• Three-time defending Big Ten champion Maryland is atop the conference standings by 1.5 games over Nebraska and Ohio State following the Terrapins’ 64-57 win at Nebraska on Sunday. Maryland, which is 58-4 (.935) all-time in Big Ten regular season play, is aiming to become the third school in conference history to earn four consecutive regular-season titles and the first since Ohio State won or shared six in a row from 2004-05 through 2009-10 (the Buckeyes also earned five straight from 1982-83 through 1986-87, while Iowa secured four in a row from 1986-87 through 1989-90).
• The 2018 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament is three weeks away, with all-session tickets currently on sale and single-session tickets available for purchase beginning Feb. 13 (details can be found on page two of this release). The 25th Big Ten Tournament will take place Feb. 28-March 4 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. As part of the Silver Anniversary celebration surrounding this year’s tournament, the Big Ten is looking back at some of the memorable students and moments in Big Ten Tournament history through regular features on the official Big Ten women’s basketball Twitter account, @B1GWBBall (use the hashtag #B1G25WBB to follow along).
• Credential applications for the 2018 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament are now being accepted. Media members are invited to go online to office.bigten.org/media to submit their applications — the deadline to apply for tournament credentials is Friday, Feb. 16. For more information, contact Chris Masters in the Big Ten Communications office.
• Rutgers became the 10th different Big Ten school to earn a win over a Top 25 opponent this season after the Scarlet Knights’ 63-56 victory over No. 13/14 Michigan on Sunday. It was Rutgers’ first win over a ranked school since Feb. 5, 2015, when the Scarlet Knights defeated No. 19/18 Nebraska, 46-43.
• Iowa junior forward/center Megan Gustafson set a conference record on Monday with her seventh Big Ten Player of the Week award this season, surpassing Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender, who earned the honor six times in 2010-11. Gustafson also set a school record (for men’s or women’s basketball) on Sunday by posting her 49th career double-double with 25 points and 15 rebounds in the Hawkeyes’ 92-84 win over Minnesota. Gustafson topped the previous Iowa double-double record held by men’s basketball standout Kevin Kunnert (48 from 1971-73).
• Ohio State senior guard Kelsey Mitchell set an NCAA Division I record on Saturday by making a three-pointer in her 81st consecutive game during the Buckeyes’ 68-55 win at Wisconsin. Mitchell surpassed the mark set by UT Martin’s Heather Butler from 2011-13. Mitchell also holds the NCAA all-division record for career three-pointers made (456), topping the record held by Laura Malernee of Division II West Liberty (441 from 2008-11). In addition, Mitchell is fourth on the NCAA Division I career scoring list with a Big Ten-record 3,141 points.
• Three Big Ten students were named to the John R. Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 List on Monday. Iowa’s Megan Gustafson, Michigan’s Katelynn Flaherty and Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell remain in contention for a spot on the Wooden Award National Ballot, which will feature the final 15 candidates for this year’s honor when the ballot is unveiled at the end of the regular season.
• Minnesota’s Carlie Wagner became the fifth active Big Ten student to score 2,000 points in her career, reaching the milestone with her 20-point outing in Sunday’s loss at Iowa. Wagner has 2,010 points, joining Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell, Michigan’s Katelynn Flaherty, Rutgers’ Tyler Scaife and Indiana’s Tyra Buss as current Big Ten students with 2,000 points (see chart on page four of this release).
• Four of the nation’s top 10 active NCAA Division I scoring leaders are Big Ten students — Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell (1st - 3,141; also fourth in NCAA D-I history), Michigan’s Katelynn Flaherty (2nd - 2,601), Rutgers’ Tyler Scaife (7th - 2,092) and Indiana’s Tyra Buss (8th - 2,090), with Minnesota’s Carlie Wagner just outside the top 10 in 11th (2,010).
• A total of 13 Big Ten students (representing nine conference schools) have scored 30 points in a game this season. The Big Ten’s 30-point scorers this year include: Indiana’s Tyra Buss, Iowa’s Megan Gustafson (five times), Maryland’s Kaila Charles (twice) and Eleanna Christinaki, Michigan’s Katelynn Flaherty (twice), Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell (four times) and Carlie Wagner, Northwestern’s Lindsey Pulliam, Ohio State’s Stephanie Mavunga and Kelsey Mitchell (seven times), Penn State’s Jaida Travascio-Green and Teniya Page, and Purdue’s Andreona Keys.
• The Big Ten ranks No. 3 in Tuesday’s NCAA conference RPI, while six Big Ten schools are among the top 50 in the team RPI rankings, including four in the top 25. Ohio State leads the way at No. 5, joined by No. 14 Rutgers, No. 18 Maryland and No. 23 Iowa. Michigan is next at No. 34, followed by Purdue at No. 35, with Minnesota (No. 52), Nebraska (No. 56) and Michigan State (No. 60) not far off.
• The Big Ten has seven schools in the top 50 of Tuesday’s Sagarin ratings. The conference group includes No. 9 Maryland, No. 13 Ohio State, No. 23 Michigan, No. 30 Iowa, No. 31 Rutgers, No. 36 Michigan State and No. 37 Minnesota, with Nebraska (No. 53) and Purdue (No. 54) on the doorstep.
• Seven Big Ten schools are ranked or receiving votes in the latest Associated Press or USA Today polls, led by No. 10 (AP)/No. 9 (USA Today) Maryland. Ohio State is also ranked in both polls at No. 13/13, as is Michigan at No. 21/20. Iowa and Rutgers are receiving votes in both polls this week, while Nebraska and Purdue earned votes in the AP poll. Ten of the 14 Big Ten schools have been ranked or receiving votes for at least one week this year.
• The Big Ten has two of the nation’s most improved programs this season, with Rutgers owning 12 more wins than last year and Nebraska at 10 wins more than its total in 2016-17. The Big Ten record for the most improvement from one season to the next (combining the difference in wins and losses, dividing by two) is +14.5 by Iowa in 1995-96 (11-17 to 27-4).
• Eleven of the 14 Big Ten programs rank among the top 50 in the nation in attendance, including six in the top 25, according to Tuesday’s NCAA statistics report. Michigan State leads the way at No. 8 nationally (5,943 fans per game), joined by No. 9 Purdue (5,937), No. 11 Ohio State (5,548), No. 13 Maryland (5,254), No. 14 Iowa (5,148) and No. 20 Nebraska (4,108). The other Big Ten schools currently among the top 50 in the nation in attendance are Wisconsin (26th - 3,748), Indiana (34th - 3,109), Michigan (37th - 3,047), Penn State (38th - 3,031) and Minnesota (40th - 2,968).
• Indiana’s Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill, and Minnesota’s Carlie Wagner are among 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award, which is presented annually to a senior basketball student who has made notable achievements in the award’s four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. The field of 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists in February, with the 2017-18 Senior CLASS Award recipient announced during this year’s NCAA Women’s Final Four in Columbus. Iowa’s Samantha Logic is the most recent Big Ten women’s basketball student to earn the Senior CLASS Award, doing so in 2014-15.
• Five students (three players, two graduate assistants) from Big Ten schools are among this year’s class for the 16th annual “So You Want To Be A Coach” program, to be held March 28-30 at the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Convention in Columbus, Ohio. Illinois’ Jenn Dynis (graduate assistant), Michigan’s Jillian Dunston and Danielle Williams (graduate assistant), and Nebraska’s Jasmine Cincore and Emily Wood will participate in the workshop, which is designed to, among other objectives, increase the understanding and application of skills necessary to secure coaching position in women’s basketball and achieve success in those roles.
• The 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four will be played March 30 and April 1, right in the heart of Big Ten country in Columbus, Ohio, and co-hosted by Ohio State and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission at Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. This will mark the seventh time the Women’s Final Four is held within the Big Ten Conference footprint, with three visits to Indianapolis (2005, 2011, 2016), two others in the state of Ohio (Cincinnati-1997, Cleveland-2007) and the 1995 event in Minneapolis (the last time it was held in a city featuring a Big Ten institution).
• Former Ohio State All-America guard and 1996 Big Ten Player of the Year Katie Smith (’96) is one of this year’s 10 finalists for induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Smith was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and recipient of the NCAA postgraduate scholarship, in addition to being a three-time all-conference pick and the No. 5 scorer in conference history. The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2018 will be announced Feb. 12 and enshrined June 9 at the Hall in Knoxville, Tenn.
• Next season, the Big Ten will return to an 18-game conference schedule, following approval by the Big Ten Administrators Council in October. Under the new format, schools will play five opponents twice and eight teams once (four home, four away) each season. The model will also emphasize in-state rivalries and competition between regional opponents. Big Ten women’s basketball programs played 18 regular-season conference games for the first 12 seasons of Big Ten play (1982-83 through 1993-94) and returned to that format from 2007-08 to 2009-10 and again in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
• For the fourth consecutive year, every Big Ten women’s basketball conference game, including 112 regular-season and 13 tournament games, will be produced and distributed by BTN, BTN Plus or an ESPN network.
• Big Ten programs produced 61 Academic All-Big Ten selections in 2016-17, the 10th consecutive season at least 45 women’s basketball students received the award. That list includes returning Academic All-Americans Amanda Cahill of Indiana and Carlie Wagner of Minnesota, plus Academic All-District honoree Kristen Confroy of Maryland.
|Feb. 8, 2018||at Indiana 70, Illinois 54||Bloomington, IN||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|at #21/20 Michigan 84, Northwestern 63||Ann Arbor, MI||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|#10/9 Maryland 76, at Michigan State 68||East Lansing, MI||RECAP||BTN
|at #13/13 Ohio State 90, #RV/RV Rutgers 68||Columbus, OH||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|Minnesota 78, at #RV Purdue 74||West Lafayette, IN||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|at #RV/RV Iowa 80, Penn State 76||Iowa City, IA||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|Feb. 11, 2018||at Michigan State 66, #21/20 Michigan 61||East Lansing, MI||RECAP||ESPN2
|#10/9 Maryland 72, at #RV/RV Rutgers 54||Piscataway, NJ||RECAP||BTN
|at #RV/22 South Florida 84, #13/13 Ohio State 65||Tampa, FL||RECAP||ESPN2
|at #RV Nebraska 51, Wisconsin 48||Lincoln, NE||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|#RV/RV Iowa 70, at Northwestern 61||Evanston, IL||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|at Minnesota 101, Penn State 68||Minneapolis, MN||RECAP||BTN
|Feb. 12, 2018||Indiana 52, at #RV Purdue 44||West Lafayette, IN||RECAP||BTN
NOTE: Rankings from the Feb. 5-6 Associated Press/USA Today Sports polls (RV - receiving votes/NR - not ranked; when only one ranking is listed, it is from the Associated Press poll)