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Women’s schedule starts soft, finishes strong

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Photo by Danny Alfonzo/daniel.alfonzo@marquette.edu

Photo by Danny Alfonzo/daniel.alfonzo@marquette.edu

The Marquette women’s basketball team released its full Big East schedule Thursday afternoon. The team will be replacing its head coach and top talent from a year ago, but got a favorable start to the conference season.

Carolyn Kieger’s club will kick the season off against two of last season’s Big East bottom-feeders. Marquette tips off the conference slate at home against Xavier Dec. 30 then travels to Washington D.C. to face Georgetown. Last season, the Hoyas and Musketeers finished eighth and ninth in the conference, respectively.

The competition stiffens up quickly, as the Golden Eagles face Villanova on the road and DePaul at home in back-to-back games against top-3 BIg East teams from last season. The Golden Eagles were swept by the Wildcats in the regular season, but defeated them in the Big East tournament at the Allstate Arena when it really mattered.

DePaul is the class of the conference year in and year out, but Marquette found a way to pull out an upset victory at the Al McGuire Center last season. The teams re-matched in the second round of the tournament, with DePaul getting the better of Marquette, 100-90, thus ending the team’s NCAA Tournament hopes.

The DePaul game also marks a particularly interesting stretch for Marquette, during which the team plays eight out of 12 games in Milwaukee. The focal point of this stretch is an unprecedented four-game home stand to close out January. Marquette will face cellar dweller Providence, Creighton, then rematches against Villanova and Georgetown.

Marquette will have a brutal finish to the season, as their last home game of the year is on Feb. 15 against Seton Hall. The Golden Eagles conclude the season with a daunting three-game road trip against Providence, Creighton and DePaul. The Friars nearly knocked off Marquette in Rhode Island last season and the Bluejays and Blue Demons will likely be fighting for a spot in the upper echelon of the conference.

The 2014-15 schedule starts off nicely, but ends on a difficult note. Marquette will need to take advantage of the four games in a row in its home gym if it wants to challenge for a spot in the top-four of the conference. If the Golden Eagles can take two of three in their season-ending road trip, it could spur a big run in the Big East tournament.

Marquette plays eight of its nine conference home games on a Friday or Sunday, with the home opener being the lone exception. Three of Marquette’s games will be televised on Fox Sports 1, but the only televised home game is against St. John’s in February.

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