Buckeyes and Spartans Battle on ESPN2 Monday

Big Ten co-Player of the Week Marscilla Packer (right) celebrates with Ohio State teammate Jessica Davenport after the Buckeyes beat Michigan State at the buzzer earlier this season.  The rematch between the two teams is Monday.

Big Ten co-Player of the Week Marscilla Packer (right) celebrates with Ohio State teammate Jessica Davenport after the Buckeyes beat Michigan State at the buzzer earlier this season. The rematch between the two teams is Monday.

Feb. 20, 2006

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Conference Title to be Decided This Week
Entering the final week of conference play, Ohio State holds a slim advantage over Purdue for the Big Ten regular season title.  The Buckeyes, who are 12-1 in league action, are the defending conference co-champions and will play Michigan State on Monday.  Purdue is 12-2 in the conference after a loss this past Sunday to Indiana.  Ohio State is looking for its ninth overall Big Ten title and second straight, while Purdue is looking for its eighth and first since 2002.

Buckeyes and Spartans Battle on ESPN2 Monday
No. 6/7 Ohio State and No. 14/14 Michigan State, the defending Big Ten co-champions, will face off at 7:30 p.m. Monday in a critical conference rematch in Columbus.  On Jan. 22, Ohio State won on a buzzer-beater, 67-65, in East Lansing earlier this season, when Jessica Davenport scored on a last second-second layup.  ESPN 2 will televise the game as part of its "Big Monday" series.

Ohio State's Foster Looks for Win No. 600
With a win on Monday against Michigan State, Ohio State head coach Jim Foster would become the third current coach in the Big Ten to possess 600 career victories. He would join Illinois' Theresa Grentz (649-296, 32 seasons) and Penn State's Rene Portland (676-246, 31 seasons) in the league and become the 12th active coach in the nation to amass 600 career wins.  Foster has recorded his 599 career wins at three different stops in 28 seasons as a Division I head coach.  Since 1978, Foster has found success at St. Joseph's (248-126, 1978-91), Vanderbilt (256-99, 1991-2002) and Ohio State (93-27, 2002-present).

Four Big Ten Teams Ranked in Nation's Top 20
Four conference squads were ranked in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls this past week.  Ohio State was No. 6/7, while Purdue was ranked 10th and Michigan State was 14th in both polls, and Minnesota was No. 17/16.

Four League Squads Make Top 40 of NCAA RPI
In the third official RPI report released by the NCAA on Feb. 15, four Big Ten squads ranked in the top 40.  Ohio State was ninth, followed by No. 20 Michigan State, No. 21 Purdue and No. 38 Minnesota.  For a complete list of the NCAA RPI, check out page eight.

NCAA National Notables
Several Big Ten student-athletes and teams were nationally ranked in many categories as of Feb. 13, which are listed on page five.  Among the standouts, Penn State's Adrienne Squire ranked first (.959) in free-throw percentage, followed by Indiana's Cyndi Valentin in fifth at .922.  Ohio State's Jessica Davenport was fourth in field goal percentage at .644.  OSU was also second in scoring defense (51.7), tied for second in fouls per game (12.1) and third in field-goal percentage (.498) and assists (19.2).

Comcast to Televise Indiana at Iowa on Sunday
The Big Ten and Comcast SportsNet Chicago will televise Indiana at Iowa on Sunday at Noon CT, which will mark the final day of the regular season.  Dave Eanet is scheduled as the play-by-play talent, while June Olkowski will handle analyst duties.  In the conference opener on Dec. 29, Indiana defeated Iowa in Bloomington, 65-53.

Big Ten Tournament Presented by Xbox Live
The Big Ten Conference announced Feb. 9 an exclusive three-year marketing agreement with Xbox Live, making it the presenting sponsor of the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Single-session tickets for the tournament went on sale Feb. 4, and range from $10-$14. In addition, all-session tickets are on sale for $55.  Tickets can be purchased through any Ticketmaster outlet, Ticketmaster charge-by-phone numbers (317-239-5151 in central Indiana), www.ticketmaster.com and the Conseco Fieldhouse box office.

The Big Ten Tournament presented by Xbox Live will be held March 2-6 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. No tournament games will take place on Saturday, March 4 due to the IHSAA Girl's State Basketball Finals.  This annual celebration of women's basketball will be held in Indianapolis for the 11th time in 12 years and will return to Conseco Fieldhouse in 2007.

Pair of Spartans Set to Determine Scoring Record
In a race to the finish, two Spartan seniors are continuing to battle over the Michigan State scoring record.  On a go-ahead basket with 2:34 left, Lindsay Bowen became her school's all-time points leader in her final home game, finishing with 18 points in a 73-71 win over Iowa Thursday.  Bowen broke Kisha Kelley's career mark of 1,668 by two and had a career-high nine rebounds and seven assists in her team's sixth straight win.  The Spartan senior now stands at 1,670, but is followed closely behind by teammate Liz Shimek at 1,654.

Wilburn Sets OSU Steals Mark; Big Ten's Next?
Kim Wilburn, Ohio State's school record holder in steals, posted one swipe last Thursday to bring her career total to 348, which ranks her third all-time in Big Ten history.  Wilburn, who is just one of 11 Big Ten players to eclipse 300 career steals, is two steals better than Michigan State's Kristin Haynie (`01-05) and trails only Wisconsin's Tamara Moore (`99-02) at 353 and Big Ten record holder Stacey Thomas (`96-00) of Michigan at 372.

Michigan's Minnfield Impressive on the Road
Michigan freshman Jessica Minnfield played perhaps her two most complete games of her young career in Michigan's road games at No. 10 Purdue and at Iowa this past week.  After adding six points to her career-highs eight rebounds and seven assists at Purdue, she captured a career-best 20 points at Iowa.  against the Hawkeyes, she shot 6-of-9 from the field, including a career high 4-of-4 from three-point range, and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Minnfield also added four boards and three assists in 31 minutes.

Badgers Upset Gophers in Front of Record Crowd
Nearly 15,000 fans helped Wisconsin to a 67-61 upset over No. 16/17 Minnesota last Sunday.  The attendance of 14,697 was a season high, the fifth-largest in school history, and currently ranks among the top 10 attendance totals in the nation this season.  In addition to being a Big Ten season high, the crowd was the 13th-largest turnout in conference history.

Hoosiers Keep Bags Packed; Off to MINN & IOWA
Indiana's win at No. 10 Purdue Sunday, which was the third-straight overtime game between the two teams in the series, marked the first time the Hoosiers had beaten the Boilermakers in West Lafayette since the 1996-97 season and was the first time they had beaten them at all since the Big Ten Tournament in 2002.  The 2002 win also marked the last time the Hoosiers beat to a top-10 team.  In addition, the win on Sunday was also IU's fourth conference road win of the season, marking the first time the Hoosiers have won four on the road since the 2000-01 season. Since the inception of Big Ten play in 1983, IU has won four league wins on the road six times (1984-85-94-97-01-06), while posting five in 1986 and a school record six in 1983.  The Hoosiers finish the year at Minnesota Thursday and at Iowa on Sunday.

Illinois' Grentz Looking For No. 650 This Week
Illinois head coach Theresa Grentz is just one victory shy of becoming the 10th Division I coach to reach 650 wins for her career.  Grentz, in her 32nd season overall and 11th at Illinois, has coached in 946 games and has won 69 percent of her games.  Penn State's Rene Portland is already a member of the 650-win club, having won 676 career victories.