Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Radford releases 2011-12 schedule

Radford will try to get off to a rare winning start in 2011-12 with a schedule designed to help them do just that.

It's not that the Highlanders haven't been able to beat good teams in recent years. But over the past three seasons, they haven't been able to beat hardly anyone until January. Since the 2008-09 campaign (coach Tajama Abraham Ngongba's first at Radford), the Highlanders are a combined 6-30 in November and December, with just two of those victories coming against Division I teams.

This year's schedule sets them up to hit the 2011-12 season running. The Highlanders open with four straight home games (they were on the road for three of their first four last season) with the first two coming against non-Division I teams (Eastern Mennonite and Winston-Salem State). And only two of their nine D-I non-conference opponents finished 2010-11 with winning records (South Carolina-Upstate at 17-13 and Virginia at 19-16).

This guarantees nothing, of course, and no matter who they play the Highlanders will still have to have their early-season act together. But if Radford stumbles out of the blocks this year, it won't be because of over-scheduling.

The most intriguing game on the non-conference schedule comes on November 26 when the Highlanders visit
George Washington, a program Ngongba helped make famous. Ngongba scored more than 2,000 points during a Hall of Fame career at GW and is enshrined in the school's athletic hall of fame. She was also an assistant coach for the Colonials, along with current GW head coach Mike Bozeman, before leaving for Radford.

Now, Ngongba is probably going to say every game is important, that this matchup is about the players and not her, and that she doesn't intend to even bring it up in the days leading up to the game. All true. But unless she's really a cyborg instead of a human being, it'll have to mean a lot to have her team perform well in that building. And the Highlanders have to know this, whether Ngongba talks about it or not.

Finally, the Big South schedule has increased from 16 games to 18 with the addition of Campbell.

Click here for a look at what we know about the schedules so far about each of the Division I teams in Virginia.

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