The slate features 11 home games, four games against 2011-12 NCAA Tournament teams and three games against 2011-12 conference champions.
“With a young team, this a very challenging but exciting schedule,” said third-year NIU head coach Kathi Bennett, who recently received a contract extension through 2017.
“We are playing in the Preseason WNIT, which is loaded this year. We will definitely see what we’re made of at a very early point. We are going into Virginia, playing in their Christmas tournament and opening up against Xavier. We are playing DePaul. Our home games against South Dakota State, Loyola and Eastern Illinois – those are definitely going to get us ready for conference season.”
Prior to regular season play, NIU will host Indiana Wesleyan Monday, Nov. 5 at 7 PM CT in an exhibition tilt.
The Huskies will open the season in the Preseason WNIT at Iowa (2011-12 NCAA Team) at noon Friday, Nov. 9. Joining NIU and Iowa in the tournament are Davidson, Delaware, Duquesne, Georgetown, Grambling, Illinois State, Kennesaw State, Liberty, Memphis, Morehead State, Middle Tennessee State, North Carolina, Sacred Heart and Sam Houston State.
NIU will open its home schedule after the WNIT with a 7 p.m. contest against South Dakota State (2011-12 NCAA Team and conference champion) Wednesday, Nov. 21.
From there the Huskies will face several regional non-conference foes to prepare for the Mid-American Conference slate. NIU will face Bradley on the road Nov. 28, Loyola at home Nov. 30, and Indiana State on the road Dec. 4.
The Huskies will then face a tough road game against DePaul (2011-12 NCAA and Top 25 Team) Dec. 15 before hosting Eastern Illinois Dec. 19 and traveling to Chicago to face Illinois Chicago Dec. 22.
Just before conference season, the Huskies will participate in the 2012 Cavalier Classic in Charlottesville, Va. Dec. 28-29. NIU will face Xavier Dec. 28 and depending on the result will play the winner or loser of the Norfolk State-Virginia (Dec. 28) game on Dec. 29.
NIU will mix in one more non-conference game at Valparaiso Jan. 4 before opening the MAC schedule at Buffalo Jan. 10. The first MAC home game for the Huskies will be against Ball State Jan. 13 and the last MAC regular season game of the year will be at Western Michigan Mar. 6.
Last season, Bowling Green won the MAC regular season title and Eastern Michigan won the MAC Tournament and secured the league’s only spot in the NCAA Tournament.
The MAC Tournament first round will take place on campus sites Mar. 9 and the rest of the tournament will once again be held in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena Mar. 13-16.
“I just feel every year our non-conference schedule gets better and better, just like we want to do,” Bennett said. “We are building and the schedule is definitely going to be a sign of that.”
Following NIU’s first MAC Tournament quarterfinals appearance since 2007 last season, the Huskies will return 10 players and more than 60 percent of their points and rebounds from a team that went 14-17, 6-10 in league play in 2011-12.
For more information on NIU women’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.