POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - The Marist Athletics department has released the team's 2012-13 non-conference schedule, with this season's slate featuring teams from five of the six power conferences. Overall, five of the 11 teams on the schedule played in last year's NCAA Tournament, and four others participated in the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).
"We try to make our non-conference schedule challenging," Head Coach Brian Giorgis said. "Last year we had the sixth toughest non-conference schedule in the country and this year seems to be a lot tougher with Princeton coming here, and Hofstra, as well as the five BCS teams. It will be challenging and we have a pretty young squad this year, so we have to hope we can weather the storm. But mostly we have to hope that we can learn from these games and get better so when it really counts in January and February and early March, we are ready to defend our MAAC championship."
The Red Foxes will open their season at home on Friday, Nov. 9 against Vermont of the America East. The most recent meeting between the teams came in the 2010-11 season, when the Red Foxes beat the Catamounts 76-49 at their own tournament.
Marist's second game will come against another America East foe when the Red Foxes travel to Hartford on Tuesday, Nov. 13. Last season the Hawks were third in their conference with a 10-6 mark and 19-13 overall record, qualifying for the WNIT. This is the sixth consecutive year the teams have met, with Marist winning the last four.
The first matchup with a 2012 NCAA Tournament team occurs when Princeton visits McCann Arena on Saturday, Nov. 17. The Tigers went 14-0 in the Ivy League and were a #9 seed in the tournament last year, falling 67-64 against eighth-seeded Kansas State. Marist fell at Princeton in the third game of the season last year, 68-51.
Over Thanksgiving break, the Red Foxes will take part in the 2012 U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam at University of the Virgin Islands. Over three straight days, Marist will take on three schools from power conferences in Purdue, Connecticut and Wake Forest. Purdue won the Big Ten last year and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as a number four seed. The Boilermakers reached a national ranking as 12th in the AP Poll. Wake Forest advanced to the second round of the WNIT. The Red Foxes have never faced Purdue or Wake Forest in their history.
Marist has played Connecticut, who was a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season and advanced to the national semifinals before falling to Notre Dame, three times in their history, dropping all three games. In their most recent matchup, and the only time the two teams have met in Giorgis' tenure, the Red Foxes fell to the Huskies, 71-45 in the Preseason WNIT on Nov. 12, 2005. The Huskies are coached by Geno Auriemma, who has the highest winning percentage amongst active Division I coaches at .862 (804-129). Giorgis is currently fourth on the list with a .775 percentage (251-73).
The Red Foxes return to Poughkeepsie for a contest with Hofstra on Wednesday, Nov. 28. Last year the Pride defeated Marist 71-69 at their holiday tournament on Long Island when video replay showed Casey Dulin's tying layup was after the final buzzer. Hofstra went on to a 19-12 overall record and finished fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) with an 11-7 mark. The Pride qualified for the WNIT.
The team will kick off December by travelling to perennial contender Oklahoma on Sunday, Dec. 2. The Sooners finished second in the Big 12 last season behind national champion Baylor with a 21-13 overall record, and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as a sixth seed. The Red Foxes have lost all three meetings with Oklahoma, but most recently took the Sooners, then ranked 16th in the country, to overtime in an 80-71 loss in Poughkeepsie on Dec. 9, 2009.
Boston University will come to Marist on Saturday, Dec. 8 for the Red Foxes' only home game of the month. Last season in Boston, the Red Foxes dropped a 49-36 decision on Dec. 10. The Terriers went on to win the America East regular season crown with a 15-1 conference record and 23-9 overall, and qualified for the WNIT.
Following a break for final exams, the Red Foxes return to the road for a contest at Yale on Thursday, Dec. 20. The Bulldogs visited Poughkeepsie last year for the second game of the season, and Marist came away with a 78-64 victory. Yale finished third in the Ivy League with a 16-12 overall record and 8-6 mark in conference.
The non-conference schedule closes with a trip to the University of Kentucky to play the Wildcats on Sunday, Dec. 30. The two teams have only one previous meeting, with Kentucky winning 96-65 in the first game of the 1993-94 season. The 2012 Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season champion Wildcats went 28-7 on the season, earning a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Elite 8 before falling to UConn. Marist won its first two games against SEC opponents last year, defeating Auburn 69-61 in December and Georgia 76-70 in the NCAA First Round.
Marist's conference schedule will be announced at a later date. The Red Foxes went 26-8 overall last season and 17-1 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), winning their ninth straight regular season crown. They defeated Fairfield 61-35 in the MAAC championship game to win their seventh straight MAAC title and eighth in the past nine years. They entered the NCAA Tournament as a #13 seed and upset fourth-seeded Georgia 76-70 for the program's fifth postseason victory.
2012 Women's Basketball Non-Conference Schedule
Friday, Nov. 9 - VERMONT
Tuesday, Nov. 13 - at Hartford
Saturday, Nov. 17 - PRINCETON
PARADISE JAM TOURNAMENT (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands)
Thursday, Nov. 22 - Purdue
Friday, Nov. 23 - Connecticut
Saturday, Nov. 24 - Wake Forest
Wednesday, Nov. 28 - HOFSTRA
Sunday, Dec. 2 - at Oklahoma
Saturday, Dec. 8 - BOSTON UNIVERSITY
Thursday, Dec. 20 - at Yale
Sunday, Dec. 30 - at Kentucky
Home Games in CAPS