Four teams that played in the NCAA Tournament last season — including three that won their first-round games — and two that earned berths in the WNIT tourney are among the 13 teams on the University of Maine women’s basketball team’s non-conference schedule.
Two of the three NCAA teams that lost in the second round did so against teams that made it to the Final Four.
UMaine went 20-12 a year ago and won the America East regular season title for the fourth time in five seasons. Albany upset UMaine 56-47 in the America East tournament final to earn the NCAA bid.
UMaine went on to earn a berth in the WNIT, where the team lost to Boston College 69-44.
Among the teams UMaine will face this season that made it to the NCAA Tournament last year are Kansas, Gonzaga, Princeton and University of Massachusetts.
Kansas, which lost to NCAA semifinalist Stanford 91-65 after beating Georgia Tech in its NCAA tourney opener, will face the Black Bears on Nov. 25 at St. Mary’s University in Moraga, California. Kansas finished 21-10 last season.
Kansas has made 14 NCAA tourney appearances, including four over the last 10 seasons.
Gonzaga, which will host UMaine in Spokane, Washington, on Nov. 28, lost to semifinalist Louisville 68-59 after eliminating Nebraska.
Gonzaga has made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances over the past 15 years. The team was 28-7 a year ago.
Princeton, which was 25-5 and lost to Indiana 56-55 in the second round after ousting Kentucky, will visit the Memorial Gym in Orono on Dec. 2. UMass, which was 26-7, will host the Black Bears in Amherst, Massachusetts, on Nov. 14.
Princeton thumped the Black Bears 82-43 last season and has played in nine NCAA tournaments over the past 11 seasons.
UMass lost to Notre Dame 89-78 in their first round game. It was the Minutemen’s first berth since 1998.
The WNIT teams are the University of Rhode Island and Fordham University.
UMaine will travel to Kingston, Rhode Island, for a Dec. 4 game and host Fordham at The Pit on Dec. 8.
URI wound up 22-7 and lost to Quinnipiac 61-50 in its first round WNIT contest, and Fordham was 18-11 and lost to Bucknell 73-64 in its opening round game.
UMaine lost to URI 45-44 at the Augusta Civic Center last season.
The Fordham game will see the return to the state of former Greely High of Cumberland Center star Anna DeWolfe, who is the captain of the Rams and was an honorable mention All-American last season.
DeWolfe averaged 17.8 points per game in 2021-22 en route to first team All-Atlantic 10 honors. Her 1,295 career points place her 10th all-time in school history.
The Black Bears have three more non-conference games against teams that were on their schedule last season.
UMaine beat Yale 47-44 in New Haven, Connecticut, last season and will host Yale on Nov. 19. Yale wound up 16-11.
UMaine lost to former Black Bear guard Missy Traversi’s Army West Point team 87-81 in double overtime and will host the Black Knights on Dec. 11. Army West Point went 16-13.
Northeastern was on their schedule but the game was canceled due to COVID-19 results within the Northeastern program.
The two teams met two years ago and UMaine triumphed 63-62. Northeastern was 14-18 last season.
UMaine’s other non-conference opponents are James Madison (14-15 last season) in Harrisonburg, Virginia, on Nov. 7; Niagara (15-15) in Moraga, California, on Nov. 26; Harvard (13-14) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Dec. 18 and Milwaukee (15-16) in Milwaukee on Dec. 22.
“This year’s non-conference schedule is once again extremely challenging,” said UMaine head coach Amy Vachon. “Playing tough non-conference teams will undoubtedly prepare us for our America East schedule in 2023.”
The Black Bears will play 16 regular season America East games. Stony Brook has left the conference for the Colonial Athletic Association and Hartford has departed as it continues its transition to Division III from Division I.
Bryant University has been added to give them a nine-team league.