A new league, a holiday trip to San Francisco and a home game against Indiana are the highlights of the Butler women's basketball team's 2012-13 schedule.
After 26 seasons in the MCC/Horizon League, Butler has learned its first schedule as a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Bulldogs' first A-10 game is Saturday, Jan. 12 vs. Dayton.
"It's really exciting to start our first year of competition in the Atlantic-10 conference," head coach Beth Couture said. "There will be many different teams coming in to Hinkle, but most importantly, traditionally, they have been very good teams. I think it will be a challenge for our players, but our players have stepped up and I think they are ready for that.
"I think it will be most exciting for our fans to come in here and see the caliber of women's basketball they will be able to see."
After the league opener vs. Dayton, the Bulldogs will welcome Xavier, VCU and Rhode Island into Hinkle Fieldhouse before 2012 Sweet 16 team St. Bonaventure comes to Butler Sunday, Feb. 17. The two remaining conference home game are against Richmond and Temple. The highlight of the A-10 road schedule is Butler's Sunday, Jan. 20 game at LaSalle. The contest vs. the Explorers will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
Butler has scheduled 15 non-conference games, playing strong Midwest teams such as Marquette, Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green and Indiana. Butler's home opener is Saturday, No. 17 vs. Fairfield.
"I think our non-conference schedule really will mirror some of the A-10 play we will see," Couture said. "We open up with a very good Marquette and they have a great atmosphere, which we will see throughout the A-10 conference. Then we play our normal rivals, which should be a challenge for us."
Butler will take its annual Thanksgiving trip, playing St. Mary's and Portland State at St. Mary's in Moraga, Calif. And Butler's usual in-state rivals Ball State, Indiana State and IUPUI remain on the schedule. BU will also take on former league opponents Valparaiso, Cleveland State and UIC.
Couture added: "I am just excited for another year to get started and see our girls on the floor. They have worked extremely hard. They understand the challenges and are ready to accept them and continue to build this program."