By: Isabel Smith ~Staff Writer~
The Xavier women’s basketball team looks forward to an exciting and challenging schedule as it enter their second season in the Big East.
This season will also be the second for head coach Brian Neal.
Neal is optimistic about the future of the team with four returning starters and nine newcomers, all full of talent and potential.
Last season left the team wanting more. The Musketeers will have the opportunity to put their hard work in the offseason on display with this season’s tough schedule.
The team kicks off play against Wofford on Nov. 15 at Cintas Center.
The rest of 2014 will consist of several non-conference opponents like the Virginia Cavaliers from the tough Atlantic Coast Conference and the Robert Morris Colonials.
Xavier fans will get an early glimpse of conference action when the Muskies travel to Queens, N.Y., to play the St. John’s Red Storm and then to Milwaukee to compete against the Marquette Golden Eagles.
St. John’s is ranked second in the Big East preseason poll and will provide Xavier with great competition.
The Musketeers take on their crosstown rivals, the Cincinnati Bearcats, in the annual Crosstown Shootout.
This year’s matchup takes place on Dec. 14 at UC and will offer Musketeer fans nail-biting action.
The team kicks off the new year with two Big East games at Cintas Center.
The Muskies play the Creighton Blue Jays on Jan. 2 and the Providence Friars on Jan. 4.
Creighton has Marissa Janning, the reigning Big East player of the year and the selected preseason player of the year.
Xavier plays its arguably toughest competition, the DePaul Blue Demons, Jan. 11 in Chicago.
DePaul took a trip to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 and was unanimously selected to finish on top for the second year in a row in the Big East preseason poll.
Xavier welcomes DePaul on Feb. 8 to Cintas Center for another matchup.
The Musketeers finish out the regular season against other Big East opponents.
Some home-game highlights include the Georgetown Hoyas on Jan. 16, the Villanova Wildcats on Jan. 18, the Butler Bulldogs on Jan. 25 and the Seton Hall Pirates on Feb. 27.
The Big East preseason poll picks Xavier to finish ninth, but this year’s schedule offers opportunities to showcase the young squad’s growth and talent.