Buckeyes will travel to Durham, N.C., Thursday, Dec. 3; game will mark the first meeting between the two schools
PARK RIDGE, Ill. The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big Ten Conference announced Tuesday the pairings for the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge for women’s basketball, which is in its third year of a four-year agreement. The 2009 Challenge, which will take on a two-day format this year, will open on Wednesday, Dec. 2, as Wake Forest hosts Illinois, Boston College travels to Iowa, and Georgia Tech takes on Penn State.
The Buckeyes will travel to Durham, N.C., to take on the Duke Blue Devils Thursday, Dec. 3 at a time to be announced later. Ohio State, who finished ninth in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, is coming off one of its more memorable seasons, winning 29 games and advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament after winning the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships. The Buckeyes return four starters from last year’s team and will feature one of the top recruiting classes in the country. Duke, 14th in the final coaches poll, finished 27-6 last season and was third in the ACC with an 11-3 record. The game will be the first meeting between the two programs. Last season Ohio State fell at home to then-No. 2 North Carolina, 72-63.
The Big Ten/ACC Women’s Basketball Challenge matches 11 teams from each conference in head-to-head competition traditionally on the first Wednesday, Thursday and Friday after Thanksgiving, following the men’s basketball Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Last year, the ACC won seven of the 11 Big Ten/ACC Challenge games, while the inaugural Challenge in 2007 saw the ACC collect eight victories.
The Big Ten and ACC offices determine the 11-game schedule each season, and matchups may repeat from year-to-year in efforts to coordinate similar opponents and reach competitive equity. Each of the Big Ten’s 11 institutions will participate, while the ACC will select 11 teams from its 12-team membership.
In addition, the official title of the Challenge will rotate each year. The 2009 event will be referred to as the Big Ten/ACC Women’s Basketball Challenge and will continue to mirror the official title of the two conferences’ challenge agreement for men’s basketball.
The Big Ten and ACC have long been among the most dominant conferences on the women’s basketball scene. This past season, the ACC was represented by six teams in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, making it the seventh straight year the league has had at least six in the Big Dance. Maryland advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals, giving the ACC at least one team in the Elite Eight for the eighth consecutive year. In 2005-06, the ACC became the first conference to send three teams Duke, Maryland and North Carolina to the same Final Four. Overall, the ACC has made 11 Final Four trips, including six in the past 13 years.
The Big Ten sent seven teams to the 2009 postseason, including five squads to the NCAA Championship. Three teams advanced to the Sweet 16, making the Big Ten one of just four conferences in the nation with multiple representatives in the regional round. In addition, Purdue advanced to the Elite Eight, giving the Big Ten its second regional finals appearance in the last three years. The conference has sent at least one team to the NCAA’s Sweet 16 in 24 of the last 25 years and has had at least one squad participate in five of the last 11 Final Fours, owning eight overall appearances.
Game times, as well as television and broadband coverage, will be announced at a later date. For more information about the Big Ten/ACC Women’s Basketball Challenge, including a complete schedule, log on to www.bigten.org.
2009 CHALLENGE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, December 2
Illinois at Wake Forest
Georgia Tech at Penn State
Boston College at Iowa
Thursday, December 3
Michigan at Virginia Tech
Clemson at Northwestern
Minnesota at Maryland
North Carolina at Michigan State
Ohio State at Duke
Purdue at Virginia
Florida State at Indiana
Wisconsin at N.C. State