Hawkeyes Draw Tar Heels for ACC/Big Ten Challenge

May 24, 2010

IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa women’s basketball team will play North Carolina as part of the fourth annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The game will be held Thursday, Dec. 2 in Chapel Hill, NC.

Next year’s matchup will feature two teams with loads of returning talent. Iowa’s 2010-11 roster is made up of 10 returning letterwinners, while North Carolina has 12 players returning from a year ago. Both teams return every statistical category leader from last year’s squad.

North Carolina senior-to-be Italee Lucas was a second team all-conference selection and averaged a team-high 14.7 points. Cetera DeGraffenreid, who will also be a senior next season, was a third team all-conference pick and was second on the team in scoring at 14.2 points per contest.

The Tar Heels compiled a 19-12 overall record last season and tied for seventh in the ACC with a 6-8 mark. North Carolina earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 10 seed, where it lost to West Coast Conference champion Gonzaga, 82-76, in the first round.

North Carolina is coached by Sylvia Hatchel, who will be in her 26th year at North Carolina. Hatchell is a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and is the third-winningest active coach in Division I women’s basketball. She led the Tar Heels to a national championship in 1994 and has captured eight ACC titles.

“We are looking forward to playing North Carolina in next season’s Challenge,” said Head Coach Lisa Bluder. “North Carolina is well-coached and this will be an early test for our basketball team. The ACC/Big Ten Challenge is a great event to showcase some of the best women’s college basketball in the country and we look forward to representing the Big Ten.”

Iowa is 0-3 in the Challenge. The Hawkeyes were defeated at home by Georgia Tech (2007) and Boston College (2009) along with a road loss at Duke (2008). North Carolina is 2-1 in the Challenge, with wins over Purdue (2007) and at Ohio State (2008). The Tar Heels lost at Michigan State last year. The Hawkeyes are 9-5 all-time vs. the ACC.

Iowa and North Carolina have met on two previous occasions at neutral sites, with Iowa winning both matchups. The Hawkeyes won the first meeting, 106-81, at the Hilton Head Island Super Shootout in Hilton Head, SC on Dec. 29, 1989. Iowa’s second win over the Tar Heels came Dec. 21, 1995 at the Carolinas Holiday Beach Classic in Myrtle Beach, SC (73-64).

The ACC/Big Ten Women’s Basketball Challenge matches 11 teams from each conference in head-to-head competition. Last year, the ACC won seven of the 11 Challenge games to claim its third straight win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

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 equality. Each of the Big Ten’s 11 institutions will participate, while the ACC selected 11 teams from its 12-team membership. Miami will not compete in the 2010-11 Challenge.

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 Tournament, marking the eighth-straight year the league has had at least six schools in the Big Dance.

The Big Ten sent four teams to the NCAA Tournament, marking the fourth year in a row at least four teams were selected.

Game times and television information will be released at a later date.

2010-11 ACC/Big Ten Challenge Matchups
Wednesday, December 1
Wake Forest at Michigan
Michigan State at Florida State
Northwestern at Georgia Tech
North Carolina State at Illinois

Thursday, December 2 Duke at Wisconsin
Iowa at North Carolina
Penn State at Boston College
Virginia at Ohio State
Maryland at Purdue
Virginia Tech at Minnesota
Indiana at Clemson