Feb. 4, 2008
Iowa, Ohio State and Purdue are all tied atop the Big Ten standings with 8-3 records. Something has to give on Thursday night when the Boilermakers welcome the Buckeyes to Mackey arena for an 8 p.m. ET tip that will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.
Big Ten on TV
Five Big Ten women's basketball games will hit the national airwaves this week beginning with Monday night's contest between Illinois and Michigan at Crisler Arena live on the Big Ten Network. Televised action continues on Thursday as Ohio State travels to Purdue in a matchup of two teams tied for first in the conference standings. The Buckeyes and Boilermakers tip off at 8 p.m. ET live on the Big Ten Network. Sunday features three nationally televised games as Penn State welcomes Iowa and Illinois hosts Indiana on the Big Ten Network. Also that day, Ohio State travels to Wisconsin for a contest that will be broadcast by ESPN2 as part of the network's February Frenzy. The game will be shown in its entirety in the home market.
Big Ten Standings Crowded at the Top
Three teams are currently tied for first place in the Big Ten standings with Ohio State, Iowa and Purdue all owning 8-3 records in conference play. Indiana sits just 1.5 games out of the top trio with a 6-4 Big Ten mark. Minnesota sits in fifth place, but is just two games out of the top spot. Something has to give this week as two of the conference's leaders, Ohio State and Purdue, face off on Thursday in a game that will be broadcast live by the Big Ten Network.
Big Ten Celebrates Black History Month
The Big Ten Conference continues to commemorate the achievements of African-American student-athletes as it launched its Black History Month website on Feb. 1. The site will feature stories on male and female student-athletes from each conference institution and can be found at www.bigten.org. Seven former Big Ten women's basketball players will be highlighted throughout the month. A list of former women's basketball players and the dates on which they will be featured can be found below. Players highlighted this week are in bold.
- Linda Roberts, Minnesota (Feb. 4)
- Michelle Edwards, Iowa (Feb. 9)
- Jessica Davenport, Ohio State (Feb. 12)
- Stacey Thomas, Michigan (Feb. 14)
- Ukari Figgs, Purdue (Feb. 16-17)
- Michele Savage, Northwestern (Feb. 21)
- Kahadeejah Herbert, Penn State (Feb. 28)
Conference Honors Linda Roberts
The Big Ten's Black History Month website currently pays tribute to former Minnesota women's basketball player Linda Roberts. Roberts, the cousin of current Golden Gopher Ashley Ellis-Milan, was a three-time team MVP and an All-American in 1981. Today, she is the Director of Special Events and Outreach for Minnesota Athletics. Read more about her story at www.bigten.org.
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 Jan. 27. Several other "Think Pink" events will take place on Big Ten campuses this week, including at Illinois (Feb. 10), Michigan State (Feb. 11), Minnesota, (Feb. 10), Penn State (Feb. 10) and Wisconsin (Feb. 10). Other events will take place next week with promotions at Indiana (Feb. 17), Iowa (Feb. 17) and Northwestern (Feb. 18).
Ohio State freshman Jantel Lavender has gotten off to a torrid start in her first year of collegiate competition. Lavender ranks in the Big Ten's top five with 16.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per conference game, and sits in the top three with 16.9 points and 9.9 rebounds per game in overall competition. Lavender is one of just two players to have scored in double digits in every game this season and is second in the Big Ten with 10 double-doubles. Among all Division I freshmen, Lavender is third in double-doubles and rebounds per game this season.
Big Ten Mentors Capture, Approach Milestones
Ohio State head coach Jim Foster became just the 13th head coach in NCAA Division I history to reach the 650-career-wins milestone with the Buckeyes' 89-53 victory over Penn State on Jan. 28. Foster joined C. 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 two 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.
Hawkeyes Streaking in Conference Play
Iowa is currently riding a six-game winning streak that has the Hawkeyes in a three-way tie for first place in the conference standings. The six-game streak is the longest of the season for Iowa, and ties the longest streak of the conference season as Ohio State also won six consecutive Big Ten games from Jan. 3-20.
Big Ten teams and student-athletes are some of the nation's best at the free-throw line. As a team, Illinois is ninth in the nation with a .779 shooting percentage at the stripe, while Penn State is 18th (.763) and Michigan is 34th (.743). Kamela Gissendanner and Brianne O'Rourke lead the Lady Lions with respective percentages of .841 and .832 from the line. Michigan State's Kalisha Keane and Allyssa DeHaan rank 30th and 31st in the NCAA with respective averages of .853 and .851. Indiana's Kim Roberson leads the Big Ten with an .875 average from the stripe, but is just under the NCAA's minimum qualification standard.
No Ordinary Jo
Wisconsin's 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 53 combined points against Indiana and Penn State last week, the senior moved into ninth on the conference's career points scoring chart with 2,145. Anderson is leading the conference and is 10th in the nation, averaging 20.5 points per game.