Michigan State Women’s Basketball Announces 2011-12 Schedule

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Spartans will be on national television at least 10 times, including one on CBS and three on ESPN2.


EAST LANSING, Mich. – In conjunction with the Big Ten Conference, the Michigan State women’s basketball program announced its schedule for the 2011-12 season on Wednesday. The Spartans will face 12 schools that appeared in the postseason last year, including six NCAA Tournament teams. At least 10 games will be on national television this season, the second most in the conference, including one on CBS, three on ESPN2 and six on Big Ten Network.


“We are always excited about entering a new season, but this year is extra special, coming off a Big Ten title,” said MSU head coach Suzy Merchant. “Again, we will be challenged from the outset of the season, leading into the always difficult Big Ten Conference. Six of our non-conference opponents won at least 19 games last season, including Miami , who enters this season as one of the top teams in the country.


“The addition of Nebraska to our league provides another tough opponent for the final three months of the season. The Big Ten returns a lot of quality student-athletes in 2011-12, building off a season which saw eight schools reach postseason play.”


A first look at the 2011-12 squad will occur with a pair of exhibition games at the Breslin Center in early November. The Spartans will host Lake Superior State on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. and follow up with Grand Valley State on Nov. 6 at 2 p.m.


The Spartans open the 2011-12 regular season on the road, traveling to New York for the Iona Tournament on Nov. 11-12. MSU will square off with BIG EAST opponent Villanova at 1:45 p.m. in the opener, before facing either Iona or North Carolina A&T on Saturday at 12 p.m.


Michigan State makes its home debut on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. with IPFW, a team who won 20 games last season. In a quick turnaround, Western Michigan comes to Breslin on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m.


The Spartans return to the road on Saturday, Nov. 19, when they travel south to face Florida Gulf Coast at 7 p.m. The Eagles are coming off a 28-4 season in which they advanced to the second round of the WNIT. MSU remains away from home before the Thanksgiving holiday, going north to Milwaukee for an 8 p.m. ET tip on Nov. 22.


After Thanksgiving, the Spartans start a string of four-straight home games with Oakland coming to the Breslin Center on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. The Golden Grizzlies, who went 20-12 last season, visit East Lansing for the first time since 2001.


Miami begins the month of December at Breslin for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The game will be MSU’s first on the Big Ten Network in 2011-12, and is set for an 8 p.m. tip on Dec. 1. The Hurricanes shared the ACC Regular Season title last season, and finished 28-5 after advancing to the NCAA Tournament Second Round.


A pair of in-state opponents close out the non-conference home schedule, beginning with Eastern Michigan on Saturday, Dec. 3. MSU plays the Eagles for the first time since 2003. EMU went 24-13 last year and advanced to the WNIT Round of 16. Detroit rounds out the homestand on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.


The Spartans make a trip to Texas for the second-annual Big 12/Big Ten Challenge on Saturday, Dec. 10. The Longhorns finished 19-14, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the fourth-straight season, last season. MSU topped Texas in the inaugural challenge last year.


The non-conference schedule concludes with a post-finals trip to Cancun , Mexico for the Caribbean Challenge. The Spartans will face Pittsburgh on Dec. 20 and Colorado State on Dec. 21.


Michigan State begins its quest for back-to-back Big Ten titles on the road at Indiana on Friday, Dec. 30. The game can be seen on Big Ten Network at 6 p.m. Michigan opens the Big Ten home schedule and begins the New Year. The Wolverines come to Breslin Center on Jan. 2. Tip time will either be 1 or 3 p.m.


The Spartans will be featured on the lone Big Ten game on CBS this season, when they travel to Penn State on Saturday, Jan. 7. MSU and PSU are set to tip at 2 p.m. The Nittany Lions advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season.


MSU faces Indiana twice in the first four conference games this season, welcoming the Hoosiers to Breslin on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. Perennial rival Ohio State follows Indiana to East Lansing on Sunday, Jan. 15 for a 4 p.m. tip on ESPN2.

A pair of road trips to Minnesota (Jan. 19; 8 p.m.) and Purdue (Jan. 23) continue the conference schedule. The game against the Boilermakers is a Big Ten Network primetime Monday night game at 7:30 p.m. The Spartans return home for a pair of nationally-televised games to conclude the month. They first face Illinois on Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. on Big Ten Network, before welcoming Penn State on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 3 p.m. on ESPN2.


The month of February begins with a trip to Ann Arbor on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 5; 3 p.m.). The Spartans then host Northwestern for the first of two meetings in the month. NU comes to Breslin on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. on Big Ten Network. MSU remains on Big Ten Network that weekend, going to Iowa for a 3 p.m. tip on Sunday, Feb. 12. The Spartans’ lone meeting with Wisconsin comes on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. in Madison .


The final homestand begins with another ESPN2 appearance, as MSU hosts Purdue at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19. Senior night will be the first conference meeting with new addition, Nebraska . The Spartans will face the Huskers for the first time in program history on Thursday, Feb. 23 at either 6 or 8 p.m.


The 2011-12 regular season concludes with a trip to Northwestern on Sunday, Feb. 26. The game time will be either 12, 2 or 4 p.m.


The 2012 Big Ten Tournament remains in Indianapolis and is scheduled for March 1-4.


Additional game times and television assignments will be announced at a later date.