WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — The Purdue women's basketball team gave fans their first look at the 2018-19 slate Monday, releasing the Boilermakers' opponents and dates for the non-conference portion of next season's schedule. The Boilermakers will play at least eight contests in Mackey Arena, highlighted by the first-ever meeting against Harvard University in the home opener and a visit from 2017 NCAA Champion South Carolina on Dec. 16.
"We put together another excellent non-conference schedule for our team and for our fans in 2018-19," said Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp. "Between our eight home games and potential opportunities at the Paradise Jam and Big Ten/ACC Challenge, we'll be ready to go for the 2019 conference season."
The non-conference portion of the schedule features opponents from six different conferences, including five teams that posted top-three finishes in their respective conferences. The Boilermakers waste no time accepting challenges next season, hosting 2018 NCAA Division II Runner-Up Ashland University for their exhibition game Sunday, Nov. 4. The Eagles are 104-3 over the last three seasons, winning the 2017 national title, but will be in new hands next year as former head coach Robyn Fralick was recently hired as the new head coach at Bowling Green.
Purdue opens the regular season on the road for the third straight year and fourth time in the last season seasons, heading to Ball State to continue the intrastate rivalry with the Cardinals on Wednesday, Nov. 7. Ball State posted one of its best seasons in school history in 2017-18, going 25-7 and finishing second in the West Division of the Mid-American Conference. The Cardinals ended a 16-game Purdue win streak in the series with a 66-60 win in Mackey Arena on Dec. 4, but the Boilermakers avenged the loss by taking down Ball State on its home floor, 77-72, in the second round of the WNIT.
The Boilermakers will have a three-game homestand from Nov. 11-18, hosting Harvard, Western Illinois and Fort Wayne. The Crimson come to town Sunday, Nov. 11, coming off of an 18-11 campaign in 2017-18 and a third-place Ivy League showing, while Western Illinois finished 22-10 last season and were third in the Summit League and visit Mackey Arena on Thursday, Nov. 15. The Boilermakers will finish the home-court action Sunday, Nov. 18, hosting Fort Wayne for the 11th time in program history and the first time since 2013-14.
Purdue heads to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands for the 2018 Paradise Jam on Nov. 22-24, where a star-studded field awaits the Boilermakers. The eight-team field will be split into two divisions, each playing a four-team round-robin format to decide a champion. Purdue's opponents could include Kentucky, North Carolina, UConn, South Florida, UCLA, Ole Miss or St. John's, and will likely be announced in the next month. The Boilermakers will continue the schedule in the 2018 ACC/Big Ten Challenge, with an opponent and game date to be announced.
The Boilermakers open December with their final road game of the non-conference slate, heading to Ohio on Wednesday, Dec. 5, before finishing up 2018 with four straight home games at Mackey Arena. Loyola-Chicago comes to down Sunday, Dec. 9, set to face the Boilermakers for the fourth time in program history and the first time since 1991, followed by South Carolina on Sunday , Dec. 16. The Gamecocks were runners-up in the SEC in 2018, posting a 29-7 overall record, winning the SEC Tournament and advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Purdue concludes non-conference action with two games in three days, hosting Albany on Wednesday, Dec. 19, and Bradley on Friday, Dec. 21. The Great Danes were second in the America East Conference at 24-8 last season, and will play the Boilermakers for the first time in program history, while Bradley was 13-18 in 2017-18, finishing seventh in the Missouri Valley Conference, and will play Purdue for the first time since 1993.
The Boilermakers still await official game times and potential television designations from the Big Ten Network and ESPN.