INDIANAPOLIS – A Thanksgiving Tournament in Las Vegas, five non-conference home games and a leap into the BIG EAST conference highlights the Butler women's basketball upcoming schedule. The Bulldogs will play three of their first four games of the year at Hinkle Fieldhouse as they look to improve on last year's 17-14 overall record.
Before the start of the regular season, the Bulldogs will get an exhibition match under their belts as they welcome DePauw to campus for a 2 p.m. tip on Nov. 3. The regular season home opener will follow five days later as Butler hosts Cleveland State for a 7 p.m. tip.
"I'm extremely excited about our schedule this year," Head Coach Beth Couture explained. "Our non-conference games will hopefully prepare us for what will be a challenging, yet exciting BIG EAST schedule."
The first road test of the 2013-14 season will come at Eastern Michigan as the Eagles host Butler on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Two home games follow that match-up as the Bulldogs host both St. Mary's and Bowling Green.
"We bring some really good teams to the Hinkle Fieldhouse during the non-conference part of the schedule," Couture added.
In-state rival Indiana will be Butler's next opponent after two-straight at the Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Hoosiers will host Butler on Saturday, Nov. 23. Tip is scheduled for 2 p.m.
The end of November is an exciting time for Butler as the team has agreed to play Utah and Eastern Washington in the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout held in Las Vegas, Nevada. South Point Arena will hold the action as the Bulldogs take on Utah on Nov. 29 followed by an 8 p.m. tip vs. Eastern Washington on Nov. 30.
The start of December will feature four more non-conference opponents as Butler hosts UIC on Dec. 7 and then Northern Kentucky on Dec. 15. The Bulldogs will stay in the state, but will play as visitors in the other two games as trips to Valparaiso and Indiana State lead the team into BIG EAST competition.
The first BIG EAST match-up in women's basketball history will be a home game against Marquette on Saturday, Dec. 28. The Bulldogs will spend the New Year on the road with games at Providence and at Seton Hall. A quick home game against Villanova will get Butler back to Hinkle Fieldhouse, but the tough stretch of road games continues as the Bulldogs play at Georgetown and at St. John's during mid-January.
Four of Butler's next five games after the road trip will be played at home. Creighton, DePaul and Providence round out the month of January and a short trip to Xavier brings in the month of February.
The conference schedule flips for the last month of BIG EAST action as the Bulldogs host St. John's, Georgetown and Xavier, but travel to Marquette, Villanova and DePaul.
"When we get into the BIG EAST schedule it will be exciting for our fans to come out and see some of the best teams in the nation," Couture said. "We feel fortunate to be in the BIG EAST conference and we also feel responsible to help the conference stay at the top as one of the best conferences in the country."
Only two games appear in the month of March before the madness gets underway as Butler hosts Seton Hall, and then plays at Creighton on March 4 to end the regular season. The BIG EAST Tournament will be played from March 8-11 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill.
Nine returning letterwinners and five newcomers make up the Butler roster this season. The Bulldogs went 17-14 overall, with an 8-6 mark in the Atlantic 10 last year to reach the WNIT postseason. Couture and the Bulldogs will look to return to the postseason this year by returning their top three leading scorers from a year ago in senior Daress McClung, point guard Taylor Schippers and post presence Liz Stratman.