LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - Siena Women's Basketball 2017-18 schedule has been released. The Saints' 29-game slate features 14 contests at home, including four doubleheaders with the Siena men at the Times Union Center.
"This non-conference schedule can be summed up with one strong word: challenging," said Head Coach Ali Jaques, who is set to enter her sixth season at the helm. "With two Big Ten schools on the schedule - opening at Penn State during their homecoming weekend, and traveling to Rutgers to play against legendary coach C. Vivian Stringer, we certainly have our work cut out for us. I believe adding St. Bonaventure as our first home game in early November will be great for our Franciscan fan base, and hopefully create some excitement around this rivalry game. Every night we face tough challenges. I sincerely hope our loyal fans notice and appreciate our efforts to get four out of five of our non-conference home games on weekends to pack the ARC! The league schedule is new this year with the 18-game schedule. Like any year we have to just focus on one opponent at a time. We are trying to get better each day as a team."
Siena's formidable non-conference schedule includes three games against teams which finished last season in the Top-100 of the RPI, two which advanced to the NCAA Tournament, and three which played in the WNIT.
The Saints tip off the program's 44th season at the Bryce Jordan Center against Big 10 opponent Penn State on Friday, Nov. 10. The Nittany Lions advanced to the Third Round of the WNIT, and boasted a 21-win campaign in 2016-17.
Siena returns to the Capital Region for their home opener two days later, when they welcome sister school St. Bonaventure to the new-look Alumni Recreation Center on Sunday, Nov. 12. Four of the Saints' five non-conference home games will be contested on either a Saturday or Sunday. Siena will also host 2017 NCAA Tournament participant Florida Gulf Coast for the sole weekday non-conference game Nov. 20 as well as 2017 WNIT participant Sacred Heart (Dec. 22) at the ARC.
The Saints are also slated for a pair of non-conference doubleheaders with the men's team at the Times Union Center. Siena hosts Howard in Albany on Thanksgiving Weekend Nov. 25, and will also square off with crosstown rival and six-time defending America East Tournament Champion UAlbany in the annual battle for the Albany Cup Dec. 9. The program's have split 20 all-time meetings, and will be facing off for the 15th time since the rivalry was rekindled in 2001.
Siena travels to 2017 WNIT participant Harvard Nov. 15, and later in the month opens a three-game road trip at Colgate Nov. 29. The Saints are also slated to play at Big Ten foe Rutgers Dec. 2, and at Hofstra Dec. 4 to close out the road trip. Siena concludes non-conference play Dec. 21 at Hartford.
The Saints open their 29th season of MAAC competition on Thursday, Dec. 28 in Hamden, Connecticut. Siena must face reigning MAAC Champions Quinnipiac in the league opener. Siena stays on the road to face Rider on Saturday, Dec. 30. The matchup against the Broncs will serve as Siena's lone regular season meeting with Rider. For the first time since 2012-13 when there were 10 member schools, the MAAC will revert back to an 18-game regular season schedule this year which means the Saints will face two opponents only once as part of the unbalanced league slate. In addition to the Broncs, Siena will play Monmouth just once this regular season on Monday, Feb. 5 at the Alumni Recreation Center.
The Saints host Iona in the league home opener on Thursday, Jan. 4 at the ARC. Siena will play the first league doubleheader with the men against Niagara on Sunday, Jan. 7 and Thursday, Jan. 18 against conference rival Marist.
Siena will make their Western New York trip on Saturday, Jan. 13 against Canisius and Monday, Jan. 15 at Niagara. The Saints have swept the Western New York trip for three straight seasons. Siena will make road trips to Iona (Jan. 20) and Saint Peter's (Feb. 1) before facing MAAC rival Marist on Saturday, Feb. 3. To end their league road trips, Siena will travel to Manhattan (Feb. 15) and Fairfield (Feb. 17).
Marquee MAAC matchup at the Alumni Recreation Center vs. Quinnipiac is set for Sunday, Feb. 11. The Bobcats are the reigning league Champions and have been in the championship game the past four seasons, winning the title twice. Siena hosts Fairfield (Jan. 22) and Manhattan (Jan. 26) for two weekday contests.
The Saints conclue regular season action at the Alumni Recreation Center against Canisius on Feb. 23 and Saint Peter's on Feb. 25.
For the fourth consecutive season as part of a five-year run, Siena and the Times Union Center will serve as the proud hosts of the 2018 MAAC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships Mar. 1 - 5. The Saints and the arena have previously hosted the MAAC Tournament 18 times over Siena's first 28 seasons in the league.
2017-18 Siena Women's Basketball season tickets are available now, and can be purchased by calling the Siena Fan Relations Management Center at (518) 487-2202 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by stopping by the fan relations office located at the Times Union Center Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. -- 4:30 p.m. Individual game tickets will go on sale to the general public in the near future. Season tickets to see the Saints play in the Alumni Recreation Center are on sale now and are $70 for adults and $30 for children 12 and under.
Siena Women's Basketball program posted a 14-16 overall record last season and tied for third in the MAAC with a 13-7 league mark. The Saints ended the season by winning 12 of their final 18 games, and the team's 13 MAAC victories were tied for the program's most conference triumphs in 14 years.