AKRON, Ohio – A slate that features UA's first ever home tournament, as well as matchups with six teams that advanced to postseason play a year ago, University of Akron women's basketball head coach Jodi Kest announced the program's complete 2014-15 schedule on Wednesday.
Riding the success of their first Mid-American Conference championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in school history in 2014, the Zips are set to be challenged once again this season, beginning with the first Akron Classic on Nov. 14-15.
"I am looking forward to hosting our own tournament for the first time this year," said Kest, who begins her ninth year leading the Zips. "It is a great opportunity to gain experience on our home floor early in the season, and showcase what Akron basketball is all about. I hope it can grow into a tradition for the future."
Following an exhibition contest against Ursuline College on Nov. 8, Binghamton, Delaware State and Northern Kentucky will visit James A. Rhodes Arena for the season-opening tournament. Akron will face off against Binghamton on Friday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m as part of a tripleheader, with the men's team playing UMBC immediately following. UA will then take on Northern Kentucky in the final game of the tournament on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 3:30 p.m.
Seven potential non-conference opponents on the schedule UA will be facing for the first time in program history, starting with a weekday game against Northern Iowa on Tuesday, Nov. 18. One week later, the Zips will host Valparaiso on Nov. 25 at 7 p.m.
Akron will travel to the University of Denver for a Thanksgiving tournament Nov. 28-29, where it will play Belmont, a 2014 WNIT qualifier, and either Denver or Siena.
After a home game against Morehead State on Dec. 5, the Zips will take to the road again for a two-game swing in central Florida, traveling to Bethune-Cookman (Dec. 15) and UCF (Dec. 17).
UA will welcome Ohio Christian to the JAR on Dec. 20 before heading east to challenge Horizon League foe Youngstown State Dec. 29, closing out the non-conference portion of its schedule.
MAC play begins on Jan. 3 when Akron opens on the road at Western Michigan, one of the West Division teams it will see twice this season. The Zips will play four home games and four more road games in the month of January, hosting Bowling Green (Jan. 7), Eastern Michigan (Jan. 10) Ball State (Jan. 21) and Kent State (Jan. 31), and visiting Toledo (Jan. 14), Miami (Ohio) (Jan. 17), Central Michigan (Jan. 24) and Ohio (Jan. 28).
The Zips play four out of their next five games at the JAR in February, a stretch in which they will see WMU (Feb. 4) and Toledo (Feb. 14) for the second time. Akron's only road trip during that time will be to DeKalb, Ill. to take on Northern Illinois on Feb. 7.
Akron concludes the regular season with three of its last four games on the road, traveling to rival Kent State on Feb. 25, Buffalo on Feb. 28 and Bowling Green on March 7.
"We have a great MAC schedule lined up ahead of us," Kest said. "Our team has a lot of new faces this year, but we know what the competition in the conference is like. Every team has to come prepared every game, because anything can happen."
The first round of the 2015 MAC Tournament is set for Monday, March 9 at campus sites, with the following rounds at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland March 11-14.
UA returns eight letterwinners from the defending 2014 MAC Tournament championship squad, and welcomes five freshmen to the team this year. In addition, junior transfer Therany Dunnigan is now eligible to compete after sitting out last season, and senior Sina King is expected to make her return to the court as well.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2014-15 season, with ticket packages starting at $55. For the first time, VIP floor seats are now available for women's basketball games, priced at $100 for the season (including a $25 donation to the Z-Fund).
In addition to season tickets, fans can also take advantage of the Zips All-Access 10-Pack, presented by Papa John's Pizza for $90. This package gives fans 10 ticket vouchers that can be redeemed at all six of Akron's ticket sports (football, men's and women's soccer, volleyball and men's and women's basketball).
Akron alumni can purchase the Alumni All-Sport Season Ticket Package for $175 (valued at $505).
Tickets can be purchased online anytime at GoZips.com/Tickets, or from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET on Mondays through Fridays by either calling 1-888-99-AKRON (25766) or visiting The C.P. and Cornelia S. Chima Athletics Ticket Office at InfoCision Stadium - Summa Field (located at 375 E. Exchange Street, near Gate 1 at the southwest corner of the venue, at the corner of E. Exchange and S. Union streets).
2014-15 Akron Women's Basketball Schedule
Sat, Nov. 8 – Ursuline College#
Fri., Nov. 14 – Binghamton^
Sat., Nov. 15 – Northern Kentucky^
Tues., Nov. 18 – Northern Iowa
Tues., Nov. 25 – Valparaiso
Fri., Nov. 28 – vs. Belmont%
Sat., Nov. 29 – vs. Denver or Siena%
Fri., Dec. 5 – Morehead State
Mon., Dec. 15 – at Bethune-Cookman
Wed., Dec. 17 – at UCF
Sat., Dec. 20 – Ohio Christian
Mon., Dec. 29 – at Youngstown State
Sat., Jan. 3 – at Western Michigan*
Wed., Jan. 7 – Bowling Green*
Sat., Jan. 10 – Eastern Michigan*
Wed., Jan. 14 – at Toledo*
Sat., Jan. 17 – at Miami (Ohio)*
Wed., Jan. 21 – Ball State*
Sat., Jan. 24 – at Central Michigan*
Wed., Jan. 28 – at Ohio*
Sat., Jan. 31 – Kent State*
Wed., Feb. 4 – Western Michigan*
Sat., Feb. 7 – at Northern Illinois*
Wed., Feb. 11 – Buffalo*
Sat., Feb. 14 – Toledo*
Sat., Feb. 21 – Ohio*
Wed., Feb. 25 – at Kent State*
Sat., Feb. 28 – at Buffalo*
Wed., March 4 – Miami (Ohio)*
Sat., March 7 – at Bowling Green*
Mon., March 9 – MAC Tournament (campus sites)
March 11-14 – MAC Tournament (Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland)
# – Exhibition
^ – 2014 Akron Classic (Akron, Ohio)
% – 2014 Denver Thanksgiving Tournament (Denver, Colo.)
* – Mid-American Conference game