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Missouri women’s hoops team reveals challenging non-conference slate for 2017-18

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Well, one hoops schedule is complete. We await the final layer of paint on the Mizzou men’s slate, but the Tiger women released theirs on Wednesday.

Mizzou Women's Basketball released its 13-game 2017 nonconference schedule on Wednesday, which features a pair of exhibition matchups, six home contests and a trio of tournaments.

Mizzou will potentially face eight opponents that advanced to the postseason in 2016-17 with four of those teams reaching the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers' challenging slate includes seven matchups with programs that racked up at least 20 victories a season ago and five opponents that finished in the Top 70 of the final 2016-17 RPI. [...]

The Tigers' home opener is set for Nov. 16 when Mizzou takes on Wright State. The Raiders are coming off a 25-win season and a trip to the WNIT. Three days later, Mizzou travels to Missouri State to face the Bears for the 28th time in program history.

A challenging slate? You bet.

Coming off a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance under SEC coach of the year Robin Pingeton, the Tigers will play Kansas State (Big 12), Indiana (Big Ten), Xavier (Big East) and Illinois (Big Ten) and could face Iowa (Big Ten) and California (Pac-12) depending on tournament results.

After her team's 22-win season, Pingeton said Mizzou intentionally strengthened its upcoming schedule.

"If things pan out the way I think they will it’s going to be our toughest nonconference schedule we’ve had," Pingeton said in April. "That can be challenging because we all know what the SEC looks like. I think the SEC is going to be better than it’s ever been next year with the kids that are returning and some of the kids coming into programs. You have to look at the teams you know you’re going to play twice, and for us that’ll be South Carolina and Vanderbilt, which will be a much improved team. They’ve got a great class coming in. So it’s hard.”

The Tigers will return last year’s top two of juniors-to-be Sophie Cunningham (17.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.4 APG) and Cierra Porter (13.2 PPG, 8.1 RPG), plus sophomores-to-be Amber Smith and Jordan Chavis.

They also welcome senior Jordan Frericks (12.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and second-team all-SEC honors in 2015-16) and junior Bri Porter back from injury and introduce junior transfer guard Lauren Aldridge (11.1 PPG, 2.3 APG at Kansas in 2015-16) into the fold. It’s a pretty experienced squad, but of the names I just mentioned, Frericks is the only senior. The 2018-19 squad will be very senior-heavy.

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