OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — The NYIT women's basketball team will open its 2017-18 season with an exhibition game at the University of Rhode Island, a member of the Division I Atlantic 10 Conference, on Nov. 5. The Bears then open their regular season with home games on Nov. 11 and 12 in the ECC/Northeast-10 Challenge against Pace and Adelphi, coach Kenny Parham announced Thursday.
NYIT beat Adelphi, 73-59, in last year's opener, but the Panthers ended the Bears' season four months later in the NCAA Tournament.
The Bears, who reached the finals of the East Coast Conference tournament last season, open league play on Dec. 6 against Mercy at Recreation Hall.
SEE THE FULL SCHEDULE HERE
NYIT returns multiple key members of a team that went 18-12 overall and qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2016-17.
Point guard Nina Vukosavljevic, a first-team All-ECC honoree, enters this season two points shy of reaching the 1,000-point plateau for her career. Reigning ECC Rookie of the Year Meg Knollmeyer will look to build on a freshman season during which she averaged 14.8 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Knollmeyer's rebounding average led Division II freshmen nationally, 0.7 ahead of runner-up Morgan Greene of Cal State East Bay. Knollmeyer also led Division II freshmen with 18 double-doubles.
Parham enters his second season at the helm with a stellar incoming class to infuse the squad. The incoming student-athletes include two players with Division I college experience, Maia Hood and Corinn Baggs, as well as prep players Shalie Frierson, Jill Spagnuola and Taylor Tripptree.
"Our schedule has many tough early nonconference games to help us prepare for a challenging East Coast Conference that should be even better than last year, when three teams reached the NCAA Tournament and two played in the regional final," Parham said.