First-year LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Caldwell wants two things out of her team’s 2011-12 schedule:
She wants it to help her team get ready for the Southeastern Conference and get to the two games at the bottom.
They’re listed only as “TBA” now, but LSU will host first- and second-round NCAA tournament games March 18 and 20.
If the Lady Tigers are in the tournament, something they didn’t do last season, they are guaranteed to play at home.
“We want to make sure our nonconference RPI is as strong as it can be,” Caldwell said.
LSU’s first-year coach had a hand in scheduling some games, but allowed other previously agreed upon contracts to take their course.
Most notably, LSU will open its regular-season home schedule Nov. 16 against a Georgetown team expected to be highly ranked.
Eleven days later, the Lady Tigers return a home game from last season by playing at perennial Big Ten power Ohio State.
One game that will definitely draw plenty of interest will be a Dec. 13 home game against UCLA.
Caldwell spent the past three seasons as UCLA’s head coach. LSU upset Caldwell’s then No. 8-ranked Bruins 55-53 last season, one of the highlights of the Lady Tigers’ otherwise disappointing season.
Caldwell said she had no thoughts of trying to get out of the game against her former employer.
“I think it will be a great game,” she said. “Playing UCLA will be a good indication for us before we head into SEC play.”
LSU opens with a home exhibition game Nov. 2 against Xavier-New Orleans, then begins the regular season Nov. 13 at Central Michigan.
Other nonconference highlights include trips to Tulane on Nov. 19 and Louisiana Tech on Dec. 29.
The Lady Tigers will ring in the new year with a Jan. 1 SEC opener at Ole Miss, then play Jan. 5 at Mississippi State before returning home Jan. 8 to host Alabama.
LSU plays Caldwell’s alma mater Tennessee just once, but that game will be Jan. 19 in Knoxville, Tenn. The Lady Tigers have a home-and-home with Vanderbilt (Jan. 29 in Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 23 at home) and finish Feb. 26 at Georgia.
LSU already has the required minimum 27 games scheduled, but Caldwell said she is hoping to schedule two more nonconference games. One would be at home and one away.
“We have two contracts out right now,” Caldwell said.
Forward LaSondra Barrett was one of 25 players named Tuesday to the preseason watch list for the 2012 Wade Trophy.
Barrett, a 6-foot-2 senior from Jackson, Miss., led LSU with 6.7 rebounds per game last season and was second with 12.2 points per game.
LSU 2011-12 Schedule
Date Opponent Time
?2 Xavier-N. O. (exhibition) 7 p.m.
13 at Central Michigan 2 p.m.
16 Georgetown 7 p.m.
19 at Tulane TBA
22 Northwestern 7 p.m.
27 at Ohio State TBA
11 Alabama State 2 p.m.
13 UCLA 7 p.m.
16 at McNeese State 7 p.m.
18 Lamar 2 p.m.
22 Grambling 7 p.m.
29 at Louisiana Tech 7 p.m.
?1 at Ole Miss* 2 p.m.
?5 at Mississippi State* 7 p.m.
?8 Alabama* 2 p.m.
12 South Carolina* 7 p.m.
15 at Florida* 1 p.m.
19 at Tennessee* 6 p.m.
22 Arkansas* 2 p.m.
29 at Vanderbilt* 2 p.m.
?2 Florida* 7 p.m.
?5 Kentucky* 2 p.m.
?9 Mississippi State* 7 p.m.
12 at Alabama* 2 p.m.
16 at Arkansas* 7 p.m.
19 Auburn* 2 p.m.
23 Vanderbilt* 7 p.m.
26 at Georgia* (ESPN) 1 p.m.
1-4 SEC Tournament TBA
*Southeastern Conference games
All times Central and subject to change when television schedule is announced in September