Big Ten Standings Crowded at the Top

Senior Johanna Solverson has her Hawkeyes tied for second in the Big Ten.

Senior Johanna Solverson has her Hawkeyes tied for second in the Big Ten.

Jan. 28, 2008

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The Big Ten standings are crowded at the top entering the second half of conference competition. Four teams are within one game of first-place Ohio State, while two more squads are within two games of the Buckeyes. Three games will be televised by the Big Ten Network this week, including Monday's matchup between OSU and Penn State.

Big Ten on TV
Three Big Ten women's basketball games will reach a national television audience this week, beginning on Monday when conference-leading Ohio State welcomes Penn State for a 7 p.m. ET tilt, live on the Big Ten Network. On Thursday, Northwestern plays host to Iowa, who is in a four-way tie for second in the conference standings, at 8 p.m. CT on the Big Ten Network. Television coverage for the week concludes on Sunday when the Buckeyes host Minnesota at 4 p.m. ET live on the Big Ten Network in a re-match of last week's contest that saw the Gophers knock off No. 15/15 OSU in Minneapolis.

Big Ten Mentors On Track For Coaching Records
Ohio State head coach Jim Foster picked up his 649th career victory with the Buckeyes' 79-74 win against Wisconsin on Jan. 20. Foster is just one win shy of becoming the 13th head coach in Division I history to reach the 650-career-wins mark. Foster will join Vivian Stringer (Iowa, 1984-95), Rene Portland (Penn State, 1981-07), Tara VanDerveer (Ohio State, 1981-85) and Theresa Grentz (Illinois, 1996-07) as coaches with 650 or more career wins that have spent time on a Big Ten campus. Iowa's Lisa Bluder is just four wins shy of 500 career victories. Bluder would become the third active Big Ten head coach in the 500-wins club, joining Foster and Michigan's Kevin Borseth.

Big Ten Standings Crowded at the Top
The 2007-08 Big Ten standings are crowded at the top with four teams within one game and six teams within two games of conference-leading Ohio State. For the first time since the 2001-02 campaign, all 11 conference squads have at least two losses through nine games of the Big Ten schedule.

PSU's Washington is a Rising Star
Penn State head coach Coquese Washington was recently named the Division I Rising Star among coaches by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). Washington is in her first year as a head coach after having spent the last two seasons as associate head coach at Notre Dame and the previous six as an assistant with the Fighting Irish.

Three Big Ten Standouts Advance in Naismith Voting
Michigan State's Allyssa DeHaan, Ohio State's Jantel Lavender and Wisconsin's Jolene Anderson were named mid-season candidates for the 2008 Naismith Award, which honors the college women's basketball player of the year. DeHaan, Lavender and Anderson represent three of a 31-member group that will vie for the award which will be presented at the Women's Final Four in Tampa, Fla.

Packing the House
Big Ten teams are once again drawing some of the largest crowds in the nation. According to a weekly unofficial attendance report issued by the University of Wisconsin Athletic Communications office, the Big Ten boasts four teams in the top 15 of average attendance. No other conference places a higher percentage of its teams in that range, and four teams places the Big Ten in  a tie with the Big 12 for the national lead among conferences. The Big Ten has finished either first or second in average attendance in each of the past 15 seasons. The attendance report can be found on Page 4 of this release.

Fresh Face
Ohio State center Jantel Lavender is among the top freshmen in the nation, currently ranking third among her classmates in all of NCAA Division I in rebounding. The Cleveland, Ohio, native is the only Big Ten player averaging a double-double in overall and conference-only action, putting in 16.7 points (15.9 Big Ten) and 10.3 rebounds (10.6 Big Ten) per contest. Lavender is tied with Illinois' Jenna Smith with 10 double-doubles this season. Lavender and Smith are the only two players in the conference to have scored in double digits in each game played this campaign.

Hawkeyes Streaking Into Second Half
Iowa
heads into the second half of the conference season riding a four-game winning streak, which ties the team's longest of the season. The last time Iowa posted a Big Ten winning streak of four games or more in the same season was during the 2003-04 campaign when the Hawkeyes won five straight. Iowa's four-game conference winning streak is the second-longest of the 2007-08 campaign, trailing only Ohio State's six-game Big Ten win streak from Jan. 3-20.

Michigan's Benson Sees 20-20 vs. Indiana and Iowa
Junior Carly Benson registered 22 points in each of Michigan's games last week. Benson is the only Wolverine to record back-to-back 20-point games this season and is the first to do it since Tabitha Pool registered four consecutive 20-point games in the 2004-05 season. Benson is one of just eight Big Ten players to record back-to-back 20-point games this season.

No Ordinary Jo
Wisconsin senior Jolene Anderson became the 12th player in Big Ten history to crack 2,000 career points on Jan. 13, and is continuing to climb the conference's all-time scoring list. With 24 points against Northwestern on Sunday, the senior moved into 10th on the conference's career points scoring with 2,092.

Minnesota Senior has Career "Knight" vs. OSU
Minnesota senior Leslie Knight scored a career-high 33 points to lead the Golden Gophers to a win over No. 15/15 Ohio State on Thursday. Knight is the fifth player this season to drop 30 or more points in a contest. The Gophers' win over conference-leading Ohio State gives the squad a perfect 2-0 record against nationally ranked teams this season. Minnesota also defeated then-No. 22/21 Louisville in the championship game of the Subway Basketball Classic on Nov. 18.

Solverson's Career High Leads to Iowa Win
Iowa's Johanna Solverson netted a career-high 28 points in the Hawkeyes' 66-61 win over Michigan on Sunday. The total is five better than her previous high set in 2004.  Solverson, a sixth-year senior, spent the last two seasons recovering from knee injuries.

Big Ten Thinks Pink
Several Big Ten teams will "Think Pink" this season as part of the initiative sponsored by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association in an effort to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. Purdue was the first conference squad to participate in the campaign when the Boilermakers hosted Illinois on Sunday. Other "Think Pink" events will take place in February.