Match-ups with 15 opponents that advanced to last year’s postseason, 17 home games in John Paul Jones Arena, a rematch of an NCAA Tournament second round overtime thriller and a trip to face the defending NCAA Champions highlight the 2008-09 Virginia women’s basketball schedule, released Tuesday.
Virginia will make at least six television appearances, five on the Regional Sports Network and one on ESPN2.
“This is one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the history of our program,” head coach Debbie Ryan said. “We felt it was important to challenge our players to reach a new level in preparation for the postseason. Our ACC schedule is always tough in terms of competition and match-ups.”
Virginia tips off the new season at home on Nov. 14 against High Point, following a preseason exhibition on Nov. 7. A two-game road swing to Knoxville, Tenn., to face 2008 NCAA Champion Tennessee on Nov. 17 and to Norfolk, Va., on Nov. 21 for a rematch of the 2008 NCAA Tournament second round overtime match-up at Old Dominion follows. The Cavaliers return home to face Colorado on Nov. 24. Colorado head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller spent her playing days as a guard at Virginia (1986-90) and last year led the Buffalos to the semifinals of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).
A trip to Milwaukee for Marquette’s WBCA Classic is up next for UVa from Nov. 28-30. The Cavaliers face Utah (Nov. 28), the host Golden Eagles (Nov. 29) and Gonzaga (Nov. 30) at the Al McGuire Center. Utah earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament last year, while Marquette was the WNIT Champion and Gonzaga was a WNIT participant.
In the second annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Virginia travels to Illinois on Dec. 4 for a contest at Assembly Hall. Virginia leads the series with the Fighting Illini, 3-0, and the teams last met in the 2003 NCAA Tournament with UVa earning a 72-56 victory.
Home non-conference tilts with East Carolina (Dec. 6), Monmouth (Dec. 18) and Mount St. Mary’s (Dec. 21) take the Cavaliers into the holiday break. They return to John Paul Jones Arena on Dec. 28-29 for the Marriott Cavalier Classic. Virginia welcomes Rider, Louisiana Tech and UMBC to JPJA for the Sunday-Monday tournament.
Virginia rings in the new year on Jan. 2 with a home match-up against Southeastern Conference foe Georgia, which advanced to the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers then host St. Francis (Pa.) on Jan. 5 before beginning Atlantic Coast Conference play at home on Jan. 11 vs. Wake Forest.
Conference contests at North Carolina (Jan. 16), at Virginia Tech (Jan. 21), vs. Florida State (Jan. 23), at Clemson (Jan. 26) and against Maryland (Jan. 30) follow, before the Cavaliers play their last non-conference game against Longwood at home on Feb. 1.
Duke (Feb. 5) and Virginia Tech (Feb. 8) visit John Paul Jones Arena in early February before UVa hits the road for games at Maryland (Feb. 12) and NC State (Feb. 15). The contest against the Wolfpack will air on ESPN2.
The Cavaliers return home against Miami (Feb. 19) and Boston College (Feb. 22) before wrapping up the regular season on the road at Florida State (Feb. 24) and Georgia Tech (March 1).
The 2009 ACC Tournament is scheduled for March 5-8 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.