This week, the Missouri Valley Conference released their newly created 20-game women’s basketball schedule, and Bradley Braves are set for a chance to rebound from last year.
Winning just four games in the 2021-22 season, a facelift for the women’s basketball team is badly needed. First-year head coach Kate Popovik retained MVC’s Player of the Year Caroline White and took on some transfers to put together a squad ready to take on the MVC challenge.
The Braves schedule includes a series of home games against nine of the league’s 11 other teams, with newcomers Belmont and Murray State taking the short end of the stick. Both teams will see Bradley once; Belmont will come to Peoria, and the brave will travel to meet the racers in Kentucky.
Four of Bradley’s first five games are against the top four teams in the conference last season, beginning with a home game against the 2021-22 MVC Championship runners-up in Northern Iowa on December 30. Bradley will wrap up the new weekend with another home game against Drake on January 1st in what will be Hobbs’ rematch last year at Heartland, where Bradley fell 71-56 in the first round.
After the holiday, the Braves will take the MVC top seed last season home. Southern Illinois and Missouri will face tough challenges on January 5 and 7, with Renaissance Coliseum events taking place on February 10 and 12.
Thursday’s games against the 1-74 MVC challenger and champion Illinois State will take place on January 12 in Peoria and February 2 in Normal. The Braves lost both games last season by less than 10 points, so they hope they can please Bradley’s followers and bring down the defending champions.
Unlike their fellow newcomers, the UIC will play two against the Braves, the first being on January 27 in Chicago before the Flames travel to Peoria for the first time since 2017 on February 25. Finishing 2-25 last season, including a loss to former Northwestern side Popovec, UIC also features new head coach Ashleen Bracey and added five newcomers for the new year.
At the conclusion of the convention season, the Braves will head to Evansville to face the Purple Ace on March 4. Their only win in the conference last year, Popovic’s team will be looking to achieve the same success this time around.
The full schedule for the Bradley Conference is listed below. Times will be released later:
- Friday, December 30th vs Northern Iowa
- Sunday January 1 vs Drake
- Thursday, January 5 in Southern Illinois
- Saturday January 7th in Missouri
- Thursday January 12th vs Illinois
- Sunday January 15th in Murray
- Friday January 20 vs Evansville
- Sunday, January 22nd vs Indiana State
- Friday January 27 in Chicago Illinois
- Sunday January 29 in Valparaíso
- Thursday, February 2nd in Illinois
- Sunday 5 February vs Belmont
- Friday February 10 vs Missouri
- Sunday February 12th vs Southern Illinois
- Thursday, February 16 at the Drake
- Saturday, February 18 in Northern Iowa
- Thursday February 23 vs Valparaíso
- Saturday February 25th vs Chicago Illinois
- Thursday, March 2nd in Indiana
- Saturday 4 March in Evansville