Big Ten Women's Basketball Weekly Release - Jan. 26

Jan. 26, 2010


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Dannielle Diamant, Northwestern

Unlike other incoming Northwestern freshman student-athletes, Dannielle Diamant did not spend her summer on campus taking courses. Instead, in July, the 6-4 forward represented the United States in the Maccabiah Games in Israel. Her team won five games, defeating Great Britain, Australia, Canada and Israel (twice) en route to the gold medal. Diamant, a consistent starter for the ’Cats, is the granddaughter of legendary UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian.

The Amazing Race
Ohio State dropped a tight 63-61 decision on the road against Purdue on Monday, but still holds a one-game lead in the Big Ten standings. Penn State tightened its hold on second place in the conference with two wins last week, right behind the Buckeyes at 7-2.  The Boilermakers are tied with Wisconsin for third, just three games out at 5-4. Minnesota stands alone in fifth at an even 4-4, while Michigan State and Indiana are tied for sixth, followed by a four-way tie in eighth.

Everyone’s a Winner
Iowa’s win on Sunday and Purdue’s win on Monday gave each team 10 or more on the season, marking the first time in Big Ten women’s basketball history that all conference teams recorded 10 or more victories in a season. The wins also improved each team’s overall record to 10-10, making the Big Ten one of just two conferences in the country with all its teams at or above .500 for the season.

Anybody’s Ballgame
Iowa and Michigan picked up their third Big Ten wins of the season on Sunday, guaranteeing for the second straight year that every Big Ten team will finish with at least three wins. Prior to last season, the last time the feat had been accomplished was in 2002-03. Including this year, only eight times in the history of Big Ten women’s basketball have all conference squads posted at least three Big Ten victories. Only once, in 1988-89, have all teams had at least four wins in Big Ten play.

Knocking ‘Em Down
With Purdue’s 63-61 win over No. 4 Ohio State on Monday, the Boilermakers became the eighth Big Ten team to post at least one victory against a top-25 opponent. Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin lead the conference with 2-1 records against ranked opposition, while Michigan State is 2-2. Indiana, Michigan and Northwestern each have one win against top-25 foes.

Big Ten Report Card
The Big Ten continues to boast highly ranked teams in the NCAA RPI report, led by No. 8 Ohio State. Followed by No. 17 Michigan State, No. 21 Wisconsin, No. 34 Penn State and No. 35 Illinois, 45 percent of Big Ten teams are within the RPI’s top 35, which is the second-highest percentage among all conferences (Big 12). No. 43 Michigan makes the Big Ten one of three conferences (ACC and Big 12) with over half its teams ranking in the top 50. The Big Ten is also just one of three conferences (ACC and Big 12) with all its teams ranking among the RPI’s top 105.

Welcome to the Club
Illinois’ Lacey Simpson and Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke became the eighth and ninth active Big Ten players to reach the 1,000 career points milestone on Thursday. Purdue’s FahKara Malone looks to be the next conference player to crack the plateau, needing just 15 points for 1,000.

Sounding Like a Broken Record
Several records fell last week, with many more looking to fall in the near future. On Thursday, Illinois’ Jenna Smith, already her program’s leading rebounder, became the top rebounder in Illinois men’s or women’s basketball history, pulling down 12 boards. With 10 more on Sunday, Smith moved into eighth on the Big Ten’s career rebounding list, currently with 1,037. On Sunday, Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke blocked six shots to become her program’s all-time leader, currently with 221. She now ranks 10th all-time in conference annals. Purdue’s FahKara Malone needs just 11 steals to break her school’s record, currently with 317, ranking 10th in Big Ten history. Michigan State’s Allyssa DeHaan is just 17 blocks away from tying the NCAA’s all-time record, currently with 463.

Double Trouble
Illinois senior Jenna Smith and Ohio State junior Jantel Lavender are two of just four players in NCAA Division I to rank in the nation’s top 20 in points and rebounds per game. Smith is 13th in boards (10.9 rpg) and 19th in points (19.3 ppg), while Lavender is 11th in scoring (21.1 ppg) and 20th on the glass (10.3 rpg). Smith is also second in the country with 13 double-doubles, and Lavender is tied for third with 12. Lavender is the Big Ten’s active career double-doubles leader, with 49, while Smith surpassed her school’s career double-doubles record earlier this season and currently has 45.
Still Streaking
Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender continues to claim the longest double-digit scoring streak in the nation. The junior tallied 17 points against Purdue on Monday, increasing her streak to 88 games, which spans the entire length of her career. Penn State’s Tyra Grant boasts the second-longest active streak in the conference, having posted double-digits in her last 31 straight games, dating back to last season, most recently with a 15-point performance against Illinois on Sunday.

Neighborhood Watch Program
Six Big Ten players earned spots on the Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List. Illinois’ Jenna Smith, Michigan State’s Allyssa DeHaan, Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke, Ohio State’s Samantha Prahalis and Jantel Lavender and Penn State’s Tyra Grant are in contention for the trophy, which is presented annually to college basketball’s Player of the Year.

Wooden is Watching
The Big Ten placed five players on the 2009-10 John R. Wooden Award Women’s Preseason Top 30 List, leading all conferences. Preseason candidates from the Big Ten included Illinois senior Jenna Smith, Michigan State senior Allyssa DeHaan, Ohio State junior Jantel Lavender and sophomore Samantha Prahalis and Penn State senior Tyra Grant. OSU was one of just four schools with multiple players on the list, and Prahalis was the only sophomore to make the cut. DeHaan and Lavender both earned spots on the Midseason Top 20 List, released on Jan. 13.

Wade For Me
Illinois’ Jenna Smith, Michigan State’s Allyssa DeHaan and Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis were also on the 25-player 2009-10 preseason “Wade Watch” list for the State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year. With four selections, the Big Ten is tied with the ACC, Big East and Pac-10 for tops among all conferences. The Buckeyes are one of three schools with multiple players on the list, and Prahalis is one of just two sophomores to be named.

Stay Classy
Illinois’ Jenna Smith, Michigan State’s Allyssa DeHaan and Penn State’s Tyra Grant are candidates for the 2009-10 Lowes Senior CLASS Award. Student-athletes eligible for the award must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - classroom, character, community and competition.

Set Your TiVo
Big Ten women’s basketball will once again experience vast national television coverage, with nearly 90 percent of home games set to be broadcast on the Big Ten Network,, ESPN2 or CBS Sports this season. In addition to its linear network package, will stream additional games that will be produced in HD-quality.

Back Home Again...
Big Ten women’s basketball will once again return to the city of Indianapolis and Conseco Fieldhouse for the 2010 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament. The 2010 event marks the third of a five-year agreement that places both the men’s and women’s tournaments in the Circle City. This year’s tournament will be the ninth consecutive and 15th overall in Indianapolis and will be held on four consecutive days beginning Thursday, March 4. The championship game will be played Sunday, March 7.

Deep in the Heart of Texas
Big Ten women’s basketball has its sights set on San Antonio, Texas, during the 2009-10 season as the 2010 NCAA Women’s Final Four will be held April 4 and 6 at the Alamodome. The conference has sent five teams to the past 11 Final Fours, including two in the last six seasons. The 2010 championship event will be hosted by the University of Texas at San Antonio.