PARK RIDGE , IL - The field has been set for the 2005 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament, which will take place at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, March 3-7. Fresh off its 69-58 victory over Penn State Sunday, Big Ten co-Champion Ohio State (27-3, 14-2 Big Ten) earned the top seed for the first time in school history. The Buckeyes earned their previous best as the No. 3 seed in last year's Tournament. Despite tying Michigan State (25-3, 14-2) for first in the League's regular season standings, Ohio State earned the No. 1 seed with a 1-1 record over third-place Penn State (18-9, 13-3), while the Spartans fell to the Lady Lions in their lone contest of the season. The second tiebreak was needed after Ohio State and Michigan State split in their head-to-head meetings this season.
Michigan State matched its highest seed in school history, as the Spartans were awarded the No. 2 seed once before in 1997. Penn State , which finished just one game back in its quest for a third straight regular season title, earns the third seed, while Minnesota (22-6, 12-4) was granted the fourth seed. Purdue (16-11, 9-7), the two-time defending Tournament champion and winners of five of the 11 postseason events, was awarded the No. 5 seed. The highly-anticipated No. 4-5 matchup will be the first-ever meeting between the Golden Gophers and the Boilermakers in the Tournament. Minnesota, which will battle Purdue on Friday, March 4, at 2:30 p.m. ET, holds a 2-0 advantage over the Boilermakers this season. The top five seeds of the Tournament receive opening-day byes.
Iowa (19-8, 8-8) earned the No. 6 seed, while Illinois (16-11, 7-9) and Wisconsin (11-15, 5-11) earned the No. 7 and 8 seeds, respectively. The Badgers will face No. 9 seed Indiana (10-17, 3-13) for the third consecutive year in the No. 8-9 matchup, which opens the Tournament on Thursday, March 3, at 3 p.m. ET. Wisconsin has been ousted by the Hoosiers the past two years. No. 10 Northwestern (5-24, 2-14) will meet intrastate rival Illinois in the second game on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. ET. The Fighting Illini and Wildcats have met just once in the history of the Tournament as No. 6 Illinois defeated No. 11 Northwestern, 75-60, in the first round in 2001.
No. 11 Michigan (5-22, 1-15), which has not lost its Tournament opener since the 1997 season, will face Iowa in the final game on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. The winner between the Wolverines and Hawkeyes will face Penn State on Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET. Preceding the Lady Lions' opener, Michigan State will take to the court at 6 p.m. to face the winner of the Illinois/Northwestern game. Top-seed Ohio State opens Friday's action with a 12 p.m. ET tip against the Wisconsin/Indiana victor.
Since the first Big Ten Tournament in 1995, four teams have captured postseason titles with Purdue's five wins (1998-99-2000-03-04) leading the way. Iowa (1997-2001) and Penn State (1995-96) have each won the Tournament twice, while Indiana became the lowest seed to win the event as the No. 5 Hoosiers defeated Penn State in the 2001 final.
The 2004 Tournament set records for total attendance (37,635), single-session (9,417) and session average (7,527). Single-session tickets range from $10-$14 and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Conseco Fieldhouse box office, Ticketmaster charge-by-phone numbers (317-239-5151 in central Indiana) and www.ticketmaster.com.