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The Missouri Valley Conference released its basketball schedules Tuesday, completing the season slate for the University of Northern Iowa women’s basketball program. The UNI men’s nonconference schedule is still nearing completion.

UNI head coach Tanya Warren’s team will compete against three NCAA Tournament qualifiers and six teams that reached postseason play this upcoming 2018-19 season. The Panthers open play Nov. 9 against Delaware, marking their first appearance in the 16-team Preseason WNIT.

Former Missouri Valley Conference rival Creighton, a second round NCAA Tournament qualifier last March, will play UNI on Nov. 20 in the Panthers’ regular season home opener. Over Thanksgiving weekend, UNI will play against two-time defending Mountain West champion Boise State and Long Beach State in Long Beach, Calif.

The Panthers travel to Iowa on Dec. 16, while Iowa State has been dropped from the schedule unless the two schools meet in the Preseason WNIT. A Dec. 29 game at Kansas State marks the lone guaranteed Big 12 opponent on UNI’s schedule.

Conference play for Warren’s team kicks off Jan. 4 at Illinois State. The home MVC opener is Jan. 11 against Valparaiso. UNI will face defending champion Drake on Jan. 18 in the McLeod Center and Feb. 15 in Des Moines.

“Our goal is to schedule the best teams that we can,” Warren said. “If we don’t win our tournament, we want to put ourselves in a position to get an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. That paid huge dividends for us two years ago (when UNI secured the program’s first at-large NCAA bid).”

Men open on road: UNI coach Ben Jacobson’s team will open conference play against three of the league’s more experienced teams. The Panthers travel to Peoria, Ill., to face Bradley on Jan. 2, before hosting Southern Illinois on Jan. 5 and traveling to Illinois State Jan. 9.

UNI’s first game against 2018 Final Four qualifier Loyola will be on Jan. 30 in Chicago. The Panthers conclude their home slate with Loyola on Feb. 27.

UNI basketball

2018-19 women’s schedule

Nov. — 4: Upper Iowa, TBA, 9: Delaware, 8:30 p.m., 20: Creighton, TBA, 23: at Long Beach State, 5 p.m., 24: vs. Boise State, Long Beach, Calif., 2 p.m., 30: at IUPUI, TBA.

Dec. — 4: North Dakota, TBA, 16: at Iowa, TBA, 19: Minnesota State, TBA, 21: Omaha, TBA, 29: at Kansas State, TBA.

Jan. — 4: at Illinois State, 6: at Bradley, 11: Valparaiso, 13: Loyola, 18: Drake, 25: at Evansville, 27: at Indiana State.

Feb. — 1: Southern Illinois, 3: Missouri State, 8: at Loyola, 10: at Valparaiso, 15: at Drake, 22: Indiana State, 24: Evansville.

March — 1: at Missouri State, 3: at Southern Illinois, 7: Bradley, 9: Illinois State, 14-17: MVC Tournament, Moline, Ill.

* MVC game times are to be announced.

2019 men’s conference schedule

Jan. — 2: at Bradley, 5: Southern Illinois, 9: at Illinois State, 13: Drake, 16: Indiana State, 19: at Valparaiso, 23: at Southern Illinois, 26: Evansville, 30: at Loyola.

Feb. — 2: Missouri State, 6: Bradley, 9: at Drake, 13: Illinois State, 17: at Evansville, 20: at Missouri State, 23: Valparaiso, 27: Loyola.

March — 2: at Indiana State, 7-10: MVC Tournament, St. Louis, Mo.

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Sports reporter for The Courier

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