The ACC/Big Ten Challenge started yesterday, putting an end to the early-December doldrums. We had a lot of games yesterday, many of which made some great basketball that I'll mention below. The Testudo Times has already given you the scoop on the Ohio State-Maryland game. I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that Maryland won 67-55. But what are the games that I'd wish I'd seen yesterday?
#4 Notre Dame (7-0) traveled to #10 Penn State (5-2) and beat them 77-67. Nate provided some background to this one which can be found in his Big List O' Links. The key to this one is really the non-performance of Lady Lions senior guard Maggie Lucas, who went 1-for-8 with one assist, four turnovers and five personal fouls. Fighting Irish freshman Taya Meimer had 12 points and 10 rebounds in only 23 minutes of play, and Notre Dame forced Penn State into 20 turnovers. Penn State could get no closer than nine points in the second half.
Florida State (7-1) managed to hold off visiting Michigan State (5-3) by a score of 60-58. Poor Michigan State - they lose to IPFW and then get beaten on the road in a close match. It was generally a low-shooting game by both teams, and despite shooting only 63 percent at the free throw line, the 30 free throw chances that the Spartans gave Florida State made the difference. The Seminoles forced 25 Michigan State turnovers, with freshman guard Aerial Powers of Michigan State turning over the ball nine times.
Senior Seminoles forward Natasha Howard scored 23 points and 12 rebounds and picked up her 30th career double-double. Michigan State freshman Annalise Pickrel got a rebound and tried calling a time-out with 32 seconds left and FSU up 56-55 - but Michigan State had already run out of time outs, and the resulting technical foul game Florida State two extra points from the free throw line.
#18 North Carolina (7-2) defeated visiting #15 Nebraska (6-2) by a score of 75-62. This time, it was sophomore forward Xylina McDaniel who 25 points and eight rebounds and 11-for-15 shooting helped her bring home a victory wreath for North Carolina. The Cornhuskers once led 21-13 but McDaniel lead a 17-2 run and hit her first eight shots from the field. McDaniel's 25 was a new career high.
#11 Colorado (7-0) traveled to Wyoming (4-2) and won there, 63-59. The temperature in Laramie, WY is -13 as I write this, and the Buffalos brought some of that cold Wyoming weather indoors with them since they couldn't bring junior forward Jen Reese who is recovering from a concussion. Colorado started the game with a frosty 27 percent shooting during the first half and Wyoming led 27-21 at halftime. But you couldn't keep Colorado down. The Cowgirls tied the game at 57-57 with 57 seconds left. After that, it was battle of free throws, and Colorado was chill where it counted at the free throw line, escaping with the win.