PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Big East Conference has announced that the women’s basketball conference schedule format will change from 16 games to 18 games, beginning in the 2012-13 season.

With TCU joining the league in 2012-13, Big East will have 17 schools within one division. Each team will play 14 opponents once and two opponents twice. The calendar will expand for conference play to allow for the additional league games. Both the conference-play start date and 18-game schedule will mirror that of the schedule used by men’s basketball.

“The change in the Conference schedule reflects the growth of Big East women’s basketball,” said Danielle Donehew, Big East Associate Commissioner for Women’s Basketball. “As the league grows, we need to adapt in order to create the best presentation of our teams and to showcase the depth and talent of our league.”

Repeat opponents will continue to be determined annually by the conference staff and will be chosen based on the following criteria: providing additional attractive television inventory, competitive issues/RPI implications and geographic rivalries as to minimize travel costs.

The conference had previously announced the 2011-12 matchups including repeat opponents. The 2011-12 format for league play is a 16-game schedule. Each team will play 16 conference games -- seven opponents home, seven opponents away and one repeat opponent, home and away. Each member has a total of eight home and eight away games.