Illinois women's basketball to open at Eastern
The Illinois women's basketball team opens the season at Eastern Illinois on Nov. 9 and plays 15 home dates in a schedule released Wednesday.
The Illini meet national powers North Carolina State and Oklahoma in the non-conference season, play in the Thanksgiving Classic hosted by Florida International in Miami and end the non-conference portion with a game at Missouri.
The schedule includes 19 teams that played in last season's NCAA tournament or WNIT.
Like the men's schedule, the women's conference season expanded from 16 to 18 games this year. Illinois plays at Northwestern on Dec. 27 to open the Big Ten season.
"Our schedule this year is extremely challenging,'' said first year coach Jolette Law. "We’ll have some tough non-conference tests early on that will not only give us the opportunity to open some eyes but also prepare us for the rigorous conference schedule.''
The home opener is Nov. 11 against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Illinois also meets Southern Illinois on Nov. 18.
The Illini play at North Carolina State on Nov. 29 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the first year for the series between women's basketball teams from the two conferences. Illinois also hosts Oklahoma on Dec. 5. The Sooners, led by All-America Courtney Paris, will likely enter as a top 10 team.
Illinois returned five starters and six of its top seven scorers from last year's team that finished 19-12 overall and fourth in the Big Ten.
For ticket information, contact the UI Athletic Ticket Office at 1-866-ILLINI-1.
ILLINOIS WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Home games in caps
Nov. 4 DT3 (exhibition), 7 p.m.
Nov. 9 at Eastern Illinois, 7 p.m.
Nov. 11 WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE, TBA
Nov. 14 ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM, 7 p.m.
Nov. 18 SOUTHERN ILLINOIS, 2 p.m.
Nov. 23-25 FIU Thanksgiving Classic, Miami
Nov. 23 vs. South Carolina, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 25 vs. Florida International/Providence
Nov. 29 at North Carolina State, 6 p.m.
Dec. 2 ILLINOIS-CHICAGO, 2 p.m.
Dec. 5 OKLAHOMA, 8 p.m.
Dec. 8 vs. Chicago State, United Center, Chicago, 1:30 p.m.
Dec. 19 at Missouri, 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 27 at Northwestern, 7 p.m.
Dec. 30 WISCONSIN, TBA
Jan. 2 at Penn State, TBA
Jan. 6, at Indiana, TBA
Jan. 10 MINNESOTA, 7 p.m.
Jan. 17 at Ohio State, TBA
Jan. 21 IOWA, 7 p.m.
Jan. 24 MICHIGAN STATE, 7 p.m.
Jan. 27 at Purdue, TBA
Jan. 31 OHIO STATE, 7 p.m.
Feb. 4 at Michigan, 6 p.m.
Feb. 7 at Minnesota, TBA
Feb. 10 INDIANA, 1 p.m.
Feb. 14 at Wisconsin, TBA
Feb. 21 PENN STATE, 7 p.m.
Feb. 24 MICHIGAN, 2 p.m.
Feb. 28 at Michigan State, TBA
March 2 PURDUE
March 6-9 Big Ten tournament, Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
March 22-25, NCAA tournament first and second rounds
March 29-April 1 NCAA tournament, regional semifinals and finals
April 6, 8 NCAA Final Four