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DePaul Hosts Saint Xavier in Exhibition Opener



CHICAGO – The DePaul women's basketball team opens the exhibition portion of the schedule on Saturday evening with a 5 p.m. game against Saint Xavier (Ill.).  It is the first game of a DePaul basketball doubleheader with a men's exhibition game at 7 p.m.

The Blue Demons enter the season ranked No. 19 in the preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches' top 25.  Head coach Doug Bruno returns four starters and nine players from last season's NCAA Tournament team that posted a 26-5 record.  DePaul is one of four BIG EAST programs in the coaches' preseason poll.

DePaul heads into the 2005-06 season looking for the fourth straight 20-win season and fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.  Preseason All-American and National Player of the Year candidate Khara Smith is back for her senior season along with starters Erin Carney, Allie Quigley and Jenna Rubino from the 2040-05 squad that led the nation in scoring and assists per game.

Saint Xavier, just in the sixth year of competition, has made three straight NAIA Tournament appearances and averaged 24 wins a season.  They are ranked No. 21 in the preseason NAIA to 25.  Head coach Bob Hallberg has led the Cougars to at least 20 wins in each of the six seasons.  A familiar face to Chicagoland basketball fans, he has also coaches the men's program at Saint Xavier and Chicago State.

DePaul wraps up the exhibition schedule next Saturday with a 6 p.m. game against the Chicago Challengers.  As always, the Challengers will feature a number of DePaul alumni to challenge the current Blue Demon roster.

The regular-season opens with the DePaul Invitational when the Blue Demons host Alabama State, Harvard and UNLV in a two-day tournament.  The action kicks off on Friday, Nov. 18 when Alabama State and UNLV clash at 5:30 p.m. followed by DePaul and Harvard at 7:30 p.m.  On Saturday, the two winners play in the championship at 7:30 p.m. preceded by the consolation game at 5:30 p.m.