Aug. 29, 2008
CINCINNATI - The Xavier University women’s basketball team has finalized the most challenging non-conference schedule in its history as announced by head coach Kevin McGuff on August 28. The non-conference schedule will include a minimum of 16 contests but the Musketeers could play 17 games if they advance to the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) final.
“This schedule reflects my optimism that this team will be among the nation’s best,” said McGuff. “For us to have success we will need to consistently compete at a high level.”
Included in the non-conference slate is an invitation to the Preseason WNIT for the first time in school history. This premier preseason tournament includes 16 teams and guarantees each team a minimum of three games. Xavier will open the 2008-09 season when it plays host to Robert Morris in the first round of the Preseason WNIT on Friday, November 14. Robert Morris is the reigning Northeast Conference regular season and tournament champion after posting a 23-10 overall record and a 16-2 mark in NEC action. RMU advanced to the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament and finished the year rated in the top-100 of the RPI.
The winner of the XU vs. RMU contest will face either Indiana or Ball State on either November 16 or 17 at a site to be determined. The winner of that contest will most likely face national powerhouse North Carolina on either November 19 or 20 in Chapel Hill, N.C. The WNIT Final will be held on Sunday, November 23 at a site to be determined.
After the scheduled Preseason WNIT contest on either November 19 or 20, Xavier will welcome BIG EAST foe Louisville to Cintas Center on Saturday, November 22. The Cardinals went 26-10 last season and earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament before bowing out to North Carolina in the Sweet 16. Louisville, a team that has gone to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments, returns All-American Angel McCoughtry for her senior season. XU will play the Cardinals for the fifth consecutive year with XU’s last win coming during the 2003-04 season.
XU will then travel to Baton Rouge, La. to square-off against Naismith Hall of Fame coach Van Chancellor and the LSU Lady Tigers on Wednesday, November 26. LSU boasted a 31-6 record last season and took home the SEC Regular Season crown after posting a spotless 14-0 mark in league play. The Lady Tigers have been to 10 straight NCAA Tournaments and have made a remarkable five consecutive trips to the Final Four. LSU, which finished the 2007-08 season ranked No. 4 in the AP poll, did lose All-American Sylvia Fowles to graduation. Fowles was selected as the second overall pick in last summer’s WNBA draft.
After taking a breather on Thanksgiving, XU is back in action on November 28 and 29 for the 2008 Xavier Invitational. The Musketeers will take on UT-Martin on Friday and Winthrop on Saturday. UT-Martin finished the 2007-08 season with a 5-25 mark and a 2-18 record in Ohio Valley Conference play. Winthrop posted a solid 20-12 record and finished third in the Big South with a 7-5 mark.
Next up for the Musketeers will be their second of four games with teams from the SEC as the squad will welcome Kentucky to Cintas Center on Tuesday, December 2. Kentucky finished last year with a 17-16 record and tied for fourth in the SEC with an 8-6 mark. Kentucky, which advanced to the third round of WNIT last season, is just 1-5 all-time vs. Xavier. Most recently, Xavier took home a 51-46 victory on New Year’s Day 2008 after trailing by as many as 12 points in the second half in Lexington.
Xavier will play host to Mid-American Conference opponent Akron on Friday, December 5. Xavier defeated the Zips by an 84-59 score on December 28 of last season. That game marked the first time April Phillips and Tudy Reed donned a Musketeer uniform. XU is 6-7 all-time vs. Akron and the Musketeers have won four straight over the Zips. Akron finished the 2007-08 season with a 7-24 overall record and a 2-14 mark in MAC play.
The annual crosstown shootout is next on the Musketeers’ docket as the team will take on Cincinnati on Sunday, December 7 at Fifth Third Arena. UC snapped a three-game losing streak against XU last season with a 61-55 win at Cintas Center on December 1. The Bearcats were 12-16 overall last season, including 3-13 in the BIG EAST.
After a week-long break, Xavier welcomes the Spartans of Michigan State to Cintas Center on Sunday, December 14. MSU was 23-14 last season and finished fifth in the Big 10 at 10-8. The Spartans, who lost to Marquette in last year’s WNIT Championship Game, return 6’-9’’ All-Big 10 First Teamer Alyssa DeHaan. DeHaan has swatted 295 shots in two seasons and should pose a formidable challenge to XU’s All-American frontline of Amber Harris and Ta’Shia Phillips.
After breaking for final exams, XU is back in action in Cintas Center against Davidson on Friday, December 19. The Wildcats finished 19-11 last year and were third in the Southern Conference with a 13-5 mark.
The gauntlet continues when XU travels to Tucson, Ariz. to take on Arizona State two days later. The Sun Devils were 22-11 last year and finished third in the Pac-10 with a 14-4 record. They have been to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including the 2007 Elite Eight and the 2008 Second Round.
After an eight-day break for Christmas, the Musketeers travel to Athens, Ga. to square-off against Georgia. The Lady Dogs are one of the nation’s elite programs as the team has competed in 25 NCAA Tournaments while making trips to 17 Sweet 16’s and five Final Fours. XU defeated No. 7 Georgia by a 65-55 score on January 6 of last season.
The Musketeers return to Cincinnati on Friday, January 2 to take on New Hampshire. This contest marks the return for a pair of former Musketeers. UNH head coach Kristin Cole served as an assistant coach at XU from 2002-2007 and UNH assistant coach Tara Boothe starred for XU from 2002-06.
The non-conference slate will be rounded out with a trip to Starkville, Miss. to take on Mississippi State on Sunday, January 4. MSU was 16-15 last season and earned a berth to the WNIT.
All game times are TBA.
2008-09 Schedule Notes
- Non-conference schedule consists of 16 games with a possibility for 17
- Nine home games, at least six away games
- XU could still host the WNIT second round game (if necessary) but would most likely play the semifinal and final (if necessary) on the road
As many as 11 opponents hailing from power conferences
- North Carolina* (ACC)
- Indiana*, Michigan State (Big 10)
- Oklahoma* (Big XII)
- Cincinnati, Louisville (BIG EAST)
- Arizona State (Pac-10)
- LSU, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State (SEC)
As many as 10 of last year’s Top-100 RPI Teams
- at North Carolina* (No. 3)
- at LSU (No. 8)
- Louisville (No. 12)
- at Oklahoma* (No. 13)
- at Arizona State (No. 33)
- at Georgia (No. 34)
- Michigan State (No. 52)
- Kentucky (No. 54)
- Indiana* (No. 74)
- Robert Morris (No. 97)
As many as seven of last year’s NCAA Tournament teams
- at LSU (Final Four)
- at North Carolina* (Elite Eight)
- Louisville (Sweet 16)
- at Arizona State (Second Round)
- at Georgia (Second Round)
- at Oklahoma* (Second Round)
- Robert Morris (First Round)
As many as four of last year’s WNIT teams
- Michigan State (Finalist)
- Kentucky (Third Round)
- Indiana* (First Round)
- at Mississippi State (First Round)
2008 Preseason WNIT
- Will open 2008-09 season on November 14 at Cintas Center against Robert Morris
- Winner will play either Indiana or Ball State on either November 16 or 17
- Winner of the second round contest will most likely play at North Carolina on either November 19 or 20 in the semifinal
* Potential opponent in the Preseason WNIT