WEST POINT – A meeting with national finalist Rutgers in Madison Square Garden, 14 regular season home games and the Black Knight’s right to host the first two rounds of Patriot League Tournament action at Christl Arena in March make for a more than ambitious 2007-08 schedule for the Army women’s basketball team. The Black Knights get things underway on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. as the team welcomes St. John’s to the banks of the Hudson, starting a string of four straight home contests for head coach Dave Magarity and his club.
“We have an extremely challenging non-conference schedule to tackle, and the Patriot League slate will not be any easier,” Magarity said. “I think the league figures to be more balanced than in years past. We will have to play our best basketball, but I think our non-league competition will prepare us well for that.”
The Black Knight’s 29-game regular season slate (15 non-conference, 14 Patriot League) features tilts with three 2007 NCAA participants in MEAC Champion Delaware State, Rutgers and Connecticut. Army will spend the bulk of November playing in front of a home crowd at Christl Arena, squaring off against St. John’s, St. Francis (N.Y.) (Nov. 18) and Drexel (Nov. 20). After taking a year off, the Black Knights renew their rivalry with academy rival Air Force on Friday, Nov. 23, to punctuate the home stand.
A trip to the Big Apple breaks up the month when the Black Knights face Columbia on Sunday, Nov. 25, before returning to West Point to close out November against Brown three days later.
Army travels to Delaware State on Saturday, Dec. 1, and will travel to New Hampshire on Dec. 4 to finish up a home-and-home series with the Wildcats. The Black Knights will play the Scarlet Knights in the first game of a women’s doubleheader on Saturday, Dec. 8, at noon in the second annual Maggie Dixon Classic. The event, which made its debut last year at West Point, remembers the vibrant life of former Army head coach Maggie Dixon, who passed away suddenly just a month after leading Army to its first Patriot League title in 2006. Rutgers’ “Cinderella” run to the NCAA finals fell short of a championship when the Scarlet Knights dropped a 59-46 decision to perennial powerhouse Tennessee in Cleveland, Ohio. Duke and Pittsburgh are set to play at 2 p.m.
“I’m excited about taking the team to The Garden for the Maggie Dixon Classic,” Magarity said. “It’s an outstanding doubleheader. Rutgers will be a tough match-up for us, but presents a great opportunity for us to improve.”
The team then heads to the Garden State to face Rider (Dec. 12), alma mater of current Army assistant coach Lauren Thomer, before breaking for the holidays.
The Black Knights resume play with a two-game swing through Connecticut, beginning with Central Connecticut State on Saturday, Dec. 29. The Black Knights then ring in New Year’s Eve at the Hartford Civic Center, as the team squares off with 2007 Big East Champion UConn. The Huskies played their way to the Elite Eight last March before a disappointing loss to Louisiana State University.
“I am very pleased to be renewing our series with UConn on New Year’s Eve,” Magarity noted. “Together with Rutgers, we have the chance to play two of the top programs in the country.”
Army heads south to open 2008 at UMES (Jan. 3), prior to returning to West Point for the next two weeks. Tilts with the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (Jan. 5) and Wagner (Jan. 9) precede the Black Knights’ Patriot League opener against Colgate on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 1 p.m. The Patriot League schedule is set to be played in a Wednesday-Saturday format unless otherwise specified.
Four days later, defending champion Holy Cross rolls into town before the Black Knights hit the road to Lehigh (Jan. 19), American (Jan. 23) and Navy (Jan. 26). Army caps January when it hosts Lafayette at West Point on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Bucknell follows suit on Saturday, Feb. 3, marking the end of the first round of Patriot League play.
A trip to Hamilton, N.Y., and Colgate (Feb. 9) kick starts the second half of conference action, while the team stays on the road to visit Holy Cross (Feb. 13) the following Wednesday. Three straight home games against Lehigh (Feb. 16), American (Feb. 20) and Navy (Feb. 23) finishes the team’s regular-season home slate. Away contests at Lafayette (Feb. 27) and Bucknell (March 1) will serve as a final tune-up before Army hosts its second Patriot League Tournament at West Point.
The last time Army served as the Patriot League Tournament host, the team punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament with its first conference title in 2005-06. The event is a full-team field with the quarterfinals set for Saturday, March 8, and semifinals on Sunday, March 9. The championship is slated for Wednesday, March 12, at the site of the highest remaining seed and will air to a national audience on ESPNU.