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Clemson To Face Northwestern In Third Annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge

May 5, 2009

GREENSBORO, NC – The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big Ten Conference have announced the pairings for the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge for women’s basketball, which is in its third year of a four-year agreement. Clemson will travel to Northwestern for the 2009 event, as the Tigers and Wildcats will meet for the second straight year.

Clemson defeated Northwestern in an overtime thriller last season to even the series score at one win apiece. Rising senior Lele Hardy swished a desperation three-point attempt as time expired in regulation and the Tigers then edged the Wildcats in the extra period for the 78-75 win.

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 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. For more information about the Big Ten/ACC Women’s Basketball Challenge, including a complete schedule, log on to

2009 Challenge Schedule

Wednesday, December 2 Georgia Tech at Penn State Illinois at Wake Forest Boston College at Iowa

Thursday, December 3 Michigan at Virginia TechClemson 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