Guys, I was starting to get worried for a moment there. Last year, Marquette women’s basketball announced their non-conference schedule in early July, right along with the men’s slate. It’s now clearly early August, and before Thursday morning, we didn’t have a women’s hoops schedule.
Well, now we do, and I have to say, it’s looking pretty good.
The highlights of the non-conference schedule are return bouts from last year’s games against Arizona State and Oregon State. The Golden Eagles will host the Sun Devils in the third game of the season before heading out to visit the Beavers on Monday of Thanksgiving week. Both of those Pac-12 foes earned #2 seeds in the NCAA tournament last year, with Oregon State advancing all the way to the Final Four before falling. Remember: Marquette played both of those teams fairly close a year ago, including having a 10 point lead on Oregon State with 16 minutes left.
That’ll be an extended road trip for Marquette, as they’ll head from Corvallis, OR to Stockton, CA, for a Thanksgiving weekend tournament hosted by Pacific. They’ll play the host Tigers as well as Santa Clara in that event.
Marquette will also tangle with all three of the other Division 1 teams in the state of Wisconsin before conference play kicks off, and they’ll take on those games one after another. UW-Green Bay on December 6th and UW-Milwaukee on December 18th are a pair of home games that sandwich a trip to Madison to play the Badgers on December 11.
All told, it’s a pretty solid schedule when you look at it in terms of where the opponents finished in the RPI rankings at the end of last season. Only Longwood, the season’s first opponent finished lower than 300 out of the 349 schools playing Division 1 women’s basketball, and only two other opponents ended the season ranked lower than 200. Here’s how it breaks down, using the same setup that we use for the men’s schedule:
High: Oregon State (#5)
Low: Longwood (#314 out of 349)
Average RPI of MU’s 11 opponents: 145.3
Median RPI: 165
That’s... that’s pretty good. That’s actually better than any of the last four men’s basketball schedules, and the average is better than the MBB schedule from 2011-12, too. This shouldn’t be terribly surprising. Given the fact that Marquette is bringing back everyone who played more than 30 total minutes last season and adding four freshman and a freshly healed Chelsey Gibson, the goal for Carolyn Kieger and her squad should be improving on their 14-16 overall record and 9-9 Big East record enough to the point where they make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011.
Here’s the full schedule:
|Sat., Nov. 6||Minnesota State (exhibition)|
|Fri., Nov. 11||Longwood|
|Tue., Nov. 15||St. Francis (PA)|
|Sat., Nov. 19||Arizona State|
|Mon., Nov. 22||at Oregon State|
|Fri., Nov. 25||vs Santa Clara (Stockton, CA)|
|Sat., Nov. 26||at Pacific|
|Fri., Dec. 2||Western Illinois|
|Tue., Dec. 6||UW-Green Bay|
|Sun., Dec. 11||at Wisconsin|
|Sun., Dec. 18||UW-Milwaukee|
|Wed., Dec. 21||New Mexico|