Bowling Green, Ky. — A trip to the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament, a minimum of 12 games against 2007 postseason teams and at least 14 home games highlight the 2007-08 Western Kentucky University women’s basketball schedule which was released on Thursday.
Outside of the WNIT field, seven WKU’s 10 nonconference games will put them up against teams that also reached the postseason last year. That includes four NCAA Tournament teams (George Washington, Vanderbilt, Louisville and North Carolina) and three other schools that joined the Lady Toppers in the 2007 Postseason WNIT (Southern Illinois, Kentucky and South Dakota State). The Lady Toppers will also face off with two NCAA Tournament teams in Sun Belt Conference play with Middle Tennessee and Louisiana-Lafayette. Arkansas State joined WKU in last year’s Postseason WNIT field
“Again this year, I feel our schedule shows we are willing to go up against the best and play anywhere against anybody,“ said Lady Topper head coach Mary Taylor Cowles, who is set to begin her sixth season at the helm of the program. “These young ladies love to go out and compete against the best every time we step on the floor, and that is the kind of competition we need in order to prepare ourselves for the ultimate goal of NCAA Tournament play.”
“Coach Cowles and her staff have done another outstanding job lining up a nonconference schedule filled with nationally recognized programs,” said WKU Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig. “Our goal annually is to compete among the nation's elite, and we have accomplished that goal again for 2007-08.”
The season will open on Nov. 9 when WKU hosts East Tennessee State in the first game of the WNIT. This year’s 16-team tournament has a three-game guarantee with winners continuing on in the traditional bracket format. Losing teams in first and second round games will move to a consolation bracket to fullfil the three-game format.
An opening-round win could set up a potential matchup with Notre Dame in the second round, with 2006 national champion Maryland also sitting in WKU’s half of the bracket. The Fighting Irish and Terripans join Delaware, Delaware State, TCU, Michigan State and LSU as teams in the field that played in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
Following their run in the WNIT, the Lady Toppers return to Diddle Arena to host long-time rival Louisiana Tech on Nov. 20 before heading to Washington, D.C. for the Thanksgiving weekend. While in the nation’s capital, WKU will take part in the George Washington Thanksgiving Invitational where it will face off with Southern Illinois on Nov. 23 and the host Colonials — an NCAA Sweet Sixteen team from a year ago — on Nov. 24.
After a home game against Morehead State on Nov. 27, WKU’s next five games will come against postseason clubs as they visit Kentucky (Nov. 30), South Dakota State (Dec. 3) and Vanderbilt (Dec. 6) before returning home to host Louisville on Dec. 16. The Lady Toppers will then travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for a Dec. 20 date against a North Carolina team that is coming off back-to-back Final Four appearances. It will mark the first time the Lady Toppers have meet up with a team coming off a Final Four appearances since 2002, when they traveled to Missouri State the year after the Lady Bears reached the national semifinals.
The Lady Toppers begin their quest for a Sun Belt Conference championship on Dec. 22 when they open conference play at Troy. After opening the post-Christmas schedule with a nonconference home game against Missouri State on Dec. 29, WKU jumps into the bulk of conference play when it hosts defending league champion Middle Tennessee on Jan. 3. The rest of the home Sun Belt schedule includes matchups with Florida International (Jan. 13), Florida Atlantic (Jan. 17), Arkansas State (Jan. 26), UALR (Jan. 30), Denver (Feb. 2), Troy (Feb. 14), South Alabama (Feb. 20) and Louisiana-Monroe (Feb. 23).
WKU will visit USA (Jan. 6), ULM (Jan. 10), Louisiana-Lafayette (Jan. 20), New Orleans (Jan. 24), North Texas (Feb. 6), MTSU (Feb. 17), FIU (Feb. 27) and FAU (March 1) in league play.
For the second straight year, the Sun Belt Conference Tournament will begin with opening-round games on campus sites on March 5. The top three teams in the league receiving byes to the quarterfinals, and will join the five first-round winners in Mobile, Ala., for the remainder of the tournament from March 8-11.
A $25 season ticket for the 2007-08 Lady Topper basketball season. For more information, contact the WKU ticket office at (270) 745-3444 or 1-800-5 BIG RED.
“We have witnessed an outpouring of support for our new $25 season ticket concept,” added Selig. “The price point is designed so families with children, and those on fixed incomes or limited entertainment budgets can count on four months of outstanding entertainment without taking a second mortgage on their home. The Lady Topper sixth man club has been quietly conducting a grass roots sales campaign with these $25 season tickets and we have already sold over 400 for this season. As we now go public with this terrific opportunity, we anticipate selling as many as several thousand given the outstanding value and location of these tickets.”