Fairfield, Conn. (July 17, 2012)—Sacred Heart Women's Basketball Head Coach Ed Swanson announced the non-conference schedule for the upcoming 2012-13 season. While filled with many familliar teams, the first half of the season will be highlighted by the Preseason WNIT and the Seattle University Tournament.
The reigning Northeast Conference Champions will kick off the season in Washington D.C. playing in the 2012 Preseason WNIT. On November 9, Sacred Heart will match up with Georgetown in the first round. SHU is 0-2 against the Hoyas, facing them last in 1999, the program's first year in the Division I ranks. The Preseason WNIT, which runs from November 9-18, is a three-game guarantee championship format. Eleven if the 16 teams are coming off of postseason berths. Teams that lose in the first or second rounds will play consolation games. The consolation bracket will be released after all of the Round 1 games are complete.
"It is an honor to be starting the 2012-13 season by participating in the prestigious Preseason WNIT," said Swanson. "Our match-up with NCAA Tournament-participate Georgetown University will certainly challenge our team."
SHU will return from the Preseason WNIT for the home opener against Saint Peter's on November 20. The Peahens, back on the schedule for the fourth year in a row, will play the visitor in 2012 after losing to Sacred Heart 80-55 at home last year. The Pioneers lead the all-time series against the Peahens 5-4.
After just the one game at home, the Pioneers will head to the west coast for Thanksgiving weekend to play in the Seattle University Tournament. For Seattle, a first-time opponent for SHU, 2012-13 is the inaugural season in Division I.
The Pioneers will finish the non-conference schedule facing familiar opponents in the month of December, having faced all five last year, and only losing to one.
Sacred Heart will open the month at home on December 1 against Colgate. Two days later, on December 3, SHU will take on the Seawolves of Stony Brook University on the road. This will be the sixteenth time these teams have matched up, with the Pioneers taking 11 of those games.
On December 17, the Jaspers come to Fairfield. For the fifth consecutive year, the SHU faces-off with Manhattan. In their four previous meetings, Sacred Heart has only managed one win.
Before going home for Christmas break, the Pioneers will make a stop in Bethlehem, Penn. on December 20 to take on Lehigh. The Mountainhawks, who Sacred Heart defeated 68-51 last year, were the No. 2 seed in the 2012 Patriot League Tournament. They were knocked out in the semifinal round by Navy 64-59.
The Pioneers will close out the non-conference schedule, and 2012, at home against the Siena Saints on December 30. SHU is 2-1 all-time against the Saints having topped them the previous two season.
"We are looking forward to the challenge that our 2012-13 non-conference schedule presents," said Swanson, "in hopes that it will get us ready for the rigors of the tough NEC schedule."