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June 4, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The three-time defending Big Ten Champion Penn State Lady Lions will travel to Syracuse for the Eighth Annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Thursday, December 4, it was announced by the Big Ten and ACC. This is the first year that the Challenge will feature 14 matchups.
The Lady Lions are 16-2 all-time against the Orange, including a 7-2 mark in games played in Syracuse. The last time the squads squared off, Syracuse claimed a 72-53 win in the Carrier Dome on Dec. 6, 2007. Prior to the 2007 matchup, Penn State had won six straight over the Orange.
Penn State is 2-5 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.
This is the second piece of the Lady Lions' 2014-15 schedule as it was previously announced that Penn State will participate in the Preseason WNIT. The bracket for the WNIT will be announced in June.
The Lady Lions claimed their third-straight Big Ten regular-season title with a 24-8 overall record and 13-3 mark in conference play. It is the first time in school history that the Lady Lions won three consecutive regular-season crowns (Big Ten or Atlantic 10). Penn State has made four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and reached the Sweet Sixteen last year after wins over Wichita State and Florida.
After the graduation of a very accomplished senior class, senior forward Tori Waldner (Milton, Ga.) is the top returnee for Penn State. She started every game as a junior and averaged 4.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. She also rejected 39 shots a year ago to bring her career total to 89, which is tied for 11th on PSU's career list.
Also returning for the Lady Lions are sophomores Kaliyah Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Peyton Whitted (Suwanee, Ga.). Mitchell is the second-leading returning scoring at 4.5 points per game to go along with 4.4 rebounds per outing. Whitted accounted for 3.6 points and 3.3 rebounds with a .522 field goal percentage in conference play. Overall, she was second on the team in field goal percentage with a .463 mark.
In last year's challenge, the ACC earned a narrow 7-5 victory over the Big Ten, with Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin each claiming victories in 2013.
The ACC and Big Ten conference offices determine the schedule each season. In addition, the official title of the Challenge will rotate each year. The 2014 event will be referred to as the ACC/Big Ten Women's Basketball Challenge and will continue to mirror the official title of the two conferences' Challenge agreement for men's basketball.
The ACC and the Big Ten have long been among the most competitive conferences on the women's basketball scene. Last season, the Big Ten sent nine teams to postseason play, tied for the most in conference history, and matched a Big Ten record with 15 combined tournament triumphs. At least one conference team has appeared in the NCAA Sweet 16 in 28 of the last 30 years.
Last season, the ACC was represented by nine overall postseason squads, including eight teams in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship. The eight teams in the tournament marked the 20th consecutive season at least four ACC teams have been selected to the field.
The Lady Lions hold several camps throughout the summer. The 2014 Lady Lion Basketball Camp schedule is as follows: Total Package Team Camp (June 19-21), Elite Camp (June 21-22), Pre-National Team Shootout (22-24) and Games Galore Team Camp (August 1-3). 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 the Lady Lions and coaches (@pennstatewbb) and sports information contact Kris Petersen (@ladylionsid) to get the inside scoop. The Lady Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstateladylions.
2014 CHALLENGE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, December 3
Maryland at Notre Dame (Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Indiana at Boston College
Minnesota at NC State
Florida State at Purdue
Duke at Nebraska
Wake Forest at Michigan
Virginia at Illinois
Pittsburgh at Ohio State
Thursday, December 4
Iowa at Louisville
Penn State at Syracuse
Northwestern at Virginia Tech
Wisconsin at Miami
North Carolina at Rutgers
Georgia Tech at Michigan State