Head Coach Brian Neal
Nov. 9, 2013
CINCINNATI - The Xavier women's basketball team will open the 2013-14 campaign, which is also the program's 43rd season, on Sunday afternoon, when they face Mid-American Conference foe Ohio at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio for a 2 p.m. matchup.
Game #1 - Xavier at Ohio
Date: Sunday, November 10, 2013
Time: 2:00 p.m.
City: Athens, Ohio.
Site: Convocation Center (13,080)
Live Stats: OhioBobcats.com
Live Video: OhioBobcats.com
Live Audio: GoXavier.com
Talent: Mike Schmaltz
Twitter: @Xavier_WBB | @XavierGameDay
Twitter Hashtags: #LetsGoX
Last 5 in 2012-13: 4-1
Last 10 in 2012-13: 7-3
vs. Ohio: 7th Meeting | Ohio leads 5-1
Last Meeting: Jan. 5, 2013 | Ohio 68, XU 62
Up Next: at Michigan - Nov. 13
AT A GLANCE
The first season of Xavier women's basketball under head coach Brian Neal will get underway on Sunday afternoon when the Musketeers travel to Athens, Ohio to battle the Ohio Bobcats. Coming off a 4-7 season on the road a year ago, XU carries a three-game road-winning streak into Sunday's matchup.
HEAD COACHING MATCHUP
Head Coach: Brian Neal (Northern Kentucky `91)
Career Record: 171-31 (8th Season)
Record at Xavier: 0-0 (1st Season)
Head Coach: Bob Boldon (Walsh `97)
Career Record: 98-86 (7th Season)
Record at Ohio: 0-0 (1st Season)
Following the Ohio game, the Blue and White head north to Ann Arbor, Mich. to battle the Wolverines of the University of Michigan on Nov. 13. The Wolverines finished 22-11 (9-7 Big Ten) last season, tying the program record for wins and reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament (No. 8 seed) for just the third time in program history. Michigan, led by second-year head coach Kim Barnes Arico, welcomes four newcomers to a squad that lost its top five scorers to graduation. The five seniors accounted for 50.7 points and 23.6 rebounds per game, which accounted for 84.4 percent and 68.2 percent of the team's scoring and rebounding last season, respectively.
KNOW YOUR OPPONENT | OHIO BOBCATS
- Sunday's contest marks the debut of Bob Boldon as head coach of the Bobcats. With six years of head coaching experience, Boldon is the 10th head coach in school history. Boldon comes to Athens after spending the last three years of his head coaching career at Youngstown State. The Northeast Ohio native inherited a program which had posted a 0-30 record during the 2009-10 season and turned it into a Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) participant at the end of the 2012-13 season, posting two double-digit win seasons and one 23-win campaign along the way.
- Ohio has been picked to finish fifth in the Mid-American Conference East Division in 2013-14, as voted on by the conference's coaches.
- Guard Kiyanna Black was named to the 2012-13 Mid-American Conference All-Freshman Team last season. Black played in all 29 games last season, starting 17. She was Ohio's third leading scorer with 9.6 points per game and finished second on the team in total points scored with 279.
- The Bobcats roster features six freshmen
XU is 26-14 all-time in regular season openers, including 12-9 in season openers on the road. Over the last 22 seasons, Xavier is 18-4 in its first game of the season.
XAVIER IN NOVEMBER
The Musketeers are 59-36 all-time during the month of November. XU posted an unblemished 6-0 record in November during the 2010-11 season. Xavier went on to win 29 games that year after starting the season with a 10-game winning streak.
On Nov. 7, Xavier Director of Athletics Greg Christopher named Brian Neal head coach of Xavier University's women's basketball team, making him the seventh head coach in program history. Neal had been operating as the interim head coach since Oct. 9, when former head coach Amy Waugh stepped down after a two-year tenure with the Musketeers.
Neal, who spent the last two seasons as an assistant with Xavier (2011-13), will be in his first season as a Division I head coach. Prior to joining Xavier, Neal was head coach of Thomas More's women's program (Division III) for seven years. A graduate of Northern Kentucky University, Neal has also served as an assistant coach at NKU and Wilmington.
NEW LOOK MUSKETEERS
Coach Neal and his staff -- assistants Carla Morrow, Bryce McKey and Mark Ehlen, director of operations Garry Horton and video coordinator Brenden Stowers -- have a young team, with eight freshmen and a trio of sophomores on the 13-player roster.
The Blue and White graduated the team's top two scorers from last year's squad. That duo - Amber Gray and Jessica Pachko - accounted for 35 percent (21.1) of the team's scoring and 33.6 percent of the team's rebounding last year. Gray and Pachko, scored more than 1,000 points combined over the previous two seasons. The Musketeers are coming off a season where they advanced to the 2013 Buick Atlantic 10 Championship and earned a No. 7 seed. XU finished the 2012-13 campaign with a 13-16 overall record that included a 7-7 mark in league play.
The Musketeers return five players, including a trio of starters from last year's squad that went 8-8 at Cintas Center. Senior Ashley Wanninger is XU's top returning scorer (9.3 ppg) and three-point threat (53 made triples; .349). Xavier's leader in assists (3.7 apg) and free-throw percentage (.810) last season, senior Shatyra Hawkes, is the other returning starter. Sophomore Jenna Crittendon is coming off a solid rookie campaign where she averaged 6.4 points and 5.4 rebounds and started in 15 of the 26 contests she played in.
Neal and Company welcome in a huge freshman class (8), which includes Brianna Gladney, Kayla Davis, Maddison Blackwell, Erica Dawson, Leah Schaefer, Martha Thompson, Sydney Neal and Christina Ohlinger.
PICKING UP PRESEASON HARDWARE
The Xavier women's basketball program, led by seniors Shatyra Hawkes and Ashley Wanninger, were predicted to finish ninth (20 points) in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches' Poll. Hawkes was named to the CSM BIG EAST All-Conference fourth team and Wanninger earned All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention honors.
The BIG EAST Conference announced the Preseason Poll and Preseason All-Conference honors on Oct. 16, 2013 at BIG EAST Basketball Media Day at Chelsea Piers in New York City.
The Blue and White's 2013-14 non-conference slate includes four contests against teams that qualified for postseason play, each of which finished the 2012-13 season with a top-55 RPI.
In BIG EAST play, the Musketeers will face each of its nine new league foes twice each as part of the conference's double round-robin format. Four BIG EAST teams appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season (DePaul, St. John's, Creighton and Villanova).