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Yellow Jackets Draw Penn State in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

May 6, 2009

ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team will take on Penn State in the third annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big Ten Conference announced Tuesday.

The Yellow Jackets and Nittany Lions will meet for the first time on the hardwood on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 when the Big Ten/ACC Women’s Basketball Challenge gets underway. The Jackets are 2-0 in the previous challenges with wins at Iowa and against Michigan State.

“We are excited about playing in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at a place like Penn State with so much history and tradition,” head coach MaChelle Joseph said. “This will be an exciting match-up for our team and program.”

The Big Ten and ACC offices determine the 11-game schedule each season, and match-ups 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.

Since the 1999-2000 season, the two conferences have squared off in head-to-head competition on 85 occasions with the ACC holding a 48-37 advantage. Last season, the ACC boasted an 11-6 record over Big Ten teams; however, Michigan State and Purdue knocked Duke and North Carolina, respectively, out of the postseason play.

Game times, as well as television and broadband coverage, will be announced at a later date.

Wednesday, December 2
Georgia Tech at Penn State
Illinois at Wake Forest
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 NC State

2010: ACC/Big Ten Challenge – Dec. 1, 2, 3

Michigan leads Virginia Tech, 1-0 (Last Meeting: Michigan, 79-63, 11-29-96)
Clemson and Northwestern, Series Tied, 1-1 (Last Meeting: 2008 Big Ten/ACC Challenge: Clemson, 78-75 OT, 12-4-08)
Maryland leads Minnesota, 1-0 (Last Meeting: Maryland, 86-74, 12-22-80)
North Carolina leads Michigan State, 3-0 (Last Meeting: North Carolina, 82-65, 12-19-99)
Florida State leads Indiana, 3-1 (Last Meeting: 2007 Big Ten/ACC Challenge: Florida State, 85-78, 11-30-07)
Wisconsin Leads NC State, 1-0 (Last Meeting: Wisconsin, 65-48, 12-8-01)

Five of this year’s Challenge contests will feature a pair of teams that have never faced one another. Georgia Tech takes on first-time opponents for the third consecutive year in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. First-year opponents include: Georgia Tech at Penn State; Illinois at Wake Forest; Boston College at Iowa; Ohio State at Duke; Purdue at Virginia.

The ACC boasts six undefeated programs in the previous two Big Ten/ACC Challenges, while Michigan remains flawless for the Big Ten. Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia all stand at 2-0, while Wake Forest owns a 1-0 mark as the Demon Deacons did not participate in the 2008 Challenge.

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