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Dartmouth Hosts 36th Annual Blue Sky Classic

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The Big Green welcome Delaware, Duquesne and Villanova to the 36th annual Blue Sky...     By Mark Washburn

The Big Green women's basketball team welcomes Duquesne, Delaware and Villanova to Leede Arena for the 36th annual Blue Sky Classic. The tournament returns to a true tournament format this season after being in a Classic format for the last three years. Duquesne and Villanova are in the field for the first time while Delaware returns for its fourth Blue Sky appearance.

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Game 11: Dartmouth (1-9, 0-0 Ivy League) vs. Duquesne (10-1, 0-0 A-10)
Saturday, December 29 (7:00 p.m.)
Hanover, N.H. (Leede Arena)
First Meeting
First Meeting

Game 12: Dartmouth (1-9,0-0 Ivy League) vs. Delaware/Villanova
Sunday, December 30 (5/7 p.m.)
Hanover, N.H. (Leede Arena)
Dartmouth leads Delaware, 3-1; Villanova leads Dartmouth, 1-0
Dartmouth has won 1 vs. Delaware; Villanova has won 1 vs. Dartmouth

Starting Five
1. This weekend is the 36th annual Blue Sky Classic. The tournament has the distinction of being the longest uninterrupted women's collegiate tournament in the country. Delaware is making its fourth appearance at the Blue Sky while Duquesne and Villanova are first time participants.  

2. The tournament returns to a true "tournament" format this season for the first time in three seasons. The first-round matchups are predetermined and the winners of the first round game will play in Sunday's championship game. The last time the tournament was in this format was in 2007.  

3. Dartmouth will take on Duquesne in its first-round matchup. Duquesne is the second first-time opponent for the Big Green this season. The Big Green also took on BYU for the first time in program history earlier this season.  

4. The Big Green are looking to pick up their first home win this season. Dartmouth is 0-3 at Leede Arena entering the Blue Sky Classic. The last home win for Dartmouth was an 87-52 win over Columbia on March 3 of last season.   

5. Dartmouth is looking to snap its current nine-game losing streak. After winning its season-opener at Bryant (Nov. 10) Dartmouth has dropped nine consecutive games. Last season, Dartmouth had a 13-game losing streak, the longest in program history.

Dartmouth vs. Duquesne Notables
-This will be the first-ever meeting between the Big Green and Dukes. Duquesne is the first A-10 opponent for the Big Green this season, although, Dartmouth will take on UMass on Jan. 6. All-time, Dartmouth is 13-30 against A-10 opponents.

-Dartmouth is the only Ivy League opponent on Duquesne's schedule this season. The lone common opponent is UMass, which Dartmouth will take on in Amherst on Jan. 6.  

-Duquesne's Blue Sky Classic appearance marks the second consecutive season that the field has featured an A-10 opponent. Last season, LaSalle was in the field and won both of their games against Dartmouth and Vermont.

Dartmouth vs. Delaware/Villanova Notables
-Should Dartmouth take on Villanova in the second game, it will be just the second meeting between the teams. The only other meeting was in Villanova's tournament during the 1980-81 season.

-Delaware is making its fourth appearance in the Blue Sky Classic and its first appearance since the 2007 tournament. Delaware is one of seven teams to play more than six games in the Blue Sky Classic. The Blue Hens won the 2002 title.

-Should Dartmouth take on Delaware, the Big Green will be the second Ivy League opponent for the Blue Hens. Delaware defeated Princeton, 59-58, earlier this month. Should the Big Green meet Villanova in the second game, Dartmouth will also be the second Ivy League foe for the Wildcats as they also defeated Princeton earlier this season.  

A Win Would ...
1. Give Dartmouth head coach Chris Wielgus her 389th win at Dartmouth. She entered the 2012-13 season needing 13 wins to claim her 400th victory as head coach of the Big Green.

2. Snap the Big Green's nine-game skid and give Dartmouth first win at Leede Arena this season. The Big Green enters this weekend with a 0-3 record on their home floor.

3. Give Dartmouth its first win in the Blue Sky Classic since the 2008 Classic when they defeated Wagner, 69-56, in their second game. The Big Green are looking for their first Blue Sky Classic title since 1998.

Scouting Duquesne
Duquesne enters Saturday's game with a 10-1, 0-0 A-10 record and winners of nine straight after defeating West Virginia, 62-54, on Dec. 20. The win marked the second consecutive win over the Mountaineers for the Dukes. Wumi Agunbiade is leading a pair of Dukes in double figures with 14.0 points per game and a team-best 8.1 rebounds per game. Belma Nurkic is also in double figures with 10.4 points per game. The Dukes are a very balanced squad with 10 of its 11 players averaging at least one point per game. Head coach Suzi McConnell-Serio is in her seventh season at the helm.

Scouting Delaware (Possible Opponent)
The Blue Hens rebounded from their loss to No. 9 Maryland on Dec. 20 with an 82-52 win over Monmouth on Dec. 22. Delaware had All-American, Elena Della Donne; return to action in their last two games, after missing the previous three games with illness. Della Donne leads the Blue Hens with 23.7 points per game, despite just seeing action in three games this season. Danielle Parker leads the rebounding efforts with 9.4 boards per game. Head coach Tina Martin is in her 17th season as head coach.

Scouting Villanova (Possible Opponent)
The Wildcats enter the weekend with a 9-1, 0-0 Big East record after defeating Temple, 55-44, on Dec. 20. Villanova has won its last eight games and hasn't dropped a game since falling to Minnesota back on Nov. 11. Laura Sweeney leads the offense with a team-best 12.1 points and 5.7 rebounds. Rachel Roberts is also in double figures with 11.1 points. Head coach Harry Perretta is in his 35th season at the helm.

Tournament Time
Dartmouth will participate in its first in-season tournament this season with the 2012 Blue Sky Classic. The Big Green has participated in at least one in-season tournament in each of the last five seasons. Dartmouth is looking for its first Blue Sky title since the 1998 tournament. 

Home Sweet Home
This weekend's Blue Sky Classic marks the return of the Big Green to Leede Arena for the first time since their Dec. 9 game against Hartford. The Big Green, who start a three game homestand with the Blue Sky Classic, are 0-3 at Leede Arena this season and are looking for their first home win since March 3 of last season.