This Week in the Big Ten

Feb. 15, 2009

[ONE // black history month continues]
The Big Ten's celebration of Black History Month continued this past week by honoring current and former student-athletes on the track, basketball court and football field.  We learned of the story of Iowa football's Andre Tippett on Monday, as well as basketball standouts John Amaechi of Penn State, Lauren Aitch of Michigan State and Ohio State's Tracey (Hall) Yarbrough.  We were also given an inside look into the life and career of track standouts Willie Williams of Illinois and Wisconsin's Chavon Robinson.  For more information on this past week's feature, visit the Black History Month website by clicking here.

[TWO // cookin' it from 3]
Congratulations to former Ohio State basketball standout Daequan Cook as the Miami Heat player captured the NBA 3-Point Shootout title on Saturday.  The event was held as part of the NBA All-Star Weekend and had to go to extra sessions to decide a winner.  Cook, who helped the Buckeyes reach the 2007 Final Four, posted a winning score of 19 points in the overtime person to top Orlando's Rashard Lewis and end Toronto's Jason Kapono's two-year run as the NBA perimeter champion.

[THREE // smitty does it again]
Another former Buckeye helped capture an NBA All-Star event title on Saturday when Katie Smith led Team Detroit to the Shooting Stars competition.  The event features a 3-person team made up of a NBA retired player, a current player, and a WNBA player from an NBA city, and calls for players to shoot from six locations of increasing difficulty.  Smith joined Detroit Pistons guard Arron Affalalo and her Detroit Shock coach and former Pistons "Bad Boy" Bill Laimbeer to help Team Detroit regain its title from 2007 after finishing as runner-up last year.

[FOUR // former big ten freshman honoree shines in nba rookie challenge]
This past Friday the NBA All-Star Weekend began with the Rookie Challenge, featuring former Big Ten Freshman of the Year honoree Eric Gordon.  The Indiana star was the second-leading scorer for the rookies in their 122-116 loss to the second-year players.  Gordon scored 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and notched 10 of his team's first 16 points.  The Los Angeles Clippers guard ended with six rebounds, two assists and two steals as well.

[FIVE // wisconsin's harris finishes second in skills challenge; plays in all-star game]
Yet another former Big Ten standout shined in the events leading up to the NBA All-Star Game.  Devin Harris, who was named 2004 Big Ten Player of the Year as a junior at Wisconsin, fell to Chicago rookie Derrick Rose in the Skills Challenge on Saturday night.  The event was essentially an obstacle course where players had to complete drills in dribbling, passing and shooting.  Harris finished the course in 39.7 seconds, but was bested by Rose who turned in a time 4.4 seconds quicker.  On Sunday night, Harris, who is averaging 21.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game for the New Jersey Nets, made his All-Star debut as a reserve guard for the Eastern Conference.

[SIX // badgers and buckeyes shine on college gameday]
Much of the week in review has already been about basketball and former hoops standouts from Ohio State and Wisconsin.  So it's only fitting that ESPN's College GameDay was in Madison Saturday for the battle between the Buckeyes and Badgers.  And what a game it was!  The contest featured eight ties and 17 lead changes and ultimately saw Wisconsin pull out a 55-50 win over OSU at the Kohl Center.

[SEVEN // records made to be broken]
For the Illinois and Michigan State women's gymnastics teams, the adage "records are made to be broken" proved to be true this past weekend.  The Fighting Illini topped No. 18 Ohio State, 196.700-195.675, on Sunday to set a new team high.  The previous school record of 196.300 was set in 2004.  Spartan sophomore Kelsey Morley stole the show for MSU on Saturday, breaking the program record on the balance beam with a 9.975. Morley also set personal bests in the all-around, on the bars and in the floor exercise, while the team set a season-high with a 194.775.  Unfortunately, the Spartans fell overall to No. 9 Florida (196.850).

[EIGHT // lady lions go pink, then turn blue]
The Penn State women's basketball team welcomed the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sunday as well as 9,536 fans dressed in pink for the Third Annual WBCA Pink Zone game. The crowd was the largest in Pink Zone history and was the largest Lady Lion home crowd since Feb. 20, 2005 against Northwestern.  And while Penn State led by as many 20 points in the second half, the Hawkeyes charged back to capture a 63-57 win on the road.  In doing so, Iowa set its largest comeback in school history, topping an 18-point comeback over Indiana in the 2001 Big Ten Tournament.

[NINE // diving for her country]
Congratulations to Indiana senior diver Christina Loukas, who was named to the USA Diving 2009 World Championship team on Sunday. She was one of six 2008 Olympians selected to the World Championship team as Loukas and fellow Olympians Ariel Rittenhouse will represent the USA on the three-meter springboard, while Brittany Viola will join Loukas in the one-meter competition.  The 2009 FINA World Championships will take place July 18-25 in Rome, Italy.  This weekend, Loukas will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships.

[TEN // hoosiers claim inaugural match play championship]
While one Hoosier was excelling on the diving board this past week, a host of Indiana golfers did the same on the golf course.  Ranked in the top 10 in most national polls, Indiana topped Michigan, 3.5-2.5, in the finals of the first annual Big Ten Match Play Championship on Saturday.  En route to the inaugural title, Indiana defeated Purdue, 4.0-2.0, in the opening round and then ousted Michigan State by a score of 4.5-1.5.

[ELEVEN // lesnar the focus of big ten network feature]
Finally this week, the Big Ten Network released a preview of an upcoming feature on former Minnesota wrestler and Big Ten Champion Brock Lesnar.  The 2000 NCAA Champion has excelled in professional wrestling and mixed martial arts, having won the WWE Championship three times and recently the UFC Heavyweight Championship in November.  Keep your eyes peeled for the full-length feature.