BIG EAST Announces Repeat Opponents for 2011-12 Women's Basketball Season

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The BIG EAST Conference has announced repeat opponents for the league's 16 women's basketball teams, while also determining the home/away league schedule for the 2011-12 season. The format for league play is a 16-game schedule. Each team plays 16 conference games - seven opponents home only, seven opponents away only and one repeat opponent, home and away. Each member has a total of eight home and eight away games. The rationale in determining the repeat opponents is to provide additional television inventory, for competitive issues/RPI implications as well as geographic rivalries/minimizing travel costs. Only three repeat opponent matchups from the 2010-11 season remained the same: Connecticut/Notre Dame, Pittsburgh/West Virginia and Providence/Villanova. DePaul and Louisville, which both reached the Sweet 16 in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, will play each other twice this season, as will local rivals Rutgers and St. John's. "We are coming off a great season that showcased the continued growth and depth of our conference," said Danielle Donehew, BIG EAST Associate Commissioner for Women's Basketball. "There are several changes in our repeat opponent matchups this season, which we create by taking into account both competitive and geographic components." The 2010-11 BIG EAST women's basketball season included a record-breaking nine teams in the NCAA Championship and one team in the WNIT. All 10 teams won their first-round games and the BIG EAST matched a record with 19 NCAA Tournament wins. Both Notre Dame and Connecticut reached the Final Four, with the Fighting Irish reaching the national title game. The success of BIG EAST women's basketball throughout the season was evident as the league had a consistent presence in the national polls and the RPI rankings. There was overwhelming depth in the league was 10 of the 16 teams broke the 20-win plateau. For the sixth-straight season, the league posted a nonconference record in regular-season play of over .700. The league's home attendance figures continue to rise year-after-year with a combined 20 sellouts this season, a record for the conference. The BIG EAST again reached new heights in its national, regional and local television exposure. With next season's start still months away, the future remains bright for BIG EAST women's basketball. In ESPN's 64 teams to watch in 2011-12, the sports network named eight BIG EAST teams: Notre Dame (No. 3), Connecticut (No. 6), Georgetown (No. 9), Louisville (No. 11), Rutgers (No. 17), DePaul (No. 19), St. John's (No. 25) and Syracuse (No. 30).