The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team has unveiled its nonconference schedule for the 2018-2019 season.
The Crusaders will begin the regular season by visiting UIC on Wednesday, Nov. 7 in the renewal of a longtime matchup that took a one-year hiatus. The Crusaders and Flames shared conference affiliation during Valpo’s tenure in the Horizon League. Both teams will be debuting new head coaches with Tasha Porter in her first season at UIC and Mary Evans the same at Valpo.
The Crusaders will welcome North Dakota to the Athletics-Recreation Center for the home opener on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. That will mark the first time the Crusaders have faced off with the Fighting Hawks, who are entering their first season as members of the Summit League after previously holding Big Sky membership.
On Wednesday, Nov. 14, Valpo has a date with Big Ten foe Illinois in Champaign. The Crusaders and Illini have faced off three times, most recently in 2014 at the ARC. Valpo’s last visit to Illinois came in 2013.
Valpo will take part in a multi-team event on Nov. 16-17 in Morehead, Ky., battling host Morehead State on Friday before clashing with St. Francis (N.Y.) on Saturday. That will mark Valpo’s first meeting with both programs. Morehead State is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, while St. Francis (N.Y.) calls the Northeast Conference home.
After Thanksgiving weekend, Valpo will welcome Toledo to the ARC on Monday, Nov. 26 with hopes of moving to 2-0 all-time against the Rockets. Valpo won the only all-time meeting, winning Toledo’s tournament by beating the hosts 63-61 on Dec. 7, 2013. The Rockets, members of the Mid-American Conference, finished with a winning record at 18-15 last year.
Valpo will travel to Chicago State on Thursday, Nov. 29 for the 44th all-time meeting between the Cougars and Crusaders. Valpo prevailed against their adversaries from the Western Athletic Conference last season 71-60. Chicago State is also under a first-year coach with Misty Opat taking the helm.
A stretch of three straight home dates begins on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. against Eastern Illinois. The Crusaders will look to top the Panthers for the second straight season after earning a 76-67 road victory a year ago. Valpo will seek its first win over Miami (OH) when the RedHawks come to the ARC on Saturday, Dec. 8. The Crusaders are 0-9 in the all-time series including a 77-68 setback last year. Miami (OH) finished last season 21-11 and 12-6 in the MAC on the way to a WNIT appearance.
North Dakota State visits Valpo on Sunday, Dec. 16 before the Crusaders pay Purdue Fort Wayne a visit on Wednesday, Dec. 19 for the nonconference road finale. Valpo will head to Fort Wayne for a regular season game for the first time since 2012 after beating the Mastodons at the ARC last season.
The final game before the holiday break will occur on Friday, Dec. 21 against Bowling Green at the ARC. The Crusaders will attempt to avenge a road loss from last season as the Falcons come to Valpo for the first time since 2008. Mary Evans had success against Bowling Green a year ago as her Ohio squad won both MAC showdowns between the two teams.
The final tune-up for conference play will occur on Dec. 31 as IU Northwest comes in for a noon exhibition game on Monday, Dec. 31. The RedHawks, a local foe that plays in Gary, will come to the ARC for the fourth time, with Valpo having won each of the first three meetings.
The Crusaders have four returning starters and 12 letter winners back from the 2017-2018 team. A pair of freshmen have joined the fold for Year 2 in the Missouri Valley Conference.