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Gonzaga women face another tough nonconference schedule

The Gonzaga women’s basketball team will face another challenging non-conference schedule, the school announced Wednesday.

The Zags will face four opponents that advanced to last year’s postseason, including perennial Pac-12 power Stanford, Michigan, Florida State and Northwestern.

Five GU opponents had top-100 RPI finishes last season, and six had .500 or better records.

“We are looking forward to another tough non-conference schedule, including a very competitive tournament in the Virgin Islands,” said Fortier, referring to the Paradise Jam on Nov. 24-26..

The three-day tournament takes place includes eight teams separated into two divisions. The Zags open the tournament against WNIT semifinalist Michigan, before facing Florida State, which advanced to the Sweet 16 last season. Gonzaga closes against Winthrop from the Big South Conference.

After an exhibition against Corban University, the Zags begin their regular season in the first-ever meeting with Nicholls State on Nov. 12. The Colonels won 10 games last season, before falling in the opening round of the Southland Conference tournament.

The following night, Gonzaga hosts UC Irvine. The Anteaters will play their first season under new head coach Tamara Inoue.

The Bulldogs travel to Stanford on Nov. 18. The Cardinal won 27 games last season, finishing in the Elite Eight.

Gonzaga opens December against another first-time opponent, Presbyterian College, on Dec. 3.

The Bulldogs welcome Washington State on Dec. 8. The regional rivals have met each year since 2010, with the last five matchups being decided by a combined 24 points. In the last meeting in Spokane, the Cougars rallied for a stunning 59-58 win in 2014.

On Dec. 11, Gonzaga makes the short trek to Cheney for a matchup with Eastern Washington. The Eagles return three of their four double-digit scorers from a team that won 20 games last season. Delaney Hodgins will be the team’s top returning scorer after averaging 15.7 points per game in 2015-16. GU used a buzzer-beating shot from Elle Tinkle to beat the Eagles in the latest meeting in Cheney in 2014.

Northwestern makes its first trip to Spokane on Dec. 19. The Big-Ten Conference member won the only other meeting between the teams two years ago in Evanston. The Wildcats ended last year with their fifth postseason appearance under head coach Joe McKeown after finishing the season 18-16 overall.

Gonzaga closes its non-conference schedule against Colgate on Dec. 22.

The Bulldogs begin West Coast Conference play at Pepperdine on Dec. 29, followed by a home matchup versus Pacific on Dec. 31.

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