The early portion of the Ohio State women’s basketball team’s 2017-18 season won’t lack in schedule strength.
Ohio State announced Monday a pair of November games against Stanford and Connecticut. Both schools reached the Final Four this season and are coached by two of the three winningest coaches in NCAA women’s basketball history.
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, who won 110 in five seasons as Ohio State’s coach before leaving for Stanford in 1985, will make her return to Columbus on Friday, Nov. 10 when the Cardinal meets Ohio State in St. John Arena.
VanDerveer is entering her 39th season as an NCAA coach, a total that does not include a year spent coaching the United States women’s Olympic team, which won gold in Atlanta in 1996. She earned her 1,000th collegiate coaching win during the 2016-17 season.
On Sunday, Nov. 12, Ohio State will face Connecticut in the previously announced “Countdown to Columbus” showcase event at Nationwide Arena, site of the 2018 Women’s Final Four.
Connecticut has won four of the past five NCAA women’s basketball titles. Led by coach Geno Auriemma, the Huskies reached their 10th straight Final Four in the 2016-17 season before losing to Mississippi State on an overtime buzzer-beater that snapped an 111-game win streak.
The 2017-18 season will be the third straight in which Ohio State will face UConn. The Huskies defeated the Buckeyes by 19 points in Hartford, Connecticut, last December and by 44 at Value City Arena in November 2015.
As part of the showcase, Stanford will face Louisville at Nationwide Arena on Nov. 12.
The remainder of Ohio State’s nonconference schedule will be announced later, as will times and television broadcast info for the two showcase games.
Ohio State finished with a 28-7 record last season. The Buckeyes won a share of the Big Ten regular-season title and for the second straight year reached the Sweet 16 before falling 99-76 to Notre Dame.