Dec. 22 vs. Villanova: This game could be touted as: The best the women’s Big 5 has to offer. Saint Joseph’s, Penn, and La Salle aren’t expected to play .500 ball, so the Wildcats will have to do. Liad Suez, a preseason all-Big East player, leads a youthful team against the Owls.
Dec. 28 vs. No. 1 Tennessee: Led by Pat Summitt, the winningest coach in college basketball history, the Lady Vols make their first trip to North Broad. On the road to their 16th Final Four appearance, the Lady Vols beat the Owls in Knoxville in a heated game. A win would solidify the Owls’ place in the national spotlight.
Jan. 19 at No. 5 Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights sent the Owls packing with a second-round win in the NCAA Tournament. Dawn Staley and Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer are among the most well-regarded coaches in the region. With both teams ranked, this game will be determined in the final minutes.
Feb. 3 vs. Richmond: First-year coach Michael Shafer takes over a team that earned an NCAA Tournament berth last season. The Spiders are in a transition year, after losing top scorer Kate Flavin to graduation. Their backcourt – seniors Saona Chapman and Araceli Gil – is among the conference’s most talented.
Feb. 17 vs. Saint Joseph’s: The Hawks represent the Owls’ last game against a Big 5 team, and they could impact the standings. The Owls are the defending Big 5 champs and have not lost to a city opponent since Dec. 19, 2003, vs. Villanova. The Hawks were no match for the Owls last season, and figure to be pushovers, again.