EWU women announce 2013-14 schedule
Finally a ‘home friendly’ nonconference hoop schedule for Eagles
It’s a demanding schedule but nothing different than in the past for the Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team, which released its 2013-14 schedule, head coach Wendy Schuller announced Sept. 5.
The Eagles will take on six squads that advanced to postseason play last year.
Nonconference opponents Iowa State and Gonzaga made the NCAA Tournament last year while Butler earned a bid to the WNIT, respectively, and will provide a test for the Eagles. Montana was the Big Sky's representative to the NCAA Tournament while Idaho State and Northern Colorado each earned bids to the WNIT.
"Those are teams that come from really strong leagues and tend to have bigger and more athletic players than we do," Schuller said. "It's a great opportunity for us to challenge ourselves to see if we can raise our game to another level.”
Eastern warms up with an exhibition match versus the Master's College Friday, Nov. 1, before opening its season with a road game at WCC member Portland Friday, Nov. 8.
Southern Methodist University, a member of the newly formed American Athletic Conference, comes to Cheney Saturday, Nov. 16, followed by a mid-week tilt at cross-town rival Gonzaga Wednesday, Nov. 20.
The Eagles conclude November with a pair of games in Las Vegas, Nev., as part of the South Point Shootout. EWU takes on Iowa State in its first game on Friday, Nov. 29, before wrapping up its stay against Butler Saturday, Nov. 30.
“It's a nice chance to see where we need to be and what we need to be working on going forward," Schuller said.
Eastern concludes its nonconference slate with four games at Reese Court, starting against Big West member Cal State Northridge Friday, Dec. 6. The Eagles will then play three games in seven days starting with Idaho Saturday, Dec. 14, followed by a date with Northwest University Tuesday, Dec. 17. A game with Boise State Saturday, Dec. 21 wraps up the Eagles' nonconference schedule.
Eastern spent a lengthy period of time on the road in the preseason last year with seven of 10 nonleague contests on the road in November and December.
"It just kind of worked out for us that way, to play our final four nonconference games at home,” Schuller said. “When you schedule, sometimes the chips just fall where they do.”
For Eastern the change in the calendar, ”is a nice opportunity to be home before finals and the holidays, and to really get a chance to gain some momentum going into league play," Schuller explained.
Eastern also opens its Big Sky schedule at home, playing its first three league contests at Reese Court, beginning Sunday, Dec. 29 versus Portland State before welcoming Weber State and Idaho State to Cheney Thursday, Jan. 2, and Saturday, Jan. 4.
EWU will play its final home games against Northern Colorado Thursday, Feb. 7, and North Dakota Saturday, March 1. The Eagles wrap up regular season play at Idaho State and Weber State.
Eastern returns four starters and nine letter winners from last year's squad that earned a WNIT bid for the second time in school history. The Eagles finished third in the Big Sky with a 14-6 league mark and advanced to the semifinals of the Big Sky Tournament.