Indianapolis, Ind. - A Thanksgiving trip to New Mexico, non-conference games against five Hoosier State schools and an always exciting Horizon League campaign highlight the 2008-09 Butler women's basketball schedule, which was announced on Wednesday (Sept. 3). The challenging 29-game regular season slate will pit the Bulldogs against as many as nine opponents that advanced to post-season competition last year.
"We're really excited about the challenge ahead of playing so many talented teams that went on to play in the postseason last year," head coach Beth Couture said. "Our non-conference schedule should give us a good test for what could be the most exciting and competitive Horizon League season since I have been at Butler.
"We're also looking forward to facing some great schools from the state of Indiana and having the opportunity to play at The Pit in Albuquerque over Thanksgiving."
Butler kicks off the season on the road on Nov. 14 at Ohio State, which finished the 2007-08 season ranked in the Associated Press Top-25 poll and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs then head to IPFW on Nov. 18 before returning to Indianapolis on Nov. 21 for a Friday night home opener against Dayton, which advanced to the WNIT in 2008.
The team journeys to the Southwest over the Thanksgiving break when it takes part in the University of New Mexico Thanksgiving Tournament from Nov. 28-29. The Bulldogs open up against Nebraska (NCAA Tournament) on Nov. 28 before facing either William and Mary or the host Lobos (NCAA Tournament) on Nov. 29.
After a trip to face Evansville (WNIT) on Dec. 3, the Bulldogs welcome Coastal Carolina to Hinkle Fieldhouse for an afternoon battle on Dec. 6.
Butler then hits the road for the final time during the non-league schedule when it faces two more teams with post-season experience from 2008. The Bulldogs travel to Bloomington, Ind., on Dec. 9 for a battle with the Hoosiers (WNIT) before turning east to Oxford, Ohio, for a Dec. 13 contest at 2008 NCAA qualifier Miami (Ohio).
Following an eighth-day break for final exams, the Bulldogs resume play with a four-game home-stand. Butler hosts Indiana State in a noon contest on Dec. 22 and closes out the non-conference slate and 2008 against Christian Brothers on Dec. 29. The Horizon League slate opens at home on Jan. 3 when the Bulldogs host league tournament champion Cleveland State (NCAA Tournament) at Hinkle Fieldhouse, and Butler closes the home stretch against Youngstown State on Jan. 5.
After a quick swing through Detroit (Jan. 8) and Wright State (Jan. 10), the Bulldogs will spend the following two weeks in Indianapolis entertaining Loyola on Jan. 15, UIC on Jan. 17 and Valparaiso on Jan. 23.
Butler returns to the road to take on league regular season champion and WNIT participant Green Bay on Jan. 29 before heading south to Milwaukee for a Jan. 31 game against the Panthers.
Wright State and Detroit make stops in Indy a week later, with the Raiders invading Hinkle on Feb. 5 and the Titans coming to town on Feb. 7, before the Bulldogs embark on a three-game road swing - the team's longest league road trip of the year - against UIC (Feb. 12), Loyola (Feb. 14) and Valparaiso (Feb. 21).
Butler concludes the home schedule the following weekend, with Milwaukee (Feb. 26) and Green Bay (Feb. 28) coming to town. The Saturday afternoon game against the Phoenix will also serve as the Bulldogs' Senior Day, with Lade Akande, Candyce Brown, Candace Jones and Tara Miller being recognized in a ceremony prior to the contest.
The regular season concludes on the road, as Butler swings through Northeast Ohio with games at Youngstown State (March 5) and Cleveland State (March 7).
The Horizon League Championship features first-round games on March 9, quarterfinals on March 11, semifinals March 13 and the championship on March 15, with an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament on the line.
Butler returns 11 of its 13 letterwinners and all five of its starters from a 2007-08 team that finished with a 20-10 overall record.