LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. -- Siena Women's Basketball Head Coach Ali Jaques has announced the Saints non-conference schedule for the 2016-17 season. The nine-game non-conference slate features four home games and five contests against teams that competed in the postseason last year including the NCAA (Syracuse) and WNIT (Florida Gulf Coast) runners-up.
"This non-conference schedule will definitely challenge our team and provide some great home contests for our fans to enjoy the upgrades to the ARC," said Jaques, who is sent to enter her fifth season at the helm. "Opening at Syracuse, traveling with our men's team to Florida Gulf Coast and playing rival UAlbany on the road will also test our team and prepare us for conference road play. We have a lot of work to do as a team to be able to compete but I think we are up for these challenges."
Siena's challenging non-conference slate includes four teams which finished in the top 100 of the RPI, two NCAA tournament teams and three squads which advanced to the WNIT. Four foes won 20 or more games last year, including two teams which eclipsed 30 victories.
Siena tips off the programs 43rd season at the Carrier Dome against 2016 NCAA Tournament runner-up Syracuse on Mon., Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. The Orange won a program record 30 games and were ranked third in the final USA Today Coaches Poll.
Siena christens the new-look Alumni Recreation Center with its home opener on Sat., Nov. 19 against Hartford. The Saints are also scheduled to host Colgate (Nov. 22), New Hampshire (Dec. 6) and 2016 WNIT participant Harvard (Dec. 21) at the ARC in non-conference action.
For the 20th time and 14th since the rivalry was rekindled in 2001, Siena will battle cross-town rival and five-time defending America East Tournament Champion UAlbany in the front end of the Albany Cup doubleheader on Nov. 27 at 3 p.m. at SEFCU Arena. The Saints lead the rivalry 10-9, although the Great Danes have won the last six meetings.
Siena will take part in a second doubleheader with the men's team when the squads travel to Fort Myers, Florida to battle FGCU on Dec. 9. The Eagles posted a 33-6 record last season in capturing the Atlantic Sun regular season championship, and advanced to the WNIT Final. FGCU has averaged 27 wins in its nine years since joining the Division I ranks, while advancing to the NCAA Tournament three times and the WNIT on six occasions.
The Saints other non-conference road games include contests at 2016 NEC Regular Season Champion and WNIT participant Sacred Heart (Dec. 12) and at Northeastern (Dec. 28).
Siena is set to return four starters, 10 letterwinners and 88% of its scoring from last year's team which finished 14-18 and 10-10 in the MAAC.