Women's Basketball Announces 2012-13 Schedule
July 2, 2012
EASTON, Pa. - Three teams that advanced to the 2012 NCAA Tournament and 13 games at Kirby Sports Center highlight the 2012-13 Lafayette women's basketball schedule, which was announced today by head coach Dianne Nolan.
A "summer special" season ticket package was also announced today at a discounted rate of $50. The deal, which runs through August 31, is available to any new season ticket purchases and can be purchased through GoLeopards.com or by contacting Lafayette's Athletic Ticket Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-330-5471.
"We look forward to measuring ourselves against some of the top programs in the country as well as other teams in our region," said Nolan. "Our non-league schedule will definitely prepare us for Patriot League play."
The Big East and Northeast Conferences are the most represented on the non-league slate with three teams apiece. Depending on how the matchups fall at the Fordham Holiday Classic, Lafayette may also challenge a fourth Big East club, Providence.
The Leopards open 2012-13 on Nov. 9 at Kirby Sports Center against Loyola Chicago, their first-ever opponent from the Horizon League. The Ramblers finished last season at 13-17 and are slated to return four starters and their top five scorers from that campaign.
A pair of Big East foes will follow, as Lafayette heads to South Orange, N.J. to meet Seton Hall (8-22 last season) on Nov. 11 before returning to Easton to host Villanova (19-15) on Nov. 14. The Wildcats defeated the Pirates, 61-60, in the Big East Tournament First Round last season en route to a third-round appearance in the WNIT.
Lafayette then heads to State College for the first of two meetings with a Big Ten power. Penn State, which finished last season ranked No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and No. 11 by the Associated Press, welcomes the Leopards for the first time on Nov. 18. The Lady Lions wrapped up 2011-12 in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen with a loss to No. 3/4 Connecticut to finish at 26-7.
The second annual Thanksgiving Challenge begins at Monmouth on Nov. 23 with the Leopards meeting the host Hawks then reconvenes two days later at Lehigh where Lafayette tangles with Wagner. Monmouth finished 19-13 and advanced to the Northeast Conference Tournament final last season, while the Seahawks will usher in a new era with Lisa Cermignano taking over as head coach after posting a 2-27 record in 2011-12.
The Leopards close out the first month of the season back at Kirby Sports Center for a visit from Rider on Nov. 27. The Broncs hosted and defeated Lafayette to open the 2011-12 campaign en route to their best record in over a decade at 11-19.
Lafayette will look to avenge another close loss from last season when Pittsburgh comes to College Hill on Dec. 1. The Panthers needed a second-half rally and an overtime period to sneak past the Leopards, 74-69, at the Petersen Events Center in the most recent meeting. Pittsburgh finished one its final seasons in the powerhouse Big East at 8-22.
Yet another team that eluded the Leopards in 2011-12 is up next as Lafayette travels to Philadelphia for a contest at Saint Joseph's. The Dec. 5 showdown is a rematch of last season's 65-57 win for the Hawks in Easton. Saint Joseph's advanced to the second round of the WNIT and finished with a 22-11 record.
The Leopards' longest road trip of the season brings them to Columbus, Ohio for the program's first ever meeting with Ohio State on Dec. 9. The Buckeyes closed their 2011-12 campaign in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and landed at No. 16/22 in the national rankings with an overall record of 25-7.
After a 13-day hiatus for final exams, Lafayette returns to the hardwood at Kirby Sports Center on Dec. 22 to host St. Francis (N.Y.). The Terriers are coming off of a 4-25 season and will be in their first year under the direction of John Thurston, who served as associate head coach on the sidelines in Brooklyn Heights for the last two campaigns.
The Leopards will close out 2012 in the Bronx at the Fordham Holiday Classic on Dec. 29-30. Colorado State and Providence - both of whom would be first-time opponents for the Maroon and White - are slated to appear in the tournament in addition to the host Rams. First-round matchups for the event are yet to be announced.
Lafayette concludes the non-league portion of its schedule against a pair of Ivy League foes. Brown visits College Hill on Jan. 5 in a meeting between Nolan and her former assistant, Bears' head coach Jean-Marie Burr. Brown is coming off a 16-12 season - its best finish since 2005-06. A trip to Columbia follows on Jan. 9 as the Leopards look to make it three straight wins over the Lions. Lafayette hosted and knocked off Columbia last season, and the Lions went on to finish 3-25. The Leopards have beaten at least one Ancient Eight team in each of the last seven seasons.
For the second consecutive season, the Leopards open the Patriot League slate against defending champion Navy. The clubs will meet in Annapolis on Jan. 12 and finish out the home-and-home series at Kirby Sports Center on Feb. 9.
Lafayette will play back-to-back home games on Jan 16 and 19 against league foes Army and Bucknell. The Leopards later visit West Point on Feb. 13 and head west on I-80 to Lewisburg on Feb. 16.
The longest trip on the Patriot League calendar once again falls on a Wednesday as the Maroon and White travel to the Hart Center to meet Holy Cross on Jan. 23. The Crusaders return the visit to Easton for another mid-week matchup on Feb. 20.
The Leopards' historic rivalry with Lehigh resumes at Kirby Sports Center on Jan. 26, with the 83rd all-time meeting between the clubs coming on Feb. 23 in Bethlehem.
Lafayette and Colgate split their series last season, with each team taking a victory on its own court. In 2012-13, the Raiders will play host on Jan. 30 and the return game will be held on College Hill on Feb. 27.
Two of the Leopards' most exciting games last season were a pair of matchups with American. Lafayette nearly spoiled the Eagles' perfect Patriot League season in a four-point loss at Kirby Sports Center and then fell just short of stunning them in a five-point game in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals. This coming campaign, Lafayette gets two more shots at the perennial league power with meetings in Easton on Feb. 2 and in the regular season finale in Washington, D.C. on March 2.
The Leopards return 10 active players from the 2011-12 campaign, including Patriot League Rookie of the Year Emily Homan and Danielle Fiacco, who finished ranked second in the nation with a Lafayette- and Patriot League-record 3.73 blocked shots per game. Lafayette will also incorporate three highly-touted recruits as well as forward Kelly Loughney, a former All-University Athletic Association talent from New York University who was ineligible last season due to NCAA transfer rules.
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