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May 16, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The two-time defending Big Ten Champion Penn State Lady Lions will host 2013 NCAA semifinalist and ACC newcomer Notre Dame in the Seventh Annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday, December 4, it was announced by the Big Ten and ACC. The meeting will be a reunion of sorts as Penn State head coach Coquese Washington is a Notre Dame alum and played for UND mentor Muffet McGraw. Washington was also an assistant under McGraw (1999-07).
The Lady Lions are 5-0 all-time against the Irish, including a 2-0 mark at home. The squads last met on Nov. 16, 2006 when Penn State posted a 75-49 win over Notre Dame in the BJC. Washington was Notre Dame's associated head coach during that game.
Penn State is 2-4 in Big Ten/ACC Challenge games, including a victory over Duke in the inaugural Challenge and a record-setting 103-84 win over nationally-ranked North Carolina in 2011. Game times, as well as television and broadband coverage, will be announced at a later date.
The Lady Lions won their second-straight Big Ten regular season title with a 26-6 overall record and 14-2 mark in conference play last season. Guided by the two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year in Washington, Penn State will return the 2013 Big Ten Player of the Year Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) and Big Ten All-Defensive team choice Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.). The Lady Lions will also add an eight-player recruiting class that ranks in the Top 10 in the country.
Lucas is coming off of an outstanding junior campaign that saw her take home top conference honors, as well as All-America accolades from the WBCA, Associated Press, USBWA and Full Court. The Narberth, Pa. native averaged 20.1 points per game to finish third in the Big Ten and 16th nationally. Lucas also finished in the Top 10 in the country in three-point field goal percentage (4th- .462) and free throw percentage (9th - 90.0) and was 11th in three-point field goals made (3.06).
Taylor made an immediate impact for the Lady Lions, finishing second on the team and fifth in the Big Ten in steals with a 2.4 per game average. She also finished in the Top 10 in the league in assists (10th - 3.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (9th - 1.2). She also contributed 7.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
Penn State also returns rising seniors Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) and Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.). Edwards accounted for 7.9 points and 3.2 rebounds a year ago, while East contributed 2.2 points and 3.1 rebounds. East had a solid NCAA Tournament, averaging 4.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in a pair of games.
The Lady Lions will add eight new faces on the roster next season in guards Lindsey Spann (Laurel, Md.) and KeKe Sevillian (Goodrich, Mich.), swing players Jenny DeGraaf (Springboro, Ohio), Kaliyah Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga.), Peyton Whitted (Suwanee, Ga.), forward Alex Harris (Lorain, Ohio) and center Infiniti Alston (Baltimore, Md.), who signed National Letters of Intent in November, as well as Sierra Moore (York, Pa.), who will sit out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Challenge games will be contested in a two-day format, beginning Wednesday, Dec. 4. Indiana and Penn State will host games on the first day, while Illinois and Michigan State will be on the road. On Dec. 5, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern and Wisconsin will host ACC foes, while Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and Purdue visit their inter-conference opponents.
A year ago, Big Ten teams combined for a 5-7 mark against its ACC counterparts. In the past two seasons, the two conferences have squared off in head-to-head competition on 37 total occasions with the Big Ten holding a 19-18 advantage.
The Lady Lions hold several camps throughout the summer. There is a Lady Lion Basketball Camp available for girls of all ages, ranging from shooting camp to elite camp. The 2013 Lady Lion Basketball Camp schedule is as follows: Experience Camp (June 9-11), Elite Camp (June 22-23), Total Package Team Camp (June 20-22) and Games Galore Team Camp (August 2-4). For more information on Lady Lion Basketball Camps, please visit GoPSUsports.com/camps and click on Girls Basketball Camp under Summer Camps.
The Lady Lions are on Twitter. Follow sports information contact Kris Petersen (@ladylionsid) and the Lady Lions and coaches (@pennstatewbb) to get the inside scoop. The Lady Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstateladylions.
2013 CHALLENGE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, December 4
Notre Dame at Penn State
Illinois at Georgia Tech
Virginia Tech at Indiana
Michigan State at Florida State
Thursday, December 5
NC State at Northwestern
Boston College at Wisconsin
Syracuse at Iowa
Purdue at Duke
Ohio State at Maryland
Nebraska at North Carolina
Michigan at Virginia
Miami at Minnesota