Jan. 11, 2011
Get to Know Her
Anya Covington, Wisconsin
6-2, Jr., F, Edwardsville, Ill./Edwardsville
Junior Anya Covington is in her second year of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Issues Committee. As a member of the committee, Covington works with influential coaches and administrators from across the country, including Ceal Barry, Susan Donohoe, Beth Bass and Lisa Stockton. The committee covers everything from educational development of student-athletes to better game scheduling and the recruiting process. The committee meets at least three times a year, including at the NCAA Final Four, and also has regularly scheduled teleconferences.
After the second week of Big Ten play, eight teams are at or above .500 in conference action. Michigan State is the conference’s lone undefeated team, boasting a 3-0 record in Big Ten play. The Spartans are trailed by second-place Wisconsin at 3-1 and third-place Penn State at 2-1. Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern and Purdue are each 2-2 in conference play. With 10 conference games on this week’s schedule, each Big Ten contest will be nationally broadcast by ESPN2, the Big Ten Network, or streamed online at www.bigtennetwork.com.
Where We Rank
Three Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 25 of the latest Associated Press poll, highlighted by Michigan State’s climb into the top 10 this week at No. 9. Iowa moved up to No. 16 this week, while Ohio State appeared at No. 24 in the rankings. In the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, Michigan State jumped to No. 10 this week, Iowa moved up two spots to No. 20 and Ohio State checked in at No. 24. Michigan is among the teams also receiving votes in this week’s coaches poll.
Nothing New Here
Each time on the court, history shows two conference standouts will score in double-figures. Ohio State senior Jantel Lavender has scored 10 or more points in each game she has played in during her career, scoring in double digits in 117 straight contests, the longest active streak in the nation. In addition, Northwestern senior Amy Jaeschke has posted 10 or more points in 33 straight games for the Wildcats.
In the latest ratings percentage index (RPI) released by the NCAA, six Big Ten teams appeared in the top 30, tied for the most of any conference in the nation. Also with six, the Big East joins the Big Ten in ranking ahead of the ACC (5), Pac-10 (4) and SEC (3). Iowa is the highest-rated Big Ten team at No. 10, followed by No. 14 Ohio State and No. 16 Michigan State. Michigan is ranked No. 22, while Northwestern appears at No. 24 and Penn State checks in at No. 27.
Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender had a career day against Indiana last week. The senior finished the night with 22 points and a career-high 22 rebounds, tied for the sixth-most in Big Ten single-game history. It is also the first time since 2009 a player has finished with 20 or more points and 20 or more rebounds in a game. Iowa’s Kachine Alexander accomplished the feat as a sophomore on Feb. 1 2009, totaling 26 points and 21 rebounds.
Climbing the Charts
With her 14-point outing against Iowa on Saturday, Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender became just the fourth player in Big Ten history to surpass 2,400 career points. She is fourth on the all-time scoring list with 2,401 career tallies, trailing third-place MaChelle Joseph of Purdue (2,405), second-place Katie Smith of Ohio State (2,578) and all-time leader Kelly Mazzante of Penn State (2,919). In addition, she moved into second on the career rebounds list with 1,227, passing former Illinois standout Jenna Smith and her 1,217 career total. Lavender trails only Indiana’s Denise Jackson, who finished her career with 1,273.
The top 10 leading scorers in the Big Ten thus far represent nine conference schools, with Penn State being the only program with two players in the top 10. Freshman Maggie Lucas is sixth in the Big Ten at 16.4 points per game, while sophomore teammate Alex Bentley is ninth at 15.4 points per contest. Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender and Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke are the Big Ten’s top two scorers at more than 20 points per game, while Leah Cotton of Minnesota rounds out the top 10 at 14.8 points per game.
A pair or conference newcomers have provided immediate support to their teams as freshman this season. Penn State’s Maggie Lucas and Purdue’s Courtney Moses have each won five Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors this season, breaking the record of four set by Illinois’ Karisma Penn and Iowa’s Jaime Printy last year. Lucas ranks sixth in the Big Ten in scoring at 16.4 points per game, while Moses is 16th at 13.0 ppg. Lucas is first in the Big Ten in three-pointers made per game (3.2) while Moses is second in the conference in three-point shooting percentage (.482).
Big Ten teams and student-athletes rank at or near the top of the national statistics leaders in numerous categories. Penn State is No. 1 in the country in three-point field goal percentage at 44.3 percent, with Zhaque Gray ranking 12th (45.9) and Maggie Lucas 26th (43.7) nationally from behind the arc. Lucas is ranked seventh nationally in three-pointers per game (3.2). Michigan ranks ninth in the country in fewest turnovers per game (14.1), while Northwestern is 10th in blocks per game at 5.7 per outing. Individually, Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender and Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke continue to rank in the top five in points per game, while Buckeye teammate Samantha Prahalis is third in assists per game. Jaeschke is fifth in blocks per game and Lavender is seventh in rebounds per game. To see where the Big Ten ranks among the national statistical leaders, please turn to Page 5 of this release.
A pair of conference coaches reached landmark wins last week. Purdue’s Sharon Versyp won her 100th game as the Boilermakers’ coach with a 65-64 win over Michigan on Thursday, while Iowa’s Lisa Bluder claimed her 100th Big Ten victory as Iowa’s head coach in an 89-76 win over Ohio State on Saturday.
Still in the Hunt
Iowa’s Kachine Alexander and Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender were named to the John R. Wooden Award midseason top 20 list, which was announced on Tuesday morning. Alexander and Lavender have guided their teams to top 25-status this season, as Alexander is averaging 14.0 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, while Lavender leads the Big Ten in scoring (23.8) and rebounding (11.7). The finalists will be announced in March, with the winner being honored on April 8.
Marching Toward March
The Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament returns to Indianapolis March 3-6, 2011 for the fourth of a five-year agreement that puts both the men’s and women’s events in the Circle City. All-session tickets for the 2011 Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments are on sale now. For more information, visit www.bigten.org.