Head coach Tracey Dorow announced the 2014-15 women's basketball schedule Thursday, a slate that includes a home tilt versus the Louisville Cardinals. The Cardinals closed 2013-14 with a #5 ranking in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls following a loss to Maryland in the Elite Eight. Non-conference contests versus Butler, Illinois, and Stetson also highlight an ambitious home schedule.
The Crusaders open regular season play on Friday, Nov. 14th when the Butler Bulldogs visit the Athletics-Recreation Center in a 5:00 pm tipoff. The Brown and Gold then hit the road for two in a row as they take on Indiana and Northern Illinois. A rematch versus Tennessee Tech is in the cards on Nov. 22nd before traveling to Akron for an evening tilt with the Bobcats on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Louisville will close out November when the Cardinals come to town on Sunday, Nov. 30th for a 1:35 pm showdown versus Valpo.
Valpo opens December on the road in Oxford, Ohio with a Wednesday night game versus the Miami Redhawks. The Crusaders entertain Tulsa (Dec. 6) and Illinois (Dec. 13) on back-to-back Saturdays with a road contest versus South Dakota (Dec. 9) sandwiched in between. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville will host the Crusaders on Dec. 20th for the Brown and Gold's final game before Christmas. Valpo will close out non-league play with home games versus Purdue-Calumet (Dec. 30) and Stetson (Jan. 3).
Horizon League play commences with the Crusaders heading to Cleveland State on Jan. 8th for a Thursday night tilt against the Vikings. A three-game homestand pits Valpo versus UIC (Jan. 10), Oakland (Jan. 15), and Wright State (Jan. 17) before the Brown and Gold face Milwaukee (Jan. 21) and UIC (Jan. 27) away from home. The defending Horizon League champion Green Bay Phoenix come to town Thursday, Jan. 29th for a 7:05 pm tip. The Crusaders will then have a week off to prepare for road contests at Detroit (Feb. 5) and Wright State (Feb. 7).
Following the Saturday afternoon matchup versus the Raiders, four of the next five HL games will be at the ARC. Milwaukee (Feb. 12), Youngstown State (Feb. 21), Cleveland State (Feb. 25), and Detroit (Feb. 28) all come to town before Valpo concludes the regular season at Oakland (Mar. 5) and Youngstown State (Mar. 7). The Phoenix will entertain the Crusaders at the Kress Events Center on Thursday, Feb. 19 amidst the flurry of February home games.
The 2015 Horizon League Women’s Basketball Tournament will begin on Monday, Mar. 9 with one first round game. On Wednesday, the remaining eight teams will play in the quarterfinals with the top four seeds hosting a contest. The two semifinal games will be played on Friday at the site of the highest remaining seed and the championship game – to be televised on ESPNU - is scheduled for Sunday, March 15 at 3 p.m. ET.
A glance at the non-conference portion of the schedule that includes overall and conference records from 2013-14:
Butler – (16-16 overall, 10-8 Big East) The Bulldogs, former residents of the Horizon League, defeated Valpo 65-50 at the ARC last year and are operating under first-year head coach Kurt Godlevske. Junior guard Blaire Langlois was teammates with Abby Dean at Carmel High School.
Indiana – (21-13 overall, 5-11 Big Ten) The Hoosiers went 16-2 in non-conference games and 14-4 at home. Bloomington was the landing spot for former Crusader Tabitha Gerardot (8.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG) and now serves as the home of Larryn Brooks, a Second Team All-Big Ten, and Freshman All-Big Ten Team recipient. Brooks had the best freshman season in IU history last year as she averaged 16.3 PPG in addition to setting records for most points, 3-pointers, assists, and free throws made by a freshman. IU went 3-0 versus the Horizon League last year (W 85-55 over Oakland, W 87-68 over Milwaukee, W 107-73 over Cleveland State) and went on to win three games in the WNIT.
Northern Illinois – (11-19 overall, 6-12 MAC) The Huskies welcome back Hobart native and leading scorer (13.5 PPG) Amanda Corral for her senior season.
Tennessee Tech – (12-18 overall, 9-7 OVC) TTU beat Valpo 84-78 last November in Cookeville in a game the Crusaders led 78-74 with 1:06 remaining. The Golden Eagles closed the tilt on a 10-0 run as they held Valpo scoreless over the final 2:08.
Akron – (23-10 overall, 14-4 MAC) The Zips went 12-2 at home and averaged 82.0 PPG (11th in the nation), 77.1% FT (12th in the nation), 18.5 APG (7th in the nation). Akron graduated Hanna Luburgh (22.2 PPG, 13th in the nation) and Rachel Tecca (22.1 PPG, 14th in the nation)
Louisville – (33-5 overall, 16-2 AAC) The 5th-ranked Cardinals went 11-2 on the road. Louisville lost to Maryland 76-73 in the Elite Eight, but put up 100 points four times in the regular season. Now members of the ACC, the Cardinals owned the 4th-widest scoring margin in NCAA Division I last season (19.6 PPG). 18 of their games appeared on cable television last year.
Miami (OH) – (8-22 overall, 4-14 MAC) The Redhawks went 2-2 vs. Horizon League teams (W 91-80 over Cleveland State, W 70-67 over Youngstown State, L 76-66 to UIC, L 90-63 to Wright State). Miami (OH) graduated both their leading scorer and leading rebounder, and their second-leading scorer transferred out. Detroit’s Megan Galloway transferred in, but will have to sit out the 2014-15 season.
Tulsa – (12-16 overall, 6-10 C-USA) Tulsa beat Valpo 84-70 at the Reynolds Center last January 4th. The Matilda Mossman-led Golden Hurricane return all four players who finished in double figures in that game.
South Dakota – (19-14 overall, 7-7 Summit) The Coyotes, who went 11-2 at home, were Summit League Tournament Champs. South Dakota lost 81-62 to Stanford in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, but graduated just one player from last year’s squad.
Illinois – (9-21 overall, 2-14 Big Ten) The Fighting Illini won just two games away from the State Farm Center and ended their season on an 11-game losing streak. They beat Valpo 87-59 in Champaign last year, but have graduated Amber Moore (15.3 PPG in 2013-14). Current head coach Matt Bollant formerly led Green Bay to a 148-19 record from 2007 to 2012, while being named Horizon League Coach of the Year four times. Sophomore Ashley McConnell was teammates with Jessi Wiedemann at Fremd High School.
SIU-Edwardsville – (11-19 overall, 7-9 OVC) The Cougars were .500 (6-6) at home, Tierny Austin returns for her senior season (13.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG). SIUE made the jump to Division I in 2008-2009.
Purdue-Calumet – (25-7 overall, 15-2 CCAC) The Peregrines were 10-2 on the road last season, but graduated Tierra Turner (17.7 PPG). They do, however, return Cassidy Deno who averaged 15.9 PPG and 5.2 RPG as a freshman.
Stetson – (27-8 overall, 16-2 Atlantic Sun) The Hatters were a solid 12-6 on the road and return all but one player from last season, including Amber Porter who was 5th in the nation in blocks. They were the 13th-best shooting team in the country in 2013-14. Hailing from DeLand, Fla., Valparaiso is the farthest the Hatters will have traveled since Dec. 1st, 2009 when they went to Queens, New York. Stetson is the only non-conference team on Valpo's schedule with green in its color scheme.