Six games against fellow NCAA Tournament qualifiers from a year ago, including four at Frost Arena, highlight the 2012-13 schedule for the South Dakota State University women's basketball team.
"Exciting and demanding are the two words that come to mind when I look at our completed schedule," head coach Aaron Johnston said. "Our goal is to put together a schedule that will raise both the profile and the performance of our program. I am especially pleased with the home games we have this year. Our fans will have a chance to see some exceptional competition in Frost Arena this winter."
The Jackrabbits, who have reached the NCAA Tournament each of the four seasons they have been eligible for full Division I postseason play, open the campaign by playing Women's NIT qualifier Villanova (Va.) at a tournament hosted by the University of Minnesota Nov. 10-11. The Jackrabbits will play either defending Women's Basketball Invitational champion Minnesota or Washington State to conclude the season-opening tournament.
SDSU, 24-9 a season ago, opens the home portion of its schedule the following week by hosting a pair of NCAA Tournament qualifiers. Missouri Valley Conference tournament champion Creighton (Neb.) comes to town Nov. 14, while Nebraska invades Frost Arena for a Sunday matinee on Nov. 18.
From there, the Jackrabbits will hit the road for two games around the Thanksgiving holiday, playing Nov. 21 at Northern Illinois and at Central Michigan on Nov. 23. Central Michigan qualified for the WNIT last season.
A three-game homestand to end November and open December features two more NCAA Tournament qualifiers. Marquette returns to Frost Arena to open the homestand on Nov. 28, followed by perennial NCAA Tournament qualifier Middle Tennessee on Dec. 1 as part of a doubleheader with the Jackrabbit men's squad. Eastern Michigan, which played in the same NCAA Tournament regional as SDSU last season, closes the homestand on Dec. 4.
Northern Iowa, which lost to Minnesota in the finals of the 2012 WBI, hosts the Jackrabbits on Dec. 8. After completing finals, the Jackrabbits travel to NCAA Sweet 16 qualifier Penn State on Dec. 16.
The Jackrabbits return home briefly for a Dec. 18 contest against Delaware State, then head back to the East Coast for their third contest against a BIG EAST Conference opponent - a Dec. 21 matchup at NCAA Tournament qualifier Georgetown.
SDSU begins defense of its Summit League regular season and postseason titles by hosting North Dakota State on Dec. 30. The 2012-13 campaign marks the start of mirror scheduling in which both the men's and women's teams will be in action on mostly the same nights in opposite locations - when women are playing at home, the men will be on the road.
The Jackrabbits close their first league homestand of the season with games against a pair of WNIT qualifiers — Jan. 3 against UMKC in a rematch of the Summit League tournament championship game and Jan. 6 versus the University of South Dakota.
Other home dates during league play are: Jan. 17 versus Western Illinois, Jan. 19 against IUPUI, Feb. 7 versus IPFW, Feb. 19 against Oakland and Feb. 21 against league newcomer Nebraska-Omaha.
SDSU also will host exhibition games Oct. 28 against Minnesota-Crookston and Nov. 1 versus Black Hills State.
Starting times for all games will be announced at a later date.