By: Nick McGill
After much rearranging, there is a new slate of competition in the revamped Big East conference. This will be a totally new look for Xavier women’s basketball as it was part of the Atlantic 10 (A-10) conference since 1995.
This year will begin a new era of competition for Xavier this year and for future Musketeers. With 18 games of conference play, the women’s basketball team will face many new opponents. The only team to move from the A-10 with Xavier is Butler, who was a member of the A-10 conference for one year.
Needless to say, the women’s basketball team will get a much different look from a new pool of opponents. In this year’s conference, seven of the 10 teams are familiar with Big East competition.
This is not the case for Xavier, Butler or Creighton, the latter of which came from the Missouri Valley Conference. The remaining teams include DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova.
All have experience playing each other. This may give these teams a slight advantage when it comes to scouting reports for conference play.
While some critics are predicting Xavier to finish as low as ninth in the conference, the Musketeers must play up to a new standard in one of the elite conferences in college basketball where they fell short last year.
The Creighton Bluejays look to be one of the biggest threats this year coming off a 25-8 season last year and a trip to the NCAA tournament.
Junior guard Brittany Hrynko hopes to lead an experienced DePaul team to a successful season. With her leadership and talent, DePaul may also be fighting for that top spot come the end of the season as many expect them to take the Big East crown.
Georgetown and Marquette are also not strangers to the NCAA tournament. They have proven in recent years they have what it takes to make it to the big dance.
Xavier’s success in its first year of this tough conference will come down to how well the team can play against the new competition. The Musketeers must overcome low expectations from the media and prove that they are one of the top teams in the new Big East Conference.
Seniors Shatyra Hawkes and Ashley Wanninger were recently named to the 2013-14 Big East Preseason All-Conference team. Look for Hawkes and Wanninger to lead the charge as the Musketeers look to establish their place in the newly arranged Big East.