Jan. 4, 2011
Get to Know Her
Morgan Johnson, Iowa
6-5, So., C, Platte City, Mo./Platte County
Sophomore Morgan Johnson’s talents are not limited to just the hardwood. Morgan is classically trained in three instruments; flute, oboe and piano. Morgan also excels academically and earned an impressive invitation before she even set foot on campus. Last year, Morgan was one of just 30 students chosen out of the entire freshmen class at Iowa to take part in the Presidential Leadership class, taught by UI President Sally Mason.
The Big Ten Conference season opened last week with four teams boasting unblemished marks. Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin each enter the second week of Big Ten play with 2-0 records. Michigan State played just once last week and is 1-0. Meanwhile, three conference teams split their opening two contests as Illinois, Northwestern and Penn State are 1-1 through the first week of the conference slate. This week, Nine conference matchups that will be nationally televised on CBS Sports, the Big Ten Network or streamed online at www.BigTenNetwork.com.
Where We Rank
Five Big Ten teams were mentioned in the latest Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls, including three in the top 25. Michigan State climbed in both polls, appearing at No. 11 in the AP rankings and No. 13 in the coaches poll. Ohio State and Iowa were ranked in succession in both polling services, Nos. 20 and 21, respectively in the AP poll and Nos. 21 and 22, respectively, in the coaches poll. Michigan and Northwestern were among the other teams receiving votes in the AP and ESPN/USA Today rankings.
Strong out of the Gate
Three Big Ten teams opened the conference season with victories in their first two games last week. Indiana opened the conference season 2-0 for the second time in three years, Michigan is 2-0 to start Big Ten play for the first time since the 1999-2000 season, and Wisconsin won its first two conference games for the first time 2001-02. Michigan State played once last week and is 1-0 in Big Ten play.
Back to 16
After conference teams spent the past three seasons competing in 18-game Big Ten schedules, the conference squads will go back to a 16-game slate for the 2010-11 campaign. Big Ten teams played 16-game conference schedules from 1994-2007, and competed in 18-game slates from 1982-1993 and 2007-2010.
Opening With a Bang
Several conference standouts opened the conference season with outstanding performances last week. Illinois’ Karisma Penn recorded a pair of double-doubles against Minnesota and Michigan State, bringing her conference-leading total to 10 this season. Indiana’s Jori Davis scored 31 points in an overtime win against Minnesota and 24 in the Hoosiers’ conference opener versus Northwestern, while Michigan State’s Kalisha Keane scored 27 points in the Spartans’ Big Ten opener against Illinois. Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke scored 23 points in a win over Purdue, a game that saw Boilermaker freshman Courtney Moses nail six three-pointers en route to a 22-point outing, and Wisconsin’s Alyssa Karel scored 23 points against Penn State to help the Badgers to 2-0 in Big Ten play.
Watch out Ranked Foes
After knocking off then-No. 24 Boston College on Dec. 22 and ranked opponents Ohio State and Iowa in its first two games of the conference season, Michigan has defeated three straight ranked opponents for the first time in program history. After knocking off Boston College, the Wolverines defeated #13 Ohio State on Thursday and No. 14 Iowa on Sunday and move to 3-3 against teams in the top 25 of the AP or ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll this season. Michigan will face its seventh ranked opponent of the season when it faces No. 11 Michigan State on Sunday.
Nothing New Here
Ohio State senior Jantel Lavender entered her final season having scored in double-figures in each game she played in during her career. That streak has continued thus far in 2010-11 as she has now scored 10 or more points in 115 straight contests – the longest active streak in the nation. In addition, Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke has posted double-figures in 31 straight contests.
In the first RPI report of 2011, five Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 20, the most of any conference in the nation. Ohio State leads the way for the conference at No. 12, with Iowa and Michigan following close behind at Nos. 13 and 14. Michigan State and Northwestern round out the Big Ten teams in the top 20, with the Spartans appearing at No. 18 and the Wildcats checking in at No. 19.
Big Ten teams and student-athletes rank at or near the top of the national statistics leaders in numerous categories. Penn State and Northwestern each rank among the top 10 in three-point field goal percentage, while the Wildcats rank ninth in assists per game and 10th in blocks per game. In addition, three conference teams, Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa, rank among the top 20 nationally in fewest turnovers per game. Individually, the Big Ten is the only conference in the nation with two standouts in the top five in scoring as Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender is second at 24.7 points per game and Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke is fifth at 23.6 points per contest. Ohio State’s Samantha Prahalis ranks second in the nation in assists at 7.5 per game and Jaeschke is fifth in blocks at 4.0 per game. With 10 double-doubles on the season, Illinois’ Karisma Penn ranks third nationally.
Ready to Join the Club
A pair Big Ten standouts are approaching career milestones in points or rebounds in the coming games. Iowa’s Kachine Alexander is seven points shy of joining the club, which boasts seven active members. Indiana’s Jori Davis needs one rebound to become part of the 500 career rebounds list.
Winning With Authority
Big Ten teams have combined for 93 non-conference wins thus far this season, with 37 coming by 21 or more points. Michigan State and Purdue have six wins of 21 or more, followed by Iowa and Penn State with five each. In total 10 conference teams have recorded at least one non-conference victory by 21 or more points.
A pair of conference coaches reached landmark wins last week or are nearing milestones in the coming games. With a 60-53 victory over Iowa on Sunday, Michigan coach Kevin Borseth recorded his 500th NCAA victory. In West Lafayette, Purdue’s Sharon Versyp is just two wins shy of her 100th as the Boilermaker coach.
Mark Your Calendars
Game times for two contests next Sunday, Jan. 9, were set by the conference office. The in-state clash between Michigan State and Michigan will tip at Noon ET, while the contest between Minnesota and Wisconsin will be televised by the Big Ten Network at 4 p.m. ET.