The Big East has been in existence for 37 years. It is one of the first conferences to host women’s basketball and we have become witnesses to some of the greatest basketball to be played thanks to it. With this in mind, it should be no surprise to people when we see more great college basketball memories this season.
In other words, Big East women’s basketball is like poetry in motion.
On September 17, the conference released the schedule for the 2018-2019 season. Tip-off begins November 6-9 for the 10 members of the Big East Conference. Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 will air 22 games this season. Those 22 games do include the Big East Conference tournament games at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. It’ll be the sixth straight season FS1 and FS2 will televise the conference tournament.
Conference play will begin on December 29.
Here are some key games to look out for
- December 22: Notre Dame at Marquette
- December 29: Butler at Villanova
- January 4: DePaul at Marquette
- January 6: St. John’s at Butler, Georgetown at Creighton
- January 13: Providence at Seton Hall
- January 20: Butler at Creighton
- January 27: DePaul at Xavier
- February 17: Marquette at Seton Hall, DePaul at St. John’s (at Madison Square Garden)
Last season, the Big East Conference was able to experience some great basketball and the success evident, having four programs (DePaul, Marquette, Villanova, Creighton) participate in the NCAA Tournament. Along with four teams in the NCAA Tournament, the conference was able to send a trio of programs (Georgetown, Seton Hall, St. John’s) to the Women’s NIT.
Going into this season, we should expect the same when it comes to competitive games in this conference. Teams are preparing for another season of grinding out every victory in order to see the bigger prize at the end, which is a realistic show at a national championship.
Here’s a look at the 10 programs.
If DePaul is looking to repeat as Big East champions, the defense must catch up to the offense. The Blue Demons were the top ranked offense in terms of scoring and scoring margin. Last season’s champions were also second in the conference in terms of field goal percentage.
Ultimately, they were able to hold their own because they were able to outscore the opposition. All-Big East performers Kelly Campbell and Mart’e grays are returning this season to lead this group on offense along with two other starters from last season in Chante Stonewall and Ashton Millender.
Although this may be true about their offense, the defense has to see some serious improvements. The Blue Demons were sixth in the conference in scoring defense (in terms of conference games only) and last overall. Being last overall was in large part to having a tough non-conference schedule. Head coach Doug Bruno and his staff must sure up the defensive end of the floor and DePaul can repeat as Big East Champions.
Like DePaul, the Golden Eagles of Marquette were a complete team on offense. It’s the defensive end that may be an Achilles’ Heel to this program. Being ranked eighth in conference games and ninth overall in terms of scoring defense will not be beneficial if this program wants to take the crown from DePaul.
Marquette is getting back Big East Player of the Year Allazia Blockton and All-Big East performer Erika Davenport. Last season’s Co-Coach of the Year in the Big East Carolyn Kieger will have another talented roster that will need to play big time on the defensive end this season to become the Big East Champions.
Big East Co-Coach of the Year Harry Perretta will be looking to repeat his same success as last season. Villanova was a complete team and it was on display every time. The Wildcats were fourth in scoring offense and the scoring defensive team in the Big East. Defense was the Wildcats’ biggest attribute.
At one point during the season, Nova held their opponents under 70 points for 12 consecutive games, going 11-1 during that streak. Together with the play on offense, this program was able to have a breakout season last year and look for that trend to continue this season. Look for Jannah Tucker, Adrianna Hahn, Kelly Jekot and Mary Gedaka to lead this group this season.
Creighton is the fourth and final team who made the NCAA Tournament out of the Big East and this group is looking to feed off that success from last season’s campaign. The Bluejays are coming into this season strong. This team was a top 5 offense in the Big East. Unfortunately, the defensive end is something that will need more of an emphasis going into the 18-19 season.
Creighton was ranked eighth last season in terms of scoring defense. It did not allow a huge field goal percentage, though the main issue was rebounding. This team was on the lower half in terms of rebounding margin and head coach Jim Flanery will look to sure that up before the season starts. Look for All-Big East performers Jaylyn Agnew and Temi Carda, along with leading scorer Audrey Faber, to help lead the Bluejays this season.
St. John’s held its hat on the defensive end last season, ranked behind only Villanova in terms of scoring defense and was third in field goal percentage defense. Holding teams to just 61 points per game last year, the Red Storm come into this season looking to be just as stifling.
Akina Wellere, Alisha Kebbe, Qadashah Hoppie and Tiana England will be looked upon to lead this St. John’s team while head coach Joe Tartamella look to improve their offense. Last season, the Red Storm was sixth last season in scoring offense.
The Georgetown Hoyas was able to be one of the best defensive teams in the conference last season. Teams were held under 62 points last season because Georgetown had a defense that was unbearable for the opposition. Defensive Player of the Year Dionna White is returning this season to lead that domineering defense of the Hoyas.
One thing to note is that head coach James Howard will need to put an emphasis on the offensive end this season. Georgetown was averaging 64.3 points last season. That averaged was in the bottom half of the conference (ranked eighth in scoring offense). Mikayla Vinson will have to take a bigger role this season to help the Hoyas improve on the offensive end and look out for Morgan Smith to have more of an impact scoring the basketball this season.
Seton Hall was a well-balanced team last season. They have the talent and the staff to go far in the Big East every season. The Pirates lost numerous games they could have won last season and they could turn that around this season. Head coach Anthony Bozzella will be tasked to lead this roster and help improve on last season’s Women’s NIT appearance. Inja Butina, Shadeen Samuels, and Nicole Jimenez will be the leaders of this squad and will look to rally the Pirates to better results this season.
The Rest of Conference
The Butler Bulldogs were a team last season who experienced various ups and downs last season. This year, the team is looking to make a jump from the results they were able to experience, and it starts with improving on offense. Butler was averaging just under 62 points per game last season and it must be able to match the defense they were able to play. All-Big East performer Whitney Jennings and Kristen Spolyar will be seen as the leaders to help Butler improve this season.
Providence and Xavier will be needing to be vastly improved this season.
First, the Friars must be able to progress on the offensive end of the court. Providence must be able to produce more on offense. This includes sharing the basketball (11.6 assists per game) and attacking the glass more (10th in rebounding margin). All-Big East All-Freshman performer Chanell Williams will be seen in a more important role this season for head coach Jim Crowley and the Friars. Look for Jovana Nogic and Maddie Jolin to be improved leaders for Providence as well.
Next, Xavier has to have a better output on offense. The Musketeers were outscored by the opposition last season by 7.4 points per game last season and that was the worst scoring margin in the conference. All-Big East All-Freshman performer Aaliyah Dunham will be a big-time player for Xavier this season due to the loss of abundant players from last season.
The Big East conference is going to be a vastly improved conference this season and the players are looking to make a larger impact. Furthermore with the coverage on Fox Sports, the Big East women will be seen everywhere and we will be witnesses to numerous spirited basketball games this season.
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