By NSU Sports Information

In some ways, the 2017-18 Northwestern State women’s basketball schedule looks like many of its predecessors.

In others, it has just enough tweaks to make it somewhat unique.

The Lady Demons’ slate, which begins with a Nov. 10 matchup at Ole Miss, features what has become a standard split of 11 non-conference matchups and 18 regular-season Southland Conference contests.

That has become the norm since the Southland expanded to an 18-game conference schedule beginning in the 2012-13 season. The key difference for fans of the Lady Demons and their male NSU counterparts in 2017-18 is how those games will be distributed.

After a season in which the majority of Southland games were doubleheaders, the conference generally will stick with Saturday doubleheaders in 2017-18 while weekday affairs will be mirror scheduled.

That means when the Lady Demons open conference play on Dec. 28 against Nicholls inside Prather Coliseum the Northwestern State men’s team will face the Colonels in Thibodaux.

“We are fans of playing conference doubleheaders because of the support we get from and we give to coach Mike (McConathy) and the men’s team,” second-year head coach Jordan Dupuy said. “We’d like to play all of our conference games as doubleheaders, but at least we will have them on most of the weekends.”

Seven of Northwestern State’s nine Saturday conference matchups are part of doubleheaders, including all four home Saturdays.

As has become custom, the Lady Demons will play home-and-home series with six conference opponents and face the other six teams in the league once (three at home, three on the road).

NSU’s home-and-home series come against state rivals Nicholls (home Dec. 28, road Feb. 28), McNeese (road Dec. 30, home Feb. 3), New Orleans (road Jan. 24, home Jan. 31) and Southeastern Louisiana (road Jan. 20, home Feb. 24) as well as longtime SLC combatant Stephen F. Austin (home Jan. 6, road Feb. 10) and defending regular-season co-champion and tournament champion Central Arkansas (home Jan. 27, road March 3).

The Lady Demons will host Southland foes Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Jan. 3), Sam Houston State (Jan. 17) and Incarnate Word (Feb. 21) and will travel to Abilene Christian (Jan. 13), Lamar (Feb. 7) and Houston Baptist (Feb. 14).

“Our conference schedule is always a very challenging one, but I also feel as though our league is wide open this year,” Dupuy said. “We have teams that lost a lot, and they are looking to see who will step up, including us. It’s our job to prepare to take it one game at a time and get caught up in the process, not results. I’m looking forward to it, but there is a lot of work to do before then.”

Before the Lady Demons reach conference play, they will face a non-conference schedule that includes a special home game for Dupuy.

The Lady Demons will host Southern Miss on Nov. 28, giving Dupuy a chance to face his longtime mentor Joye Lee McNelis and the Golden Eagles.

“I’m really happy about bringing my alma mater and mentor here to play,” he said. “Southern Miss will be a quality opponent, but that will be a special night with a lot of people I have shared many memories with over the years.”

Quality opponents will be a theme for the Lady Demons in the pre-conference schedule.

In addition to Ole Miss and Southern Miss, NSU will travel to Big 12 Conference members Oklahoma State (Nov. 19), Texas (Dec.13) and TCU (Dec. 17).

“Three Big 12 opponents and an SEC opponent, all on the road, will help build us for the tough road battles we will face in January and February,” Dupuy sad. “We will definitely find out what we are made of and, hopefully, year two will bring a better understanding of scheme and tempo, and we’ll be a fun team that will not only be fun to watch but can make a run in March.”

In addition to Southern Miss, NSU will host LeTourneau (Nov. 12), LSU-Shreveport (Nov. 15), LSU-Alexandria (Nov. 22) and Central Baptist (Dec. 20).

The Lady Demons will travel to ULM on Dec. 3 to complete a home-and-home, two-year series with the Warhawks and will face Texas Southern (Dec. 9) in the Alexandria Classic at Rapides Coliseum.

“I really like our schedule for this year,” Dupuy said. “It will be a good balance to help us prepare for a wide-open conference race.”

2017-18 Northwestern State Women’s Basketball Schedule

Date        Opponent                            Location

Nov. 10     Ole Miss                                   Oxford, Miss.

Nov. 12    LeTourneau                             Natchitoches

Nov. 15    LSU-Shreveport                      Natchitoches

Nov. 19     Oklahoma State                        Stillwater, Okla.

Nov. 22    LSU-Alexandria                       Natchitoches

Nov. 28    Southern Miss                         Natchitoches

Dec. 3       UL Monroe                               Monroe

Dec. 9       Texas Southern                        Alexandria

Dec. 13     Texas                                       Austin, Texas

Dec. 17     TCU                                         Fort Worth, Texas

Dec. 20    Central Baptist                       Natchitoches

Dec. 28    Nicholls*                                Natchitoches

Dec. 30     McNeese*                                Lake Charles

Jan. 3       Texas A&M-Corpus Christi*  Natchitoches

Jan. 6       Stephen F. Austin*                Natchitoches

Jan. 13      Abilene Christian*                    Abilene, Texas

Jan. 17     Sam Houston State*              Natchitoches

Jan. 20      Southeastern Louisiana*           Hammond

Jan. 24      New Orleans*                          New Orleans

Jan. 27     Central Arkansas*                 Natchitoches

Jan. 31     New Orleans*                        Natchitoches

Feb. 3       McNeese*                              Natchitoches

Feb. 7        Lamar*                                   Beaumont, Texas

Feb. 10      Stephen F. Austin*                   Nacogdoches, Texas

Feb. 14      Houston Baptist*                     Houston

Feb. 21     Incarnate Word*                   Natchitoches

Feb. 24     Southeastern Louisiana*      Natchitoches

Feb. 28      Nicholls*                                 Thibodaux

March 3     Central Arkansas*                    Conway, Ark.

March 8-11  SLC Tournament                     Katy, Texas

* — denotes Southland Conference game