Jan. 17, 2010
[ONE // former big ten standouts named nfl’s best]
While this past week was the first week without college football, that didn’t stop former Big Ten standouts from earning awards on the professional gridiron. Congratulations to former Purdue and current New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and former Michigan and current Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson on being named Tuesday the Sporting News’ NFL Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively. Brees earned his second straight Sporting News accolade, which was selected by a panel of 636 players, coaches and executives. He received 299 first-place votes from the 583 players polled, while Woodson earned 241 first-place votes for his win. In addition, Woodson was also honored Tuesday as The Associated Press 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
[TWO // topsy-turvy week in men’s basketball]
With wins over Illinois and Minnesota this week, Michigan State now has sole possession of first place in the men’s basketball standings at 5-0. In other conference news, Northwestern defended its home court with a 72-64 win over No. 6 Purdue – a team that also fell 70-66 at home to Ohio State earlier in the week. The Buckeyes found the win column for a second time this past week with a 60-51 victory over No. 13/16 Wisconsin. Also on Sunday, Michigan posted a 68-63 win over No. 15 Connecticut in front of a sold out crowd at Crisler Arena as well as a nationally-televised audience on CBS.
[THREE // buckeyes continue to roll in women’s hoops]
The Ohio State women’s basketball continues to dominate the regular season as the Buckeyes posted wins over Illinois and Indiana this past week to move to 7-0 in league play. Penn State captured a road win at Iowa and topped Michigan State in State College this week to remain in second place at 5-2.
[FOUR // big ten pair among women’s wooden award candidates]
A pair of Big Ten centers -- Michigan State's Allyssa DeHaan and Ohio State's Jantel Lavender -- appeared on the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 20 Candidates list, released on Wednesday. The list is compiled based on individual excellence and team record during the first half of the season. DeHaan is averaging more than 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks per contest this season, while Lavender leads the Big Ten in scoring at 22.0 points a contest and is second in the conference with 10.2 rebounds a game. The John R. Wooden Award, which will be presented on April 9, is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball and is presented to the nation's best player who also excels in the classroom.
[FIVE // more honors for hodge]
Congratulations to Penn State senior Megan Hodge on being named the 2010 Honda Sports Award winner in the sport of volleyball, earning the distinction of the nation’s top collegiate female athlete in that sport. Hodge is the second consecutive and fourth overall Big Ten player to earn the award, following Penn State’s Nicole Fawcett, who earned the distinction last season. Penn State’s Lauren Cacciamani won the award in 1999, and Illinois’ Mary Eggers was the 1998 winner. Hodge is the second Big Ten student-athlete to receive the Honda Sports Award this season as Illinois cross country runner and NCAA Champion Angela Bizzarri earned the coveted honor for her sport in December.
[SIX // illini’s bizzarri named to indoor track preseason watch list]
Speaking of Illinois’ Angela Bizzarri, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced on Thursday she was one of 10 female collegiate track & field athletes named to the official preseason watch list for the 2010 awarding of The Bowerman as selected by The Bowerman Women's Watch Committee. On the track in 2009, Bizzarri was the NCAA champ at 5000 meters and placed third in the event at the USATF Championships. At the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, Bizzarri accounted for 18 team points as winner of the 5000 meters and as runner-up in the 1500. Indoors, Bizzarri placed fourth at 3000 meters.
[SEVEN // spartans’ hockey star earns ncaa’s top honor]
It seemed to be a week of awards for Big Ten student-athletes this past week. Congrats to former Michigan State hockey player Jeff Lerg on being named one of the NCAA 2010 Top VIII Award winners at the NCAA Convention in Atlanta on Friday. The Today's Top VIII award, the highest honor given to an undergraduate by the NCAA, recognizes current student-athletes who have completed their athletics eligibility for their success on the fields and courts, in the classroom and in the community. Lerg is the second Michigan State athlete to win this prestigious award, joining basketball standout Greg Kelser, who was selected in 1980.
[EIGHT // three conference soccer standouts taken in mls superdraft]
Three Big Ten men’s soccer standouts were selected this past weekend in the 2010 Major League Soccer SuperDraft. Michigan midfielder Mauro Fuzetti was taken in the third round by the Kansas City Wizards as the 41st pick. Just three selections later, Indiana midfielder Eric Alexander was picked at No. 44 by FC Dallas. In the fourth round, at pick No. 52, the Wizards grabbed another conference star in Indiana defender Ofori Sarkodie. The 2010 SuperDraft consisted of four rounds with sixteen selections each, for a total of 64 players selected during the draft.
[NINE // hawkeyes highlight week in wrestling]
In a week of Big Ten wrestling that saw Indiana defend its home mat, Purdue post a 2-1 record at the Wendy’s Duals and Northwestern grabbing three wins at the Lone Star Duals, clearly the highlight for the conference was top-ranked Iowa’s 19-16 win over No. 4 Oklahoma State on Saturday. A crowd of 10,967 was on hand and a national audience watched on the Big Ten Network as the Hawkeyes picked up their 52nd straight dual win by defeating the Cowboys for the first time in Carver-Hawkeye Arena since December 4, 2000. Both teams won five bouts, but Iowa's bonus-point wins at 125, 149 and 174 were the difference in the final team score. Iowa remained undefeated on the season at 14-0, while handing Oklahoma State (8-1-1) its first season loss.
[TEN // big ten women’s tennis teams hit the court]
Seven Big Ten women’s tennis teams opened up their 2010 seasons this past weekend, including 11-time defending conference champion Northwestern. The Wildcats hosted a non-scoring singles competition on their home courts in Evanston. Also competing in singles competition was Illinois, Michigan and Purdue. In dual competition, Indiana opened the season with a 5-2 win over Western Michigan, followed by a 7-0 sweep of the Butler – the first of was head coach Lin Loring's 1,000th career match. Minnesota won the final three singles matches to rally past Iowa State for a season-opening women's tennis victory on Sunday, while Wisconsin swept Northern Illinois in Madison.
[ELEVEN // the passing of a fighter]
Keeping with women’s tennis, the Big Ten was saddened to learn of the passing of a former conference tennis player on Saturday – one who competed with the disease that eventually took her life. Karie Schlukebir Pennock, who spent six years at Indiana to complete her four seasons of eligibility, passed away Saturday after losing her fight against cancer. She was 29. In 2006, Karie was featured in a Dream Big article on bigten.org that highlighted her battle with the disease and the success she had in initially beating it. Our thoughts are with the Schlukebir and Pennock families as well as the entire Indiana tennis community.