The Bowling Green State University women's basketball team has announced the schedule for the 2013-14 season, and the Falcons will once again play a rigorous non-league schedule to prepare for the always-difficult Mid-American Conference slate.
That non-conference slate is highlighted by two tournaments as well as a total of three games vs. Big Ten Conference foes. The Falcons will travel to Ohio State and Purdue, and BGSU will open the regular-season with a neutral-site game vs. Michigan.
"We have created a non-conference schedule that will challenge us each time out," said BGSU head coach Jennifer Roos. "With several opponents from the Big Ten, we could be an honorary member of that conference this season. In addition, almost half of our opponents reached incredible benchmarks last season, participating in a national postseason tournament and/or winning over 20 games."
The U-M game is part of the Iona Tournament in New Rochelle, N.Y. Arizona joins BGSU, U-M and the host Gaels in that tournament on Nov. 8-9.
The home opener will be the following Saturday, Nov. 15, against Niagara at the Stroh Center. After a trip to Indianapolis to face Butler (Nov. 18), the Falcons will play three games in as many days in Columbus the next weekend (Nov. 22).
Those three contests are part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge, with Ohio State serving as one of two hosts for the first phase of the eight-team invite. The Falcons will face Marist (Nov. 22), Old Dominion (Nov. 23) and the host Buckeyes (Nov. 24).
BGSU will play a total of four games in the exempt tournament. The Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge concludes with a quadruple-header in Springfield, Mass., the following Sunday (Dec. 1), with the Falcons facing Monmouth in the first game of the day at the MassMutual Center.
"Participating in both the Iona Tournament and the Hall of Fame Challenge will best prepare us for the MAC Tournament format because we will be playing games on consecutive days with short preparation in between games," said Roos.
Beginning with the OSU game, BGSU plays on no fewer than six consecutive Sundays. In addition to the Monmouth contest, the Falcons' December schedule includes home games vs. Milwaukee (Dec. 8), Massachusetts (Dec. 15) and Saint Francis (Pa.) (Dec. 29) and a trip to Purdue (Dec. 22).
"Playing a difficult non-conference schedule has many benefits," said Roos. "It prepares the team and staff both mentally and physically for our conference schedule, and it attracts top student-athletes to our program during the recruiting process. Additionally, we hope it will generate a tremendous amount of excitement for our loyal fan base."
After more than a decade, the MAC has returned to an 18-game regular-season schedule. MAC women's basketball teams have played a 16-game league regular-season slate since the 1998-99 season after playing an 18-game schedule from 1992-93 through '97-98.
As in recent years, the Falcons will play two games against each of the other MAC East Division foes. However, the Brown and Orange also will face two West Division opponents two times apiece. In 2013-14, BG faces both Eastern Michigan and defending MAC Tournament champion Central Michigan twice.
The league schedule begins with a home game vs. Buffalo on Saturday, Jan. 4. The road slate begins the following Thursday (Jan. 9) at Kent State, and the Brown and Orange then play three games against teams that went a combined 36-12 in MAC play last season. BG hosts defending East Division winner Akron (Jan. 12), then concludes a three-games-in-seven-days stretch with trips to face Ball State (Jan. 15) and CMU (Jan. 18). The Zips, Cardinals and Chippewas all went 12-4 in MAC action last season.
BG returns home for a pair of games vs. EMU (Jan. 23) and Northern Illinois (Jan. 26), before ending the month with a trip to Athens to face Ohio (Jan. 30). Then, the Brown and Orange will face arch-rival Toledo in the Glass City on Sunday, Feb. 2.
The Falcons return home for games vs. Western Michigan (Feb. 5) and Miami (Feb. 9). BGSU played two narrow games vs. the Broncos last season, losing a one-point affair on a last-second bucket in the teams' regular-season meeting, then winning a two-point game in the MAC Tournament in Cleveland. Miami became the first team to defeat the Falcons twice in the same season since EMU in the 2004-05 campaign.
After a trip to Ypsilanti, Mich., for the return match with EMU (Feb. 15), the Falcons return home to meet CMU at the Stroh Center on Wednesday, Feb. 19. BG dealt the Chippewas, undefeated in the MAC at the time, a 25-point setback in last year's regular-season matchup at the Stroh, but Central returned the favor in a big way with a 33-point victory in the third round of the conference tournament.
The Falcons' final five games are all intra-divisional contests. BG heads to Western New York to face Buffalo on Feb. 22, before returning home for games against KSU (Feb. 27) and Ohio. The latter game, set for Sunday, March 2, will be 'Senior Day' for the BGSU women's basketball program.
The regular-season concludes with trips to Miami (March 5) and Akron (March 8), and the MAC Tournament begins just two days after the UA game, with first-round contests at campus sites on Monday, March 10.
The remainder of the MAC Tournament takes place in Cleveland, including the second (March 12) and third rounds (March 13), the semifinals (March 14) and the championship game (March 15). Prior to last season, BGSU had advanced at least as far as the semifinal round in nine consecutive seasons, and to the championship contest in seven of those years.
For the 2013-14 Falcons and their fans, the fun begins on Saturday, Nov. 2, with an exhibition game vs. Tiffin at the Stroh Center. The 14-game home schedule (13 regular-season games plus the exhibition) includes seven Sunday contests, along with three games on Saturday, two on both Wednesday and Thursday and one on Friday.
The schedule also includes four doubleheaders with the BGSU men's basketball team, including the Nov. 2 exhibition. The other doubleheader days are Nov. 15, Jan. 12 and Feb. 9.
Roos and her staff – assistant coaches Jesse Fleming, Jacey Brooks and Sahar Nusseibeh and director of operations Monique Rosati – welcome back seven letterwinners, including three starters, from last season's 24-win team. Four freshmen – Leah Bolton, Kennedy Kirkpatrick, Rachel Konieczki and Abby Siefker – join the Falcons this season, and Erica Donovan, who sat out the 2012-13 season per NCAA regulations after transferring from North Carolina State, is eligible to play for the Falcons in '13-14.
The 2012-13 Falcons advanced to national postseason play for the ninth consecutive year, earning an at-large berth in the Women's National Invitation Tournament. Roos and the Falcons won two games before losing to eventual WNIT champion Drexel in the third round.
The complete 2013-14 schedule follows. For the most up-to-date schedule throughout the season, click the schedule link on the women's basketball page, or consult the Calendar of Events at BGSUFalcons.com.
BGSU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
Sat. 2 TIFFIN (exhibition) (DH)
Fri. 8 vs. Michigan #
Sat. 9 vs. Arizona / at Iona #
Fri. 15 NIAGARA (DH)
Mon. 18 at Butler
Fri. 22 vs. Marist %
Sat. 23 vs. Old Dominion %
Sun. 24 at Ohio State %
Sun. 1 vs. Monmouth $
Sun. 8 MILWAUKEE
Sun. 15 MASSACHUSETTS
Sun. 22 at Purdue
Sun. 29 SAINT FRANCIS (PA.)
Sat. 4 BUFFALO *
Thu. 9 at Kent State *
Sun. 12 AKRON * (DH)
Wed. 15 at Ball State *
Sat. 18 at Central Michigan *
Thu. 23 EASTERN MICHIGAN *
Sun. 26 NORTHERN ILLINOIS *
Thu. 30 at Ohio *
Sun. 2 at Toledo *
Wed. 5 WESTERN MICHIGAN *
Sun. 9 MIAMI * (DH)
Sat. 15 at Eastern Michigan *
Wed. 19 CENTRAL MICHIGAN *
Sat. 22 at Buffalo *
Thu. 27 KENT STATE *
Sun. 2 OHIO *
Wed. 5 at Miami *
Sat. 8 at Akron *
Mon. 10 MAC Tournament First Round !
Wed. 12 MAC Tournament Second Round ^
Thu. 13 MAC Tournament Third Round ^
Fri. 14 MAC Tournament Semifinals ^
Sat. 15 MAC Tournament Championship ^
HOME games played at Stroh Center
* Mid-American Conference game
# Iona Tournament (New Rochelle, N.Y.)
% Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge (Columbus, Ohio)
$ Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge (Springfield, Mass.)
! at campus sites
^ at Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland, Ohio)
DH - doubleheader with men's basketball team