YORK, PA – The York College women's basketball squad will have a tough task if they want to return to the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans, who won 20 games last year but just missed out on a tournament bid, will compete in an expanded Capital Athletic Conference slate in 2013-14.
The conference expanded by three teams in July and that greatly changes the complexion of the Spartans' schedule. York picked up six additional contests against conference opponents as the Spartans now play 72% of their games against conference foes. Christopher Newport, PSU Harrisburg, and Southern Virginia join the CAC though games against Southern Virginia will not count in the CAC standings as they are still provisional NCAA Division III members.
Spartan head coach Betsy Witman knows the Green and White will have a challenge with the newly strengthened conference.
"The quality and depth of our conference is very impressive," says Witman. "There are a number of different teams that could challenge for the championship and I think we should be one of those squads."
York opens the season on November 15 & 16 when they host the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Wolf Gymnasium. The Spartans face Pitt-Bradford in the opening round followed by Bridgewater (Va.) and Waynesburg. The championship and consolation games will be held the following afternoon.
York begins a stretch of three non-conference contests on November 20 when they host Eastern Mennonite before heading east on Route 30 to face Franklin & Marshall at the Mayser Center on November 23. The Green and White returns home on November 26 when they host McDaniel in a pre-Thanksgiving Day clash.
The Spartans open conference play on December 1 with a trip to Wesley to face the Wolverines. That starts a busy six day stretch as the Spartans face Wesley on Sunday, PSU Harrisburg on Wednesday at home and Christopher Newport on Saturday at home.
The Spartans then take 22 days off from games before traveling to the Oglethorpe University Tournament in Georgia. The Spartans face a very talented Wisconsin-Stevens Point squad on December 29 before facing the host Stormy Petrels in the tournament's second round. Those tournament games will be the Spartans' final non-conference contests of the year.
York jumps back into league play on January 4 when they travel to Mary Washington looking to snap a 10-game losing streak to the Eagles. The Spartans then head to reigning league champion Marymount in a tough two-game road trip.
The Spartans return to Wolf Gymnasium on January 11 to host Salisbury in another key league contest. St. Mary's visits York on January 15 before the Spartans make the long trip to Southern Virginia on January 18. The Spartans come back home on January 22 to host Frostburg State followed by a home game against Mary Washington on the 25th.
A quick trip up Route 83 to face PSU Harrisburg on January 29 closes out the busy January slate. A trip to Christopher Newport opens the final stretch of the regular season on February 1 before York returns home to host Wesley on February 5 and Marymount on the 8th.
York then faces a tough three-game road swing as the Spartans travel to St. Mary's on the 12th, Salisbury on the 15th and Frostburg on the 19th. The three trips are all three hours and come within an eight-day stretch for York.
The Spartans close out the regular season with a home game on February 22 when they host Southern Virginia.
The CAC Tournament opens with first round action on February 25. The third seed in the tournament hosts the sixth seed while the fourth seed hosts the fifth seed with the first and second seeds receiving a bye. Only the top six teams in the league make the tournament. The semifinals will be held on February 27 followed by the conference championship game on March 1.
Witman believes her team will be up to the challenge of the difficult schedule.
"We will be a talented team and I believe we will be a much deeper team this year," says Witman. "We want to compete for a conference championship and return to the NCAA Tournament after just missing it last year. We have the chance to have a special season and I believe our schedule will prepare us for a run deep into the postseason."
The Spartans open practice on October 15.