Eastern Illinois women’s basketball will open the 2019-20 season with three straight home games in Lantz Arena as head coach Matt Bollant announced the Panthers upcoming schedule. In total the Panthers will play 15 games at home including an exhibition game and five non-conference contests.
Following an exhibition with Illinois Wesleyan on Friday, Nov. 1, the Panthers open the regular season at home for the sixth straight season when they host Lindenwood (Mo.) on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
The Lindenwood game is the first of three straight at home for EIU as they play Indiana State on Nov. 10 and Loyola-Chicago on Nov. 13. The Panthers then hit the road for four straight at UIC on Nov. 16, Evansville on Nov. 19, Wisconsin on Nov. 26 and at Lipscomb on Dec. 1.
EIU returns home on Dec. 7 to play Omaha and will close out non-conference play in Lantz Arena on Dec. 30 against Valparaiso. Sandwiched between the two home games is the Illinois Compass Tournament which will be hosted by Northern Illinois on Dec. 19-20. The event also includes Southern Illinois and Western Illinois with match-ups for the event still to be determined.
“We are very excited about this year’s schedule and the growth of this program,” said Bollant. “ We are wanting to take another step forward this season as we return four starters and six of our top seven scorers, coupled with two great recruiting classes. We feel like the non-conference schedule will help us grow and prepare us for a challenging OVC season.”
EIU opens the Ohio Valley Conference slate on Jan. 2 with four straight road games at Tennessee State, Belmont, Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State. The home OVC opener on Jan. 16 against Jacksonville State tips off a string of four straight home games with Tennessee Tech, UT Martin and Southeast Missouri rounding out that home stand.
EIU will have additional home conference games against Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State, SIUE, Murray State and Austin Peay. The regular season ends on Feb. 29 at SIUE.
The OVC Tournament will once again return to the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind., on March 4-7.
Last season EIU increased its win total in Matt Bollant’s second year by eight wins marking the third best turnaround in program history. Karle Pace, Taylor Steele and Grace McRae all started more than 20 games last season while post players Abby Wahl and Jennifer Nehls combined to start 28.