Radford University women’s basketball head coach Mike McGuire announced the non-conference portion of the Highlanders’ 2018-19 schedule on Wednesday afternoon, highlighted by four games against Power 5 opponents and an appearance in the Miami Thanksgiving Tournament.
“This is by far the most demanding non-conference schedule that our program has played during my tenure. As I tell the team, I want our program to learn to compete at a high-level night in and night out,” McGuire said. “This schedule will force us to do so and will prepare us for what I feel like will be a wide open Big South Conference season. I also shared with our team that if you want to play in this program now, you will need to prepare to play schedules like this moving forward. It’s challenging and exciting at the same time.”
For the second straight season, Radford posted a 24-9 record, possessing the best two-year mark in program history. After making its third WNIT appearance in four seasons, Radford collected its first WNIT win in the McGuire era with a 63-62 first-round victory at Penn State.
McGuire’s Highlanders will face a challenging slate that features only four home contests in the 11-game non-conference schedule. Radford is 1-1 against non-conference teams played during the 2017-18 season.
“We are playing more Power 5 schools than we ever have and will be facing some other outstanding mid-major programs that are expected to have a great year,” McGuire noted. “We also have the opportunity to compete in a Thanksgiving event in Miami, Fla., that will allow our team to spend some extra time together.”
After hosting McGuire’s alma mater Roanoke College for a Nov. 4 exhibition matchup, Radford opens the home portion of its schedule against South Carolina State in a Nov. 7 battle. The Highlanders will continue the home swing with its annual Education Day game on Nov. 15 against ETSU.
Radford will play its next five games away from the Dedmon Center, traveling to NC State (Nov. 18) before taking a Thanksgiving trip to South Beach. For the first time since 2012, Radford will take part in the Miami Thanksgiving Tournament, which runs Nov. 23-25. The Highlanders will either play Temple or Nebraska on Nov. 23 and Nov. 25.
December kicks off with a trip around the Commonwealth as the Highlanders are set to play New River Valley foe Virginia Tech on Dec. 4 and Virginia on Dec. 8. In the 37th meeting of the NRV Showdown, Radford looks to snap an eight-game skid and collect its first win over the Hokies since 2006. The Highlanders and Cavaliers face one another for the first time since 2014, meeting for the 16th time overall as Virginia holds a slight 8-7 edge in the all-time series.
The Highlanders return to the Dedmon Center on Dec. 15, welcoming Morehead State in the first matchup between the two teams since 1994. Before taking time off for the holidays, Radford travels to the state capital for a Dec. 19 matchup against VCU. The Highlanders were victorious 79-62 in the meeting a season ago, taking a 17-16 advantage in the all-time series.
After 10 days between games, Radford gets back to work against NCAA Division II Shepherd on Dec. 29, marking the first matchup between the opponents. The Highlanders will ring in the New Year as they travel to Mount St. Mary’s on Jan. 2 for the first meeting since 2009.
“I am excited about our team, but we have a lot of unknowns in terms of who will step up and play certain roles for us this year,” McGuire added. “This schedule will present many opportunities that I know our team will be excited about.”