RIO GRANDE, Ohio – Holiday trips to the hills of Tennessee and the island of Puerto Rico headline the University of Rio Grande’s 2016-17 women’s basketball schedule released Thursday by head coach David Smalley.
The RedStorm will again host the annual Bevo Francis Tournament on the weekend of November 18-19 as part of its 14-game home schedule, which also includes a visit from former Mid-South Conference rival University of Pikeville – now coached by former Rio assistant coach Brandon Bias.
Rio Grande, which opens its season against Mount Vernon Nazarene on Nov. 2 in a 6 p.m. tipoff at the Newt Oliver Arena, closes out the month by participating in the women’s division of the NAIA DII Showcase on Thanksgiving weekend at the Meadowview Conference Resort & Convention Center in Kingsport, Tenn.
The RedStorm will face Milligan (Tenn.) on Saturday, Nov. 26, at 1 p.m. and will meet Union (Ky.) College on Sunday, Nov. 27, at 3 p.m. to close out the two-day, six-team event, which is featuring a women’s division for the first time this season.
Prior to its trip to Tennessee, Rio will host Kent State University-Tuscarawas in the first round of the 34th Annual Bevo Francis Invitational Tournament on Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. and will face either Ohio Valley University or Salem (W.Va.) International University in round two on Nov. 19 at 3 p.m.
The team is also taking part in the Puerto Rico Clasico just prior to Christmas – Dec. 20 and 21 – in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Siena Heights (Mich.) University will provide the opposition on the 20th at 10 a.m., while the opponent for the contest on the following day – likely to be a local university – has not been officially announced.
Following the season opener with Mount Vernon Nazarene, the RedStorm will visit rival Shawnee State on Nov. 5 (6 p.m.) and Wilberforce University on Nov. 8 (5:30 p.m.) before returning home for the meeting with Pikeville – an NAIA Division I national semifinalist last year – on the 15th at 7 p.m.
The Bevo Francis Tournament and the NAIA DII Showcase round out the remainder of the November schedule.
December opens with a River States Conference road swing to Pittsburgh, Pa. to face Point Park University on the 2nd at 5:30 p.m. and Carlow University the following day at 1 p.m.
Wilberforce makes a return visit to Rio on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m., before the RedStorm returns to conference play with a game at Indiana University-East on the 13th at 6 p.m. and at home versus Ohio Christian University on the 17th at 2 p.m. in advance of their pre-Christmas trip to Puerto Rico.
January begins with a four-game homestand – vs. Salem International (Jan. 4, 6 p.m.), Brescia University (Jan. 6, 3 p.m.), Indiana University Southeast (Jan. 7, 2 p.m.) and West Virginia University Tech (Jan. 14, 2 p.m.) – the latter three of which are against RSC foes.
The month concludes with four of five outings – all conference tilts – on the road. Trips to Alice Lloyd College and Midway University on the 17th and 20th, respectively, precede a visit to Rio by Asbury University on the 24th at 6 p.m., with visits to Indiana University Kokomo and Cincinnati Christian University following on the 26th and 28th, respectively.
Game times at Alice Lloyd and Midway are 6 p.m. each night, with tipoff at IU Kokomo set for 5 p.m. The contest at Cincinnati Christian will begin at 1 p.m.
The February docket begins with a pair of road trips to West Virginia, before the regular season slate ends with three of the final four contests at home.
The RedStorm head to Salem International on the 1st for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff and play at WVU Tech on the 4th at 1 p.m. before Indiana East comes to Rio Grande for a 6 p.m. game on the 7th.
After making a short trip north to Circleville, Ohio on the 11th for the final regular season road game against Ohio Christian (1 p.m.), Rio will close out the regular season by hosting Point Park on the 17th (6 p.m.) and Carlow on the 18th (2 p.m.).
The RSC Tournament, which will be played at the site of the higher seeded team, is slated for Feb. 22, Feb. 25 and Feb. 28.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.
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