Tony Bozzella and Seton Hall released non-conference schedule Monday, one that sees Pirates get several early opportunities to develop much-needed experience. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
Following a second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, the next act for Seton Hall women's basketball remains packed with enough juice from start to finish.
The Pirates' non-conference schedule was released Monday morning, a slate that sees a younger team than what fans have grown accustomed to over the last three years get tested early and often, with four high-major opponents on the schedule as well as quality mid-major foes.
"It will be challenging," head coach Tony Bozzella said of his program's 11-game appetizer for Big East play, which begins on November 11 when the Pirates host Savannah State in an 11 a.m. midday tipoff. "It will be good, it will be competitive for us."
Immediately following the opener, Seton Hall travels to McCann Arena on November 15 for the first meeting in program history with perennial Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference powerhouse Marist. Although the two schools have no prior history, Bozzella is more than acquainted with the Red Foxes, having spent 11 years at Iona, and will be looking for his first career win against head coach Brian Giorgis.
A pair of high-majors are next on the ledger, beginning with Boston College on November 17. The Eagles visit South Orange for the first time as an Atlantic Coast Conference program, with their last trip to Walsh Gym having come in their final Big East season, the 2003-04 campaign. Seton Hall then travels to Minnesota on November 20, taking on the Golden Gophers in the first of two games against Big Ten opposition.
The SHU Thanksgiving Classic makes its return to the schedule after a brief hiatus, with the Pirates hosting Central Connecticut State in the four-team field on November 26. San Diego State or UT-Arlington awaits the following day, depending on the outcome. The month of November concludes with the first of three games against in-state rivals, as Princeton opens the doors to Jadwin Gymnasium for The Hall on November 30 in a reprisal of last year's battle.
Seton Hall welcomes its second ACC visitor on December 4, entertaining Wake Forest in a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. A second straight home game takes place on December 7, when LIU Brooklyn comes across the Hudson River. The matchup with the Blackbirds has two added subplots, as it was LIU that Bozzella guided to his first and the school's first NCAA Tournament back in 2001, and the Northeast Conference program boasts two former Bozzella assistants in head coach Stephanie Oliver; who was part of the Seton Hall staff before getting a well-deserved head coaching opportunity, and assistant coach Tim Gardner, Bozzella's director of basketball operations at both Iona and Seton Hall.
Two games against New Jersey institutions cap the non-conference portion of the schedule, beginning with a trip to Rutgers on December 13 in a redux of last year's epic early-season tangle in South Orange. The Scarlet Knights will no doubt be looking for revenge after the Pirates' emphatic 77-49 dismantling on November 16 of last year, with a near-sellout crowd contributing to a hostile environment for Rutgers and serving notice of which program reigned supreme in the Garden State, as chants of "this is our state!" filled the air at Walsh throughout the fourth quarter.
Seton Hall's final tuneup before Big East play occurs on December 18, when Rider comes to Walsh in a noon matinee.
2016-17 Seton Hall Women's Basketball Non-Conference Schedule
Friday, November 11: vs. Savannah State, 11 a.m.
Tuesday, November 15: at Marist, TBA
Thursday, November 17: vs. Boston College, 7 p.m.
Sunday, November 20: at Minnesota, TBA
Saturday, November 26: vs. Central Connecticut State, TBA (SHU Thanksgiving Classic)
Sunday, November 27: vs. San Diego State or UT-Arlington, 2:30 p.m. (SHU Thanksgiving Classic)
Wednesday, November 30: at Princeton, TBA
Sunday, December 4: vs. Wake Forest, 2 p.m.
Wednesday, December 7: vs. LIU Brooklyn, TBA
Tuesday, December 13: at Rutgers, TBA
Sunday, December 18: vs. Rider, Noon