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Inside the Women's Basketball schedule

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The Women's Basketball schedule was released today so I asked Coach Dawn Staley her thoughts on the scheduling process and the tough competition the Gamecocks will be facing. Click here to see the full schedule and get more information.

The first thing to realize is that the scheduling process can be long and drawn out. It often takes a good year to find and schedule non-conference opponents, negotiate guarantees, get contracts signed by both schools' athletics departments, get approvals, and then finalize the schedule.

This season, Coach Staley and the women's basketball staff needed to schedule 12 non-conference games. Short notice changes and adjustments often have to be made as teams will drop out when scheduling conflicts arise, if they're playing in a pre-season tournament for example, and also occasionally when personnel changes. Sometimes it works out for the team's benefit. This season a game vs. Illinois was a late addition to the schedule after another team from a smaller conference dropped out, further raising the competition level on the Gamecocks' schedule.

This year the way the University's final exams schedule shaped up, one game vs. N.C. State landed during exams which meant that before the schedule could be finalized, it had to go through a special approval process. The team did their research with each athlete's class schedule to make sure none of them had a direct conflict and wouldn't have their studying time adversely affected. They then submitted the schedule for approval by the athletics director, university president, and conference commissioner. Now that all those approvals have been made, the schedule can be released to the public.

In addition to Illinois and N.C. State, the Gamecocks have several games against household names- North Carolina, Clemson, Penn State, and Stanford are all on the schedule this year along with Xavier, the Gamecocks' season opener, who finished last season ranked No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. And that's just NON-conference. The SEC is one of the best women's basketball conferences in the country and the Gamecocks' schedule includes perennial powers Tennessee, LSU, and Georgia.

South Carolina will also face a lot of in-state competition at home in the Colonial Life Arena, taking on Charleston Southern, Presbyterian, and South Carolina State in addition to the Nov. 18th game vs. Clemson and an exhibition game vs. Lander on Nov. 5th.

As Coach Staley pointed out, we always strive to play a tough, competitive schedule every season and this one will be no different. Looking forward to getting started in next week!

You can get season tickets for Women's Basketball starting at just $50 for general admission or $100 for the Family Four Pack. Call 1-800-4SC-FANS or go online: http://gamecocksonline.cstv.com/tickets/ticket-office.html.

- Brittany Lane, Spurs Up Blog

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