The defense of a championship starts (unofficially) on Nov. 8.
That’s when the women’s basketball team returns to the Smith Center for an exhibition game against Christopher Newport, the team announced Wednesday after the Atlantic 10 conference revealed its 2015-16 women’s basketball schedules.
GW will play 13 teams coming off postseason appearances last season including Sweet Sixteen teams Iowa (Nov. 27) and Stanford (Nov. 21) and league foe Dayton (Jan. 10, Feb. 14), which reached the Elite Eight last year. They will play 12 teams who made the RPI Top 100 last season.
“Once again we have a very demanding schedule with so many teams with postseason experience,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said in a release.
The Colonials play a total of 28 games, plus the exhibition contest, between Nov. 8 and Feb. 27. The A-10 championship will be played from March 2-6. The season officially begins on Nov. 14 at home against Grambling State.
At minimum, five of those games will be on national television. CBSSN will televise the team’s A-10 opener at Saint Joseph’s on Jan. 3 as well as the Jan. 10 game at Dayton, ESPNU will broadcast games at Duquesne (Jan. 17) and against Dayton at home (Feb. 14), and NBCSN will take the conference home-opener against Rhode Island (Jan. 6).
“I think it speaks volumes about GW women’s basketball and the level of play in the Atlantic 10 that five of our conference games will be nationally televised this season,” Tsipis said in a release. “It’s a tribute to how hard our players work to get to where we are as a program.”
Over Thanksgiving break, the Colonials will travel to Cedar Park, Texas to take part in the inaugural Lone Star Showcase, a three-day tournament from Nov. 26-28 where they will play Houston, Iowa and Wright State. It will be part of the most difficult stretch of the schedule, where the team plays six postseason opponents in seven games from Nov. 17-Dec. 3.
The Colonials set a record in wins with a 29-4 overall mark last season and won both the A-10 regular season and tournament championships. The team was ranked in the top 25 for most of the year and made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008.