May 16, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The matchups for the 2013 Big Ten/ACC Challenge were announced by the two conference offices this afternoon, as the Michigan State women's basketball team will travel to Florida State on Wed., Dec. 4. This year's Challenge will mark the seventh year of the event that has been extended to 2016.
"We are excited to play at Florida State in this year's Big Ten/ACC Challenge," said Spartan head coach Suzy Merchant. "They have a tremendous women's basketball program that is in the top-25 year-in, year-out. It will be a great test for our team next season."
Michigan State is facing the Seminoles for the second time in the Challenge's history, and for the third time overall. The Spartans won 72-64 at then-No. 15 FSU on Dec. 1, 2010 in the Challenge, and previously knocked off the Seminoles, 82-69 in San Juan on Dec. 21, 1994.
The Spartans are 4-2 all-time in the Challenge, tying for the best record among Big Ten schools, and are just one of two Big Ten schools with a winning record. MSU won its inaugural contest, 68-51, over Clemson at the Breslin Center in 2007, but fell in 2008 at Georgia Tech, 70-57. In 2009, Michigan State upset then-No. 4 North Carolina, 72-66, in East Lansing, and followed it up with a come-from-behind upset at No. 15 Florida State, 72-64, in 2010. In 2011, MSU lost to No. 9 Miami, 76-60, at Breslin, but bounced back to win at NC State last season, 68-51.
Michigan State is coming off a 25-9 season, which saw the Spartans tie for third in the Big Ten at 10-6. MSU advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round, before losing at No. 10 Maryland. The Spartans graduated two starters, but return five of their top six scorers, including leading scorer and rebounder, Klarissa Bell, who was a third-team All-Big Ten selection. In addition, MSU welcomes back three key possible contributors from injury in redshirt sophomore center Madison Williams, and freshmen forwards Branndais Agee and Aerial Powers.
Last season, Michigan State led the Big Ten in scoring defense, rebound margin and 3-point field goal percentage defense, and was second in field goal percentage defense. In the NCAA statistical rankings, the Spartans ranked 13th in points allowed and 21st in rebound margin.
Florida State went 23-10 last season and tied for fourth in the ACC at 11-7. The Seminoles also advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, losing to No. 1 Baylor. However, FSU graduated five letterwinners, including four starters and five of its top six scorers. It returns All-ACC performer Natasha Howard, who averaged 12.7 points and 7.5 rebounds as a junior.
Game times, as well as television and broadband coverage, will be announced at a later date.
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