This Week in the Big Ten

Purdue softball coach Kim Maher guided her Boilermakers to a 2-1 upset win over No. 4 UCLA in their season opener this past week.

Purdue softball coach Kim Maher guided her Boilermakers to a 2-1 upset win over No. 4 UCLA in their season opener this past week.

Feb. 8, 2009

[ONE // big ten celebrates black history month…]
The end of last week marked the beginning of the month of February, which meant the Big Ten once again would celebrate Black History Month.  The conference spent the first week of the month honoring six current and former student-athletes in basketball, hockey, tennis, track and volleyball.  Be sure to check out the special Black History Month website on bigten.org and read this past week’s features on Indiana’s Danielle Carruthers, Michigan’s Scooter Vaughan, Northwestern’s Katrina Adams, Ohio State’s Michael Redd, Purdue’s Cheryl Flowers and Wisconsin’s Marcus Landry.

[TWO // …and national girls and women in sports day too]
Not only was the Big Ten celebrating a meaningful month this week, but it was also recognizing a very important day.  Led by its member institutions, the Big Ten was proud to be an active participant in the 23rd annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), celebrated around the country this past Wednesday.  Throughout the week, several schools and their women’s athletic teams celebrated the annual event, which recognizes the participation of girls and women in sport.

[THREE // signing on the dotted line]
Wednesday also gave football fans a reason to celebrate as all 11 conference head coaches and their staffs surrounded the fax machine in the early morning hours to kick off National Letter of Intent Signing Day.  BigTen.org tracked signees from each school throughout the day, while the Big Ten Network offered up its thoughts on the incoming classes later that evening.

[FOUR // spartan women oust conference leader]
Alyssa DeHaan scored 16 points and Lykendra Johnson posted 14 points and 11 rebounds to help the Michigan State women’s basketball team upset 14th-ranked Ohio State 52-46 on Sunday.  The win over the conference leader brought the Spartans to within just a half-game of the Buckeyes.  The victory was witnessed by an announced crowd of 10,400, which marked the eighth-largest figure in school history.  Michigan State’s upset was equally impressive after losing starting point guard Brittney Thomas to a torn ACL after suffering a freak accident while shooting by herself on Friday.

[FIVE // iowa’s houghton reaches milestone at the net]
Congratulations to Iowa men’s tennis coach Steve Houghton as he earned his 300th career victory with a 6-1 Hawkeye victory at Indiana State on Friday.  The win moved the 59th-ranked Hawkeyes to 2-0 on the year.  "I am very happy to have reached 300 wins," Houghton said. "I have been blessed with a lot of great players and a lot of great assistant coaches over all these years."

[SIX // buckeyes’ wadley finds his milestone in the pool]
Speaking of milestone wins, Ohio State men’s swimming head coach Bill Wadley earned one of his own this past week. By capturing two of three meets in a Big Ten quadrangular meet at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, the Buckeyes secured the 199th and 200th wins in Wadley’s 22-year coaching tenure – a career that started with two seasons at Michigan State and the last 20 campaigns at Ohio State.

[SEVEN // michigan’s cameron selected to senior national team]
After claiming ninth place with a two-day all-around total of 171.100 this past Saturday, Michigan sophomore Chris Cameron earned a roster spot on the U.S. Men's Senior National Team.  Competing at the Winter Cup Challenge at the Las Vegas Sports Center, Cameron finished fourth on rings (29.800) and parallel bars (29.600) and placed seventh on floor exercise (29.450).  With the honor, he becomes the Wolverines' first male gymnast to make the senior national team since current assistant coach Scott Vetere served on the squad from 1999-2000. Cameron will hold a place on the team at least until the 2009 Visa Championships this August.

[EIGHT // the diamond is a girl’s best friend]
The Big Ten softball season commenced this week as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin threw their first pitches of the 2009 campaign in non-conference tournament games.  Michigan and Northwestern continue to pace the conference teams as they begin the 2009 season ranked No. 5/8 and No. 11/9 in both national rankings, respectively.  To get things kicked off right, make sure you check out the Big Ten Network’s feature on former conference softball alumni making a difference today.

[NINE // boilermakers beat out the bruins]
Don’t forget about those Purdue Boilermakers though!  In its season-opening contest in Los Angeles, the Purdue softball team upset No. 4 UCLA 2-1 on Saturday.  Prior to the contest, the Boilermakers were 0-18 against Top-5 teams in program history.  “This is a huge win for us,” said Purdue head coach Kim Maher.  “One of our goals for the weekend was to beat UCLA and this goes a long way to prove to ourselves and to other teams out there that Purdue is a team to watch.”

[TEN // conference standouts conclude season in pro bowl]
If you are a Big Ten fan and always wonder what has happened to certain conference alumni, be sure you check out Brent’s Big Blog on bigtennetwork.com.  Editor Brent Yarina does a great job day-in and day-out of keeping up with former conference standouts.  Sunday he provided some great coverage of the Big Ten’s representation in the NFL Pro Bowl game.  As Brent breaks it down, former Purdue product Drew Brees perhaps had the strongest game of the conference standouts, completing 11-of-19 passes for 142 yards and a scoring pass to Larry Fitzgerald, the game's MVP.  Brees and ex-Ohio State defensive back Antoine Winfield, who had an interception and four tackles, helped lead the NFC to a 30-21 triumph.  Former Badger Owen Daniels, making his Pro Bowl debut, hauled in two passes for 20 yards and a score, while ex-Nittany Lions signal-caller Kerry Colllins completed 10-of-15 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.  A total of 13 former Big Ten players participated in the game and their individual Pro Bowl stats can be found in Brent’s blog.

[ELEVEN // good calls, great man]
Finally this week, a nod to Chicago Tribune writer Teddy Greenstein for his piece on retired Big Ten supervisor of officials David Parry.  For those who never came across Dave Parry, who retired from his position at the Big Ten on Jan. 31, check out this article by Teddy that was posted on chicagotribune.com Sunday night.  Dave reflects on a variety of issues and memories over the years, including his first stints as an official, his run-ins with former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight, and his role in the implementation of instant replay in college football.  There has never been a perfect official or referee and Dave will be the first to tell you that.  But what made Dave special, and not to mention so well respected around the conference and country, was his honesty and that certainly comes through in this article.

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