UCSD women’s hoops will open the season at home. Photo credit: Derrick Tuskan, via ucsdtritions.com

UC San Diego’s first-ever Big West season in women’s basketball will begin with two games at home against Cal Poly on Jan. 1-2.

The schedule includes January match-ups against Cal State Northridge, UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis and Long Beach State. The Tritons conclude their season March 6 at Cal State Fullerton.

ESPN3 will broadcast the home portion of UCSD’s schedule.

The conference plan, subject to state and local approvals due to the pandemic, aims for all 11 members to play 20 conference games. Officials designed the modified format to reduce travel and emphasize the health and safety of athletes, coaches and staff.

“It was great to get back to campus and get into a routine of practice, and now this is an especially exciting time with the announcement of the conference schedule,” Head Coach Heidi VanDerveer said. “There was so much anticipation around joining the Big West and we’ve been looking forward to it. This is a very competitive league and we’re joining it during an unprecedented time, but we’re embracing the opportunity.”

The traditional home-and-home round-robin schedule has been altered so that teams will play the same opponent on consecutive days at one site. The majority of games are set for Fridays and Saturdays.

Each team’s games take place over an 11-week period with one bye week. Games will not be rescheduled should a team need to quarantine.

All teams will begin the season without spectators. Officials plan to revisit the issue of fan attendance as the season progresses.

“The Big West Conference understands the need for consistent and multi-layered levels of testing protocols that put safety at the forefront for our member institutions,” ” said Big West Commissioner Dan Butterly.

– Staff reports

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