SAINT LEO, Fla. – Just days after the start of basketball season, Saint Leo head women's basketball coach Nikki Jessee announced her squad's 2013-14 regular season schedule. In total, the Lions will compete in 26 contests while hosting 15 home games.
Cramming the start of their schedule with top-ranked opponents and regional rivals, the Lions will round out regular season play with their normal 16-game conference schedule.
"We're excited about the competitiveness of our schedule this year, which includes 23 regional games out of the 26 total games," says Jessee. " Our trip to Alaska should put our players in an entirely different element, hopefully making them tougher as we begin conference play right after that trip. With 10 returners from last season, we expect them to be somewhat seasoned and experienced. Our non-conference schedule should test us early so we know where we are in our team's development."
Saint Leo will kick off the year on Saturday, November 9, when they open up their season with a home contest against the visiting Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish (2:00 p.m.). Two days later, the Lions will travel to St. Augustine to face Flagler in their first road game of the year (Nov. 11, 7:00 p.m.).
The following Thursday and Friday, Saint Leo will host its annual Saint Leo Classic Tournament, where they will take on St. Augustine's (Nov. 14, 8:00 p.m.) and Webber International (Nov. 15, 2:00 p.m.).
Back-to-back-to-back home contests will round out the month of November, as Saint Leo hosts Northwood (Nov. 21, 7:00 p.m.), UPR-Bayamon (Nov. 26, 5:30 p.m.), and regional foe Valdosta State (Nov. 30, 2:00 p.m.) on their home court in the Marion Bowman Activities Center.
To begin the month of December, the Lions will host Flagler (Dec. 3, 7:00 p.m.) for a regional home game before heading on the road for three away games. In fact, Saint Leo will travel to Winter Park, Fla. to compete in their only Sunshine State Conference game of the 2013 calendar year, when they face the Rollins Tars to kick of SSC action.
For their second and final tournament of the regular season, Jessee's squad will travel to Anchorage, Alaska to compete in the AT&T Hoops Classic. While there, the Lions will face Brevard College (Dec. 20, 5:00 p.m.) and another school that has yet be determined (Dec. 21, 2:00 p.m.).
Upon their return home, Saint Leo will host Florida Tech (Jan. 4, 2:00 p.m.) to kick off their final stretch of SSC contests. Shortly after, the Lions will face Tampa (Jan. 8, 5:30 p.m.) and Barry (Jan. 11, 4:00 p.m.) in a two-game road series, before returning home for two contests against Florida Southern (Jan. 15, 5:30 p.m.) and Eckerd (Jan. 22, 5:30 p.m.). The Lions will then round out the month of January by traveling to south Florida for road games against Lynn (Jan. 25, 2:00 p.m.) and Nova Southeastern (Jan. 29, 5:30 p.m.).
The start of February will signal the Lions' second trek through the conference schedule, as Saint Leo jumpstarts the month with a home game against Rollins (Feb. 1, 2:00 p.m.), followed by a trip to Melbourne, Fla. to battle Florida Tech (Feb. 5, 5:30 p.m.).
After two home contests against Barry (Feb. 8, 2:00 p.m.) and Tampa (Feb. 12, 5:30 p.m.), the Lions will take a local road trip to Lakeland, Fla. to face off with Florida Southern. The final two games of February will feature a home game against Lynn (Feb. 22, 2:00 p.m.) and a trip to Eckerd (Feb. 26, 5:30 p.m.).
In the final contest of the 2013-14 regular season and the Lions' senior day, Saint Leo will host Nova Southeastern (Mar. 1, 2:00 p.m.).
Just last season, the Lions competed in their first-ever Sunshine State Conference Tournament Championship, and finished the year as the SSC Tournament Runner-Up to make Saint Leo history. This year, the Sunshine State Conference tournament will be played at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Fla. The tournament dates have been set for Wednesday, March 5 to Sunday, March 9, 2014.
For more on the women's basketball program, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also, be sure to 'Follow' the Lions on Twitter and Instagram and 'Like' the Lions on Facebook.