Ohio State and Maryland are arguably the top two women's basketball teams in the Big Ten this season. And they both play the Gophers to start conference play.
Minnesota opens Dec. 28 at Ohio State, followed by its Big Ten home opener Jan. 1 against Maryland at Williams Arena.
There's a bit of a break for the Gophers playing three of their first five Big Ten games at home, including Jan. 7 against Wisconsin and Jan. 11 against Northwestern.
Coach Marlene Stollings' team finished 8-1 in the conference at the Barn last season (only loss was to Michigan), highlighted by an upset over the Buckeyes. The rematch with Ohio State at home is Jan. 26.
The Gophers play six Big Ten home games in January. They host Michigan State on Jan. 30 at the Barn for the first time since the 2014-15 season. Other home games include Illinois (Jan. 18), Rutgers (Feb. 11) and Purdue (Feb. 23).
One thing that should help Stollings compete with the conference's top teams to start will be the debut of 6-foot-5 Iowa State transfer Bryanna Fernstrom. The Center City, Minn. native is eligible in late December after sitting out the end of last season.