This chart below tells most of the story.
That works out to an opponent winning percentage of 57.9 and an average opponent RPI if 93.4. Eight of 12 non-league opponents finished in the top 100 of the RPI, including five in the top 50.
“I really don’t think there is any other way to go about this season,” head coach Susie Johnson said of the schedule. “You can go with playing a bunch of lower-level RPI teams and win a lot, but what are you learning? This team has to be challenged. We are not changing our goals for where we want to be just because we had a rough year last year. The truth is that it is important to me to prepare the team to play at the highest level we can be. Scheduling this tough in the preseason is the formula.”
And Johnson says there’s no use in shying away from the reality of just how tough the schedule will be. In fact, she’s made sure her team is well-informed of the tests they will be facing.
“The other side of playing a tough schedule is preparing the team,” Johnson said. “We’ve talked about the opponents since the spring when the schedule was finalized. We’ve been preparing for these opponents. I do think that’s the best way to do it. I hope it works because it can all be a gamble, but the reality is we like challenges and I think we’re up for it.”