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Amna Subhan | | November 5, 2022

10 can't-miss non-conference women's basketball matchups this season

Q&A with South Carolina women's basketball star, and defending champ, Aliyah Boston

The women’s college basketball season tips off Monday, Nov. 7, and some star-studded matchups highlight the calendar.

Not only are these games simply fun to watch, they can also bolster or undermine cases for bracket seeding come March. 

Here are 10 non-conference games to circle on your calendar: 

Texas at UConn — Monday, Nov. 14 

Rori Harmon Texas women's basketball

The non-conference lineup begins a week into the season with Texas visiting UConn in what is now a top-10 matchup. The second game of the season for both comes with a huge test.

With Paige Bueckers going down for the season with a torn ACL, this will provide a glimpse into how the Huskies will look without the star junior and without three graduated seniors Christyn Williams, Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Evina Westbrook, who were important pieces to last season’s national championship runner-up team.

Meanwhile, the Longhorns have a key opportunity to solidify their position as one of the top-5 teams in the nation. The AP ranked Texas No. 3 in the preseason poll as UConn sits at No. 6. Big 12 tournament MOP — as a freshman — Rori Hamron will look to take Texas to new heights. That starts with defeating a Geno Auriemma squad no matter the personnel. 

Catch the game Monday, Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. ET on FS1

South Carolina at Stanford — Sunday, Nov. 20 

The last two national champions. Two possible contenders for this year’s title. What more could one ask for in a non-conference matchup? 

After the 2021 Final Four where Stanford escaped South Carolina by a single point, the Gamecocks got revenge last regular season defeating the Cardinal at home 65-61. But South Carolina didn’t just avenge its semifinal heartbreak — it broke program history overcoming an 18-point deficit. 

This season, South Carolina and Stanford rank No. 1 and 2 respectively in the AP preseason poll, and could remain at the the top throughout the season. Both rosters, with the exception of a a couple impact seniors moving on, look relatively the same. Aliyah Boston headlines the Gamecocks; Haley Jones leads the Cardinal. 

This is a can’t-miss list, but this one in particular, you do not want to miss. The two face off Sunday, Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. on ABC

UConn vs. NC State — Sunday, Nov. 20 

The Huskies and Wolfpack last met earlier this year in the 2022 Elite Eight. Yes, that one, that became instant classic. 

If you don’t remember, here’s a refresher: the bid for the Final Four went into double overtime for the first time in tournament history, Paige Bueckers and Jakia Brown-Turner went blow-for-blow hitting clutch shots, and UConn finished off the Wolfpack 91-87 to advance to its 14 consecutive Final Four. 

Almost seven months removed, they’ll face off again in Connecticut, but both teams will look different than their respective Elite Eight squads. UConn will be without star guard Bueckers after a torn ACL ended her season in August. Last season’s Wolfpack was a veteran team with three graduate starters and one senior. Only Brown-Turner remains from that lineup, but still NC State retains a fairly experienced group.

The matchup gets things started before South Carolina vs. Stanford at 1 p.m. ET on FS1. That Sunday will be fun, really fun. 

RANKINGS: View the latest women's basketball AP poll

Ohio State vs. Louisville — Wednesday, Nov. 30

The 2022 ACC/Big Ten Challenge features Louisville vs. Ohio State. The challenge feature six teams from each conference. 

Before this. Ohio State gets a meeting early against Tennessee. Both the Cardinals and Buckeyes are coming off successful tournament runs, with the Buckeyes upsetting a No. 3 seed to make the Sweet 16, while Louisville danced all the way to the Final Four. 

Ohio State returns with its four of five top scorers while Louisville integrates new starters into the mix. Hailey Van Lith will be one to watch as a player than get can hot and stay hot; Jacy Sheldon and Taylor Mikesell on the Buckeyes lead a high-powered offense. 

Tune in on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ACCN. 

Iowa vs. NC State — Thursday, Dec. 1 

The second highlight of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge comes from Iowa vs. NC State in the 15th annual event. 

As of the preseason poll, Iowa only has two ranked non-conference games on the schedule, meaning both will carry great importance. Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes can collect more national recognition and prove that top-5 rank. 

NC State gets its second major non-conference assessment against a fun Iowa squad. Monika Czinano vs. Camille Hobby will be a matchup to watch with Czinano earning All-Big Ten honors and Hobby most likely stepping into a starting role at center. Watch the game on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

UConn vs. Notre Dame — Sunday, Dec. 4 

Azzi Fudd shoots

In yet another UConn matchup in this list (and not the last), the Huskies face Notre Dame in the Jimmy V Women's Classic. 

It’ll stage Notre Dame’s first top-10 matchup, according to the preseason poll, and serve as a big Irish test after a Sweet 16 run in last season’s tournament. Niele Ivey’s third season at the helm could result in a deep postseason run with a talented roster, and that begins against UConn. 

The Huskies make this list five times total with one of toughest schedules in the country. Two sophomores Azzi Fudd and Olivia Miles will be an exciting matchup at guard. Both had successful seasons as freshmen, Miles particularly bloomed in the postseason, while Fudd should get an expanded role this season. 

Watch this non-conference game Sunday, Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. ET on ABC

Iowa vs. Iowa State — Wednesday, Dec. 7 

These two schools may be just a couple hours away in Iowa, but they play in difference conferences. Each matchup between the Hawkeyes and Cyclones comes with heavy implications for who gets bragging rights for the entire year. 

This year might be the biggest between in-state rivals with both ranking in the preseason top 10, the highest for both programs. 

The Hawkeyes are led by Caitlin Clark, who topped the nation in scoring and was second in assists, Iowa State’s best scorer Ashley Joens is already the Cyclones' all-time leader in points. Expect a high-scoring, high-energy game Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.  

Stanford vs. Tennessee — Sunday, Dec. 18 

Just before the holidays, Stanford and Tennessee face off in another pivotal Pac-12 vs. SEC matchup. While Stanford will have already competed against South Carolina, this will mark Tennessee’s first big significant test against a top squad. 

Stanford has won three straight against the Lady Vols since 2019. However, Tennessee overall has the Cardinal beat in all-time meetings 25-13 dating back to the dominant Pat Summitt teams. 

Watch these two square off Sunday, Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. ET on ABC.

2023 MARCH MADNESS: Women's NCAA tournament schedule, dates, times

Tennessee vs. UConn — Thursday, Jan. 26 

Perhaps the greatest non-conference rivalry in women’s basketball meets for the 26th time. The Lady Vols haven’t beat the Huskies sine 2007 when Candace Parker led a Summitt-coached team.  

At this point in the season, both teams will be well established and not vying for an early statement. We don’t yet know what the rankings will look like, but you can't miss this rivalry no matter what.

Catch these rivals battle Thursday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN

South Carolina at UConn — Sunday, Feb. 5

South Carolina vs. UConn

A rematch of the 2022 NCAA national championship headlines the last non-conference matchup for this list and for these two teams. South Carolina won the title handily 64-49 last season and beat the Huskies in the regular season as well in the Battle 4 Atlantis. 

Despite UConn not having three of five starters from that title game, the rivalry will still be a sight to see. In Hartford, UConn will look to use the home court advantage to avenge the loss. 

The Huskies hold the all-time wins in the matchup 9-3, winning the first seven matchups before the Gamecocks finally caught them in 2020. This game could prove vengeance for UConn or continue South Carolina’s dominance against the once-unbeatable juggernaut. 

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