Lander women's basketball head coach Kevin Pederson announced today his team's 2017-18 schedule, which features seven games against teams that participated in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The Bearcats will play each of the top-four seeds from last season's Southeast Regional.
The Bearcats host 14 games at Horne Arena, highlighted by four against 2017 NCAA Tournament teams and a total of five against teams that won at least 20 games last season. In Peach Belt Conference action, six of Lander's opponents this season – Clayton State, Columbus State, Francis Marion, Georgia College, North Georgia and UNC Pembroke – finished with winning records in 2016-17. The Bearcats are currently one of only two NCAA Tournament teams scheduled to play each of the top four seeds from their regional.
Lander officially opens the 2017-18 season on at USC Aiken for the PBC/SAC Challenge, where the Bearcats will face fellow NCAA Tournament participant Lincoln Memorial on Nov. 10, and Carson-Newman on Nov. 11. The Bearcats return to Horne Arena to tip off the home portion of the schedule with a rematch of last year's Southeast Regional opening round game against Limestone on Nov. 18and a contest against Wingate, a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season, on Nov. 21. Lander begins PBC play at home against Georgia College on on Nov. 27 before hitting the road to take on rival Erskine on Nov. 30.
"We're excited to get the season underway and take on the challenge of playing potentially the strongest schedule in the Southeast Region," said head coach Kevin Pederson. "I'm a big believer in playing strong teams non-conference. Teams like LMU, Wingate, Limestone and Carson-Newman are loaded with talent and very well coached. Win or lose, those games will prepare us for a tough PBC slate of games."
The Bearcats travel to reigning Southeast Regional champion Columbus State (Dec. 2) for the first PBC road contest of the year before hosting Converse (Dec. 4) in the final non-conference game of the regular season. Lander visits Young Harris (Dec. 14) and hosts Clayton State (Dec. 19), the six-seed in last year's Southeast Regional, before wrapping up 2017 with a road trip to Georgia Southwestern (Dec. 30).
Lander rings in the New Year with a home contest against UNC Pembroke on Jan. 3. The Bearcats welcome Flagler to Horne Arena on Jan. 6, followed by a three-game road stretch against Francis Marion on Jan. 10, Georgia College on Jan. 13 and Clayton State onJan. 15. Young Harris comes to Greenwood on Jan. 17 and USC Aiken visits the Bearcats on Jan. 20. Lander travels to North Georgia on Jan. 24 and hosts Augusta on Jan. 27. The Bearcats end the month at UNC Pembroke on Jan. 30.
After traveling to Flagler (Feb. 3), Lander enjoys a three-game home stretch, with Homecoming Week contests against Francis Marion (Feb. 7) and Columbus State (Feb. 10), and another home game against Georgia Southwestern (Feb. 12). The Bearcats go to USC Aiken (Feb. 17) and host North Georgia (Feb. 21) before traveling to Augusta (Feb. 24) for the regular-season finale.
The 2018 PBC Tournament begins on Feb. 28, with the semifinals on March 3 and the championship on March 4.
"With the bulk of our roster returning and what we believe is a strong recruiting class, expectations will be high in our locker room," said Pederson. "I think I speak for everyone in our program when I say that we are truly looking forward to the opportunity to try and move the needle a bit further this season."