TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women's basketball team looks to defend its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season championship through the most challenging schedule in program history during the upcoming 2016-17 campaign.
Rose-Hulman will host 10 games and face a non-conference schedule featuring likely opponents with a combined record of 127-64 last year. The Fightin' Engineers improved the quality of the non-conference schedule after finishing 23-4 with 17 consecutive wins to close the regular season.
In the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, Rose-Hulman advanced to the league championship game for the first time in program history before falling to tournament champion and NCAA Tournament representative Bluffton.
The 2016-17 schedule opens with seven consecutive games away from Hulbert Arena against several nationally regarded programs. Rose-Hulman opens with a two-game appearance at the DePauw Invitational on Nov. 18-19, hosted by a Tigers squad that finished 22-7 last season. The Fightin' Engineers then renew a crosstown rivalry with the Clabber Girl Trophy Game at St. Mary-of-the-Woods on Nov. 21.
Rose-Hulman closes the month with three College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin opponents away from home. The Fightin' Engineers face North Central (Nov. 26) and North Park (Nov. 27) in a Holiday Tournament hosted by North Park, then Rose-Hulman travels to Illinois Wesleyan on Nov. 30.
December includes four HCAC matchups and a three-game homestand. Rose-Hulman travels to Mount St. Joseph on Dec. 3, before hosting Franklin (Dec. 7) and defending league tournament champion Bluffton (Dec. 10). The month also includes a home non-conference matchup with Chicago (Dec. 14) and a road trip to Transylvania (Dec. 17).
Rose-Hulman heads to Hanover and Manchester to open January, before returning home four times in the next five games. The Fightin' Engineers host Anderson on Jan. 11 and Defiance on Jan. 14, then travel to Earlham on Jan. 18. The January slate also includes the annual Wabash Valley Breast Cancer Survivors Organization Game against Transylvania on Jan. 21 and another home game with Hanover on Jan. 25. The month concludes with a trip to Bluffton on Jan. 28.
After heading to Franklin on Feb. 1, Rose-Hulman closes the home schedule with three straight conference games in February. Mount St. Joseph (Feb. 4), Earlham (Feb. 8) and Manchester (Feb. 11) come to Hulbert Arena, before the regular season closes at Anderson (Feb. 15) and Defiance (Feb. 18).
The top six teams in the league standings will qualify for the HCAC Tournament, and Rose-Hulman would begin play in the event on Friday Feb. 24.
Rose-Hulman returns three starters and seven of the top nine scorers from last year's conference championship team. Leading returning scorers include Ally Bromenschenkel (8.1 ppg), Josie Schmidt (7.7 ppg), Brianna Gliesmann (6.8 ppg) and Alyzia Dilworth (6.6 ppg). The team also relied heavily on its defense last year, ranking first in the HCAC and among the NCAA Division III national leaders by allowing just 50.7 points per contest.