DePaul Announces Women's Basketball Schedule

CHICAGO – An ambitious schedule awaits the 2008-09 edition of the DePaul women's basketball team as the Blue Demons open the season in one of basketball's toughest venues followed by a challenging DePaul Invitational field, a trip to the defending national champions and an always difficult BIG EAST campaign.

Overall, the Blue Demons see 18 teams that played in the postseason on the 2008-09 slate. A total of 13 squads qualified for the NCAA Tournament field in 2008 and another five teams played in the WNIT, including WNIT Champion Marquette. DePaul takes on its neighbors to the North in the home finale on Feb. 28 at McGrath Arena.

Following a pair of exhibition games against Saint Xavier and the University of Chicago, DePaul travels to The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M., for the Basketball Travelers Tip-Off Tourney hosted by New Mexico. The round-robin style tournament features the Lobos, Blue Demons, Idaho State and Alcorn State. DePaul faces Idaho State in the opener on Nov. 15 before playing Alcorn State on Sunday and New Mexico on Monday.

"Our schedule is one of the toughest schedules in the country," said Bruno. "Our non-conference schedule features a great, opening-season tournament at the University of New Mexico. New Mexico is one of the toughest places to play in the country. We have three games there with Idaho State, Alcorn State and New Mexico. We follow that up with our great DePaul Invitational with Southern, Duke and Hartford. All three of those teams will be formidable. Illinois State won The Valley the last two years and is a very exceptional team with everybody returning. We follow that up with a great trip to the University of Tennessee. Then our local rivals which include Loyola, University of Illinois-Chicago, Northwestern and Northern Illinois."

The Blue Demons return to McGrath Arena for the annual DePaul Invitational, Nov. 21-22. DePaul welcomes Southern, Hartford and Duke to Chicago for the two-day tournament. Hartford and Duke face off in the first game Friday night followed by DePaul and Southern. The winners play on Saturday in the championship game following the consolation contest. Duke is one of seven teams on the DePaul schedule the reached the NCAA Sweet 16 a year ago and Hartford advanced to the NCAA's second round last season with a win over Syracuse.

The opening month of the season concludes with a Nov. 28 game against Illinois State before a trip to Knoxville, Tenn., for a Sunday afternoon contest at Tennessee. The Lady Vols are coming off their second straight NCAA Championship after defeating Stanford in the 2008 title game.

December sees four home games at McGrath Arena and three road trips. The month opens against Southern Illinois on Dec. 5 before a game at Loyola-Chicago two days later and a Dec. 10 trip to Missouri State. Northwestern take the short drive from Evanston to Lincoln Park on Dec. 14 before Northern Illinois comes to McGrath Arena on Dec. 18. The Blue Demons play at Illinois-Chicago on Dec. 22 and close the non-conference schedule against Green Bay on Monday, Dec. 29.

DePaul jumps into the gauntlet that is the BIG EAST schedule on Saturday, Jan. 3 at Louisville before returning to Chicago for a Tuesday night game against Notre Dame. DePaul and Notre Dame play the home-and-home series again this season with the return trip to the Joyce Center on Sunday, Feb. 8.

The league schedule takes the Blue Demons on the road at Pittsburgh on Jan. 10 followed by a game at Connecticut's Gampel Pavilion on Jan. 13. Following the two-game trip, DePaul hosts Providence on Saturday, Jan. 17 before Rutgers comes to Chicago a week later. Rutgers ends a six-game stretch for the Blue Demons that features a Final Four team in Connecticut, an Elite 8 team in Rutgers and three teams – Louisville, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh – that reached the Sweet 16 last season.

"The BIG EAST is a great league," said Bruno. "If you can finish in the top four, you can win the national championship. Finish in the top eight and you have a great chance to go to the NCAA Tournament. That said, our opening of the BIG EAST schedule is unbelievable."

DePaul's BIG EAST schedule doesn't get any easier with a trip to St. John's on Jan. 27 preceding a home game against West Virginia on Jan. 31. A total of 12 BIG EAST teams played in the postseason in 2008. Over DePaul's final 17 games starting with Green Bay on Dec. 29, the Blue Demons play 13 times against schools that were either in the NCAA Tournament or WNIT last season.

Georgetown visits McGrath Arena on Feb. 4 before the return trip to Notre Dame and a home contest against Seton Hall on Feb. 11. The BIG EAST schedules closes with three of the final five games on the road starting at Villanova on Feb. 13. The trip continues at Syracuse three days later before USF travels from Tampa to Chicago on Feb. 24. The home schedule concludes against Marquette on Saturday, Feb. 28 and two days later the regular-season slate finishes at Cincinnati. All 16 BIG EAST teams venture to Hartford, Conn., for the 2009 BIG EAST Championship, Mar. 6-10.

The Blue Demons return eight players and two starters from last season's 20-win team and look to make the program's seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2008-09. For information on purchasing season tickets, call (773) 325-SLAM. Season ticket packages start at just $99.

2008-09 Schedule

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