With the tip-off of the first exhibition game less than two months away, Valparaiso women's basketball head coach Tracey Dorow announced the upcoming schedule Wednesday. The schedule includes non-conference dates with seven teams that finished with at least 19 wins a season ago, including Final Four participant Notre Dame. Overall, ten of the 21 teams Valpo will play reached the postseason in 2012-2013.
Crusader fans will get their first look at the 2013-2014 team when Valpo will play host to Saint Joseph's (Ind.) in an exhibition matchup on Tuesday, November 5th at 7:05 p.m at the ARC.
The regular season will launch on Sunday, November 10th when the Brown and Gold travel to Saint Louis to take on the Billikens of the Atlantic-10 in a 2:00 matinee. Big Ten member University of Illinois awaits the Crusaders on Thursday, November 14th at Assembly Hall in Champaign. Illinois is coming off a 2012-2013 season that saw the Fighting Illini finish 19-14 overall after winning three games in the Women's NIT.
The slate continues with its challenging theme as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are scheduled for Saturday, November 16th at 1:00 pm. The Fighting Irish ran the table in both the Big East regular season and conference tournament - including three wins over eventual national champion University of Connecticut - before making their third consecutive Final Four appearance. The 1994-1995 season was the last that Notre Dame failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
The regular season home opener is set for Thursday, November 21st when the Crusaders welcome IUPUI to the ARC at 7:05 p.m. Last season, the Jaguars finished 20-12 overall, 12-4 in the Summit to earn a date with Illinois State in the Women's NIT.
After the home opener, Valpo will hit the road again for five games. The Crusaders will play at Tennessee Tech on November 24th before spending the Thanksgiving holiday in Miami for the Florida International University Thanksgiving Classic. Valpo will challenge the host Panthers - who won 12 games in the Sun Belt last year as part of a 19-13 season - on November 29th.
Once the Brown and Gold return from Miami, the Toledo Invite is next up on the schedule. Back-to-back tilts with Chicago State and Toledo will make for a busy first December weekend. The Toledo Rockets compiled a 29-4 season a year ago, having went 15-1 in the MAC and winners of two Women's NIT games.
The longest homestand for the Valpo women's basketball team will be a three-game set against Butler (Dec. 17th), Western Michigan (Dec. 29th) and South Dakota (Dec. 31st). The Bulldogs made a WNIT showing after an 8-6 conference record in their first season in the Atlantic 10. South Dakota finished the 2012-2013 season 19-16, which earned the Coyotes a berth in the WBI.
The Crusaders will conclude their non-conference schedule on January 4th in Tulsa, where they'll challenge the defending Conference USA champions at a 2:30 tip-off.
Valpo opens Horizon League play on Thursday, January 9th against the Youngstown State Penguins, a team that went 23-10 overall and 11-5 in the HL a season ago. The Brown and Gold will have four home games in January, the most of any month on the calendar.
The Crusaders will make the Wisconsin swing during the first days of February, as Milwaukee will entertain them on the 1st and the defending Horizon League champion Green Bay Phoenix play host on the 3rd at 7:00 pm.
A home tilt versus UIC will be played on Monday, February 10th at the ARC before Valpo departs for northeast Ohio for league games versus Cleveland State and Youngstown State. The Detroit Titans - champions of the WBI - will host the Crusaders at Calihan Hall on February 26th.
Regular season play wraps up on Saturday, March 8th with an afternoon jump opposite Wright State.
The Horizon League Championship will be held March 10th-16th with the league's regular season champion hosting the second round and semifinals and the best remaining seed hosting the championship game. The champion of the Horizon League Tournament will earn an automatic bid into the 2014 NCAA Tournament.