Key Takeaways From Wisconsin Women's Basketball 2024-25 Conference Opponent Reveal

The Wisconsin WBB team released their 2024-25 conference opponents Tuesday, headlined by a West Coast road trip and a home bout with an Elite Eight team.
2022 Big Ten Basketball Media Days
2022 Big Ten Basketball Media Days / David Berding/GettyImages

For the first time in a decade, the Wisconsin Women's basketball team will face new foes during Big 10 play. The conference is expanding from 14 to 18 teams for the upcoming season, welcoming in UCLA, USC, Oregon and Washington from the dissolving Pac-12. Now spanning coast-to-coast, B1G scheduling has never been more important as every school stands to tack on more travel miles than usual. While dates and times have yet to be established, we now know who and where the Badgers will be playing in 24-25.

The amount of conference games will not change despite four teams being added to the mix, with an 18-game schedule on tap. However, Big 10 teams will only see one opponent two times, a stark change from 2023-24, when schools faced five teams twice. In 2024-25, the Mariah Moseley-led Badgers will have a home-and-away series with Minnesota -- so fans who were worried about the preservation of long-standing conference rivalries can take a deep breath. Wisconsin will face UCLA and USC at the Kohl Center, and trek out West to play Washington and Oregon.

Historical Results Against New Teams

This season marks the first time Wisconsin women's basketball will face USC and UCLA. However, the Badgers own a 1-0 all-time record over Oregon -- edging out a 58-57 win in 2009 -- and are down 1-3 all-time against Washington, with the most recent matchup occurring in 2013.

Tough Road Draw

Outside of facing USC at the Kohl Center, Wisconsin won't have the luxury of home-court advantage against some of the best teams in the conference. The Badgers will meet five of the top six teams from the B1G last season on the road with matchups at Iowa, Indiana, Michigan State, Nebraska and Penn State. However, they dodge a road game with the reigning regular-season champion Ohio State Buckeyes after making the trip to Columbus in February. UW went 6-9 away from the Kohl Center last year overall, with a 3-7 mark against conference opponents.

Another Star Set to Play in Madison

Last season when Caitlin Clark and Iowa came to the Kohl Center, the Badgers set an attendance record of 14,252 -- the seventh-largest crowd ever assembled for a sports game at the stadium. Badger faithful will have a chance to break that record this year when JuJu Watkins -- a First-Team Associated Press All-American as a freshman -- leads a USC team that made the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight last season into Madison. Although the Badgers dropped to Iowa by 22 in 23-24, they return five of their top seven scorers this year -- including Serah Williams (17.4 points) and Ronnie Porter (10.6) -- and added Horizon League Freshman of the Year Carter McCray along with Tess Myers, who made 91 starts across four seasons at Duquesne, making the matchup with USC a spot for fireworks.

West Coast road trip?

Possibly the most curious part of the 2024-25 schedule is how the Big 10 and its respective teams handle cross-country travel. Yes, the Badgers traveling to Eugene, Oregon isn't as brutal as Rutgers flying to Los Angeles but still, it's an added obstacle that could have very real on-court repercussions if handled poorly. Will the Badgers have its two West Coast games back-to-back? Will they be pushed as far away from each other as possible? It's tough to say. While the team might minimize their flying miles by playing Oregon and Washington within a few days and remaining in the Pacific Northwest, Wisconsin would be forced to shack up in hotels for the better part of a week. If the matchups are set apart, how much will the two-way flight impact the team's energy levels and routine? I could be over-anticipating the importance of West Coast scheduling, but I feel these questions are worthwhile as the Big 10 vaults into a nationwide conference.

The Outlook

While the Badgers weren't handed an overtly friendly schedule, the team is chock-full of talent and has plenty of upward momentum for 2024-25 after making their first postseason appearance since 2010-2011, reaching the WNIT Great 8. Wisconsin has also improved its record every year since coach Moseley took over and will seek to do so again, possibly even earning their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2009-10.