap up the team’s extended stay in the friendly confines of the Elam Center.
UT Martin will close the month of January at league rival Murray State on Saturday, Jan. 28 before making the trek to middle Tennessee for a contest at Tennessee Tech on Wednesday, Feb. 1. The Skyhawks will then return to the Elam Center for two of their final three games against Eastern Kentucky (Saturday, Feb. 4) and Eastern Illinois (Wednesday, Feb. 8).
Three consecutive road games at SIUE (Saturday, Feb. 11), Southeast Missouri (Saturday, Feb. 18) and Austin Peay (Wednesday, Feb. 22) will signal the final days of the regular season. UT Martin will play its final regular season contest against Murray State on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Following the season, the OVC Basketball Championship will be held at historic Municipal Auditorium in downtown Nashville for the seventh consecutive year. The four-day, eight-team tournament will take place on March 1-4, 2017.