The Illini have 17 home dates at Assembly Hall this season starting with the Orange and Blue scrimmage on Oct. 29.
Aug. 24, 2006
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois announced its 2006-07 women's basketball schedule on Wednesday. The Illini are slated for 17 home dates, including the annual Orange and Blue Scrimmage and a pair of preseason tune-ups. As usual, the schedule will be challenging as it includes 14 games away from Assembly Hall and 10 games against six teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago - Florida and Iowa once each, and Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Purdue twice each.
"The 2006-2007 schedule is very challenging and will provide us with many opportunities to showcase our talents on the basketball court," said head coach Theresa Grentz. "There are 14 home games and each one will be a terrific chance for the fans to see a young, enthusiastic group that is ready to make some noise in the Big Ten. The goal is the NCAA tournament, and this schedule should helps us achieve that goal."
The Illini kick-off the preseason schedule Sunday, Oct. 29, with the Orange & Blue scrimmage at Assembly Hall. They will then host Clarion (Nov. 3) and Lewis University (Nov. 7) for exhibition tune-ups before opening the regular season at home against Butler on Nov. 12.
Unlike last season's road-heavy early season schedule (seven of the first eight away from home), this year the Illini will be in the friendly confines of Assembly Hall for four of their first six games.
In recent years, Illinois has taken a weeklong trip during the week of Thanksgiving to locations like Hawaii, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York and, last season, Colorado. However, since the team took a tour to Italy in late May, it will be staying at home with games against Northern Colorado (Nov. 22) and St. Joseph's (Nov. 25) during Thanksgiving week this year. Both games are return trips from the last two Thanksgiving trips to Philadelphia and Colorado.
The Lexus December to Remember Classic will be on Dec. 9 with the women facing Rhode Island and the Illini men taking on Illinois-Chicago in the annual doubleheader at the United Center in Chicago.
The Big Ten season opens Thursday, Dec. 28, with the Orange and Blue hosting Penn State. The 16-game conference slate includes four new single-game opponents in Penn State, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Iowa. The Illini will play Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Michigan State and Minnesota twice each in home-and-home sets. The Big Ten Tournament will once again be at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, March 1-5.
Illinois returns three starters from last year's team, which reached the postseason for the ninth time in the last 10 years. Seniors Erin Wigley and Audrey Tabon will lead a squad that returns five of its top six scorers from a year ago and has added two talented newcomers in junior college guard Rebecca Harris and freshman post player Jenna Smith.
"The summer trip to Italy really brought the team together and built a foundation for us to work from as we head into the season," said Grentz. "Our youth has gotten a little older and a little more seasoned, and it's easy to feel the excitement around the team."
Game times and television coverage will be announced as the information becomes available. Season tickets go on sale September 8 at the UI Athletic Ticket Office (217-333-3470) or at fightingillini.com. Like last season, all UIUC students will get in free with a valid I-Card.