Wichita State’s women’s basketball team will be home for the holidays when it plays host to the Winter Classic in December at Koch Arena.
The Shockers will face Austin Peay on Dec. 21 and Texas-Pan American on Dec. 22. It is WSU’s first home tournament since the Shocker Shootout during the 1998-99 season. WSU released its non-conference schedule on Wednesday. The Missouri Valley Conference portion of the schedule is expected to be announced later this month.
“Instead of going off to a Christmas tournament, we decided to do our own and be here,” coach Jody Adams said. “It’s a good community thing.”
Nebraska-Omaha will also play in the tournament, although not against Wichita State. It is in its transition period to NCAA Division I status and MVC scheduling rules discourage games against non-Division I opponents.
The Shockers, who won their first MVC title and played in their first NCAA Tournament last season, open the season in the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament on Nov. 8 against Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne at Koch Arena. The winner of that game faces the Stetson-Oklahoma winner. All teams are guaranteed three games and losers bracket games will be decided after the first round.
The Shockers travel to Kansas State on Nov. 20. The Wildcats defeated the Shockers 48-43 last season at Koch Arena.
WSU plays exhibition games against Central Methodist (Oct. 27) and Southwest Baptist (Nov. 3).
Adams said she spoke to Creighton coach Jim Flanery about playing in the future. Creighton and WSU tied for the MVC regular-season title last season before the Shockers won the conference tournament to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Creighton, now a member of the Big East, earned an at-large spot in the NCAA Tournament.
“I enjoy playing against Creighton because our philosophies are so different,” Adams said. “There’s a lot of respect there. It’s good for us and it’s good for the game when those type of teams play.”
She also is discussing a game with Tennessee, where she played from 1990-93. She is good friends with Tennessee coach Holly Warlick. While last season’s success made scheduling more difficult, Adams said, she wants to challenge her team with high-profile opponents. WSU played LSU, Missouri and Kansas State last season.
“Holly and I have talked about it,” she said. “We want to continue to play great programs, because I think that does help our players understand.”