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WBB faces tough gauntlet of non-conference opponents

Marquette+women%27s+basketball+released+its+non-conference+schedule+Tuesday+on+Twitter.
Marquette women's basketball released its non-conference schedule Tuesday on Twitter.

Marquette women's basketball released its non-conference schedule Tuesday on Twitter.

Marquette women's basketball released its non-conference schedule Tuesday on Twitter.

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Women’s basketball tweeted out its non-conference schedule Tuesday afternoon to far less fanfare than the men’s schedule received. However, it is perhaps even tougher than men’s basketball’s formidable schedule; the Golden Eagles will play five true road games against teams that made last year’s NCAA Tournament.

The most notable game on the non-conference docket is the final one: a December 20 date with perennial powerhouse Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. The Fighting Irish were second in the country in RPI last year and fell just short of making the Final Four after losing by a single point to the Stanford Cardinal.

Marquette will face plenty of challenges aside from the Irish; three of its other 11 non-conference games are against teams with Top 50 RPIs from last season. The first of those games is against Tennessee on November 23 as part of the Cancun Classic, a two-game tournament on Thanksgiving weekend in Mexico. A little over a week later, Marquette will travel a little closer to home to take on Green Bay, who has beaten the Golden Eagles in five consecutive contests. After taking on rival UW-Madison at home two days later, the Golden Eagles will joust with reigning NIT champions Michigan in Ann Arbor.

“Competing at Notre Dame and against Tennessee will give us an excellent test against two of the more storied programs in all of women’s basketball,” head coach Carolyn Kieger said in a release. “Additionally, playing at Michigan, Green Bay and New Mexico will give us a chance to play in three of the hardest environments in the country.”

Not only do the Golden Eagles have strong opponents on their schedule; they also don’t have many pushovers. Only two of the 12 non-conference games are against teams in the bottom 300 of RPI last season.

Marquette is coming off a season in which it went 25-8 and won the BIG EAST tournament, only to be upset in the first round of the NCAAs against Quinnipiac. All but two players – forwards McKayla Yentz and Chelsey Gibson – are returning from last year.

Click here for the full non-conference schedule.

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