BELTON-The schedule for head coach Katie Novak-Lenoir’s first season at the helm of the UMHB women’s basketball program has been announced.
The 2023-24 slate features three road trips within non-conference play–two to opposite ends of the United States–along with an 18-game double round-robin American Southwest Conference schedule.
A matchup against Trinity (TX) at the ETBU Tournament in Marshall, Texas on Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. opens the season, pitting the Crusaders against the Tigers for the third straight season.
Long known as a national power out of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, Trinity has won its last seven matchups against UMHB, dating back to the 2011-12 season. Nov. 23, 2010 was the last time the Cru took down Trinity and that remains their only victory since the 2003-04 season. It will, however, be the first time the two meet on a neutral court. Last season, Trinity won 73-64 in San Antonio.
UMHB also faces Rhodes at the ETBU Tournament on Nov. 12. Rhodes, out of Memphis, Tennessee and the Southern Athletic Association (SAA), also has a recent history with UMHB, as the two met in a season-opening duel on Nov. 6, 2021. In that 73-72 victory, Ashley Faux gave the Crusaders the win with her layup with 13 seconds left.
A trip to the west coast
The following weekend sees UMHB make a trip to Forest Grove, Oregon, where the Crusaders will play Willamette on Nov. 17 and Pacific on Nov. 18. This season will mark the first time the Crusaders have faced either opponent.
Willamette heads into 2023-24 coming off last year’s campaign that saw the Bearcats post a 14-12 record. Pacific was 19-8 in 2022-23 and reached the Northwest Conference Championship Game.
The home opener comes a week later, as the Crusaders host Schreiner in an ASC-SCAC matchup on Nov. 27 at 5:00 p.m. The Mountaineers, under the direction of former University of Texas star Stacy Stephens, have been a program on the rise as of late. Last season saw Schreiner post a 12-4 league record and a 17-10 overall mark. UMHB won last year’s meeting in Kerrville, 64-61.
Headed to “The Big Apple”
After an ASC road trip to Howard Payne on Dec. 14 and Sul Ross State on Dec. 16, UMHB will close out its non-conference slate in New York City. A reference of UMHB’s schedule history dating back to the 1999-2000 season indicates that this will be the first time The Cru has played in New York City.
Playing two games on the campus of Baruch College on this road trip, UMHB will ironically face two teams from the southeast, in Berry College and Millsaps. Both are members of the SAA and have no past history against The Cru.
Berry went 16-11 a year ago, while Millsaps posted a 19-8 record.
The ASC slate features 16 matchups, beginning with a 1:00 p.m. road duel at Concordia (TX) on Dec. 2. A 5:30 p.m. home contest against LeTourneau follows on Dec. 7. UMHB hosts ETBU on Dec. 9 before traveling to Howard Payne and Sul Ross State the following week.
Sul Ross State will not count towards the league standings as the Lobos are transitioning to D-II. However, UMHB plays SRSU on Dec. 16 in Alpine, and hosts the Lobos on Feb. 1 in Belton.
Conference play resumes after the holiday break, as UMHB hosts Ozarks on Jan. 4 and UT-Dallas on Jan. 6. It will be the final time that The Cru plays either program within the league schedule, as Ozarks is in its final year of ASC membership before moving to the SCAC and UTD will begin its transition to D-II next year, just as SRSU is doing this year.
UMHB closes its ASC schedule in mid-February, hosting Hardin-Simmons in the regular season finale on Feb. 17. The six-team ASC Tournament is set for Feb. 21-25, with two quarterfinal games played at the sites of the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds on Feb. 21, and semifinals and the final played at the site of the No. 1 seed.