CU women's basketball nonconference schedule
Nov. 6 Northern Colorado
Nov. 14 Colorado State
Nov. 18 North Carolina
Nov. 23 vs. Nevada or Utah State*
Nov. 25 vs. Nevada or Utah State*
Nov. 27 Pepperdine
Dec. 2 at Miami
Dec. 6 San Jose State
Dec. 9 Navy
Dec. 12 Prairie View A&M
Dec. 20 Samford
Times TBA; Home games in bold; * Nugget Classic at U. of Nevada
The Colorado women's basketball team will open its season with a pair of in-state rivals at home, and for the first time in 32 years will not host its Thanksgiving weekend tournament.
CU released its 11-game nonconference schedule on Thursday, and it features eight games at CU Events Center, including the season opener Nov. 6 against Northern Colorado.
The absence of the Rocky Mountain Hoops Classic (previous the Omni Hotels Classic) is a big change for the Buffs, who have hosted the event every year since its inception in 1987.
"We just weren't able to put together a field that would have been what we're looking for," CU head coach JR Payne said.
Instead, the Buffs will play at the Nugget Classic, hosted by Nevada, during Thanksgiving weekend. CU will play Nevada and Utah State during that event, which also features Southern California.
"For a one-year hiatus it's going to be great for our seniors, who have never been anywhere for Thanksgiving other than here," Payne said. "With nine of your 13 players being underclassmen, we need them to be tested to a certain extent on the road. It'll be a good experience."
Payne added that she expects the Buffs to resume their home tournament during the 2019-20 season.
"We're already securing teams for next year's tournament," she said. "For us, as coaches, we want it to continue for the next 30 years. We love the tournament, we want the tournament and it's been fun to have families be able to all come and meet here (during Thanksgiving). But (this year) it's an opportunity for our seniors to experience a road tournament for the first time in their careers, other than the Pac-12 Tournament."
CU's opener, against UNC, will be a homecoming for Bears head coach Jenny (Roulier) Huth, who played for CU from 1998-2002. An assistant coach at UCLA the past seven seasons, Huth will be making her head coaching debut.
A star at Cherry Creek High School, Huth ranks 12th on CU's all-time scoring list, with 1,399 points. She also 14th in CU history in assists (319).
"I think it's something that will be really run for people here," Payne said of hosting Huth's head coaching debut.
CU's schedule also included home dates with Colorado State, North Carolina, Pepperdine, San Jose State, Navy, Prairie View A&M and Samford.
Aside from the tournament at Nevada, the Buffs' only other non-conference road game will be at Miami.
"I think it's a good schedule and I'm excited about the schedule," Payne said. "We have a lot of young players. We really wanted to put together a schedule that had great balance of different conferences, different athleticism, different skill set, different size, different styles of play and I definitely think we did that."
The Pac-12 schedule will be released at a later date.
Payne said sophomore guard Peyton Carter will be on scholarship this year. Carter, from Monarch High School, was originally slated to be on scholarship her freshman and senior years, while technically a walk-on her sophomore and junior years. The Buffs had open scholarships, however, and Carter earned one of those spots. CU now has 13 players on scholarship for next season, two below the NCAA maximum of 15.