Big Ten Sends Seven Teams to Postseason Play; Action Begins This Week

Michigan State earned its first ever No. 1 seed for the NCAA Championship.  It is the eighth time a Big Ten team has been tabbed the top seed.

Michigan State earned its first ever No. 1 seed for the NCAA Championship. It is the eighth time a Big Ten team has been tabbed the top seed.

March 15, 2005

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SPARTANS AND BUCKEYES SHARE BIG TEN TITLE
For the ninth time in League history and the first time since the 1996-97 season, the Big Ten regular season title was shared by two teams.  Ohio State earned a piece of the title in the regular season finale after a 69-58 victory over Penn State. The Buckeyes, who share the title with Michigan State, earned their first-ever No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament with the win.  Since the inception of Big Ten women's basketball in 1982-83, Ohio State has captured eight regular season titles, while Michigan State earned its second ever championship and the first for MSU since 1997.  The Buckeyes last won a Big Ten title in 1992-93, when OSU finished as co-champions before making a run to the national title game.

SPARTANS CAPTURE BIG TEN TOURNAMENT TITLE
Michigan State, which shared the Big Ten title this season with Ohio State, became the first team since Purdue in 1999 to win both the regular season and Tournament titles in the same year. Penn State also did it in 1995, the first year of the Big Ten Tournament.

BIG TEN TOURNEY WINS BREED NCAA SUCCESS
Recent history has shown that winning in the Big Ten Tournament breeds success for Conference teams in the NCAA Tournament.  Since 1995, the teams that have won the Big Ten Women's Tournament have combined to post a 20-9 record in the NCAA Championship.  Purdue captured the League's first-ever NCAA women's title in 1999 after winning the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 1 seed.  Penn State appeared in the 2000 NCAA Final Four after finishing as the runner-up in that year's Big Ten Tournament, while Purdue made an appearance in the 2001 National Championship game after also finishing second in that year's Conference Tournament.  With the return of Lindsay Whalen after the 2004 Big Ten Tournament, Minnesota went on to its first Final Four appearance in school history.  All eyes will be on Michigan State this postseason as the Spartans captured their first-ever Tournament crown in 2005.

BIG TEN RATES AMONG TOURNEY'S BEST
Ohio State, Northwestern and Illinois were three of the 32 teams selected to play in the first NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament in 1982, tipping off what would become the Big Ten's outstanding legacy in the event. Since the Championship's inception, the Big Ten has earned 95 invitations to the Big Dance. That ranks as the third-highest total behind the SEC (147) and the ACC (103).  Penn State is making its 21st NCAA appearance overall and its 11th since joining the Big Ten for the 1992-93 season. Purdue will make its 16th trip to the Tournament, while Ohio State earned its 14th bid. Michigan State is appearing for the sixth time.  Minnesota earned a spot in the bracket for the fourth consecutive season and the fifth time in school history.

ANOTHER "ONE" FOR THE BIG TEN
For the second consecutive season, a Big Ten team has earned a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Championship.  Michigan State gained its first-ever No. 1 seed this season, while Penn State was one of four top-seeds in last year's tournament.  The Spartans are the eighth overall top-seed in Big Ten history.  Iowa earned the League's first two top-seeds in 1988 and 1992, while Ohio State was No. 1 in 1993 and both Penn State and Purdue were No. 1 seeds in 1994.  The Boilermakers staked claim to the top seed in 1999 and captured the Conference's lone national championship.  Penn State also earned a top seed in 1991, however that was prior to the Big Ten.

BIG TEN GRABS FOUR OF TOP 16 SEEDS
The Big Ten snagged four of the top 16 seeds in this year's NCAA Championship, which is tied for the most by any conference (Big 12).  Michigan State earned a No. 1 seed, followed by No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Minnesota and No. 4 Penn State.

FIVE FOR FIVE
For the fifth consecutive season, the Big Ten has sent five or more teams to the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship.  The Conference sent five teams to the 2001 and 2005 tournaments and tied the League high of six teams the past three seasons in 2002, 2003 and 2004. 

BIG TEN TO THE WNIT:  JUST WiN IT
The Big Ten is set to field two League squads -- Illinois and Iowa -- for the 2005 WNIT.   No teams were invited to the WNIT last year, because all teams eligible were selected to the NCAA Championship.  Last season marked the first time since 1997 that there were no Big Ten entrants in the Women's National Invitation Tournament.  The postseason WNIT is an event that the Big Ten has won three times since 1998, most recently in 2001 when Ohio State defeated New Mexico.

NCAA ACTION SLATED FOR WILLIAMS ARENA
For the second-straight year, Minnesota and Williams Arena will play host to NCAA first- and second-round play in 2005.  This season marks the second year that the NCAA has predetermined its opening-round sites.  First and second-round action will begin in Minneapolis, March 19 and 21, and will host Big Ten teams Michigan State and Minnesota.  This season's Final Four will be hosted by Butler University and the Horizon League at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Ind., April 3rd and 5th.

LOOKING BACK AT MINNESOTA'S FINAL FOUR RUN
Minnesota defeated the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in last year's Mideast Region to earn the first NCAA Final Four berth in school history with an 82-75 win over top-seeded Duke, the nation's highest-ranked program. The Golden Gophers had never before advanced beyond the Sweet Sixteen prior to their 2004 run.  No. 7 Minnesota was the highest seed competing in the Final Four, and was the highest seed to play in the national semifinals since Arkansas made it as a No. 9 seed in 1998. For the Big Ten, Minnesota's success marked the League's fourth Final Four representative in six years and it's first since Purdue made an appearance in 2001. The Golden Gophers joined Iowa, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue among the Conference's all-time Final Four participants.

McCARVILLE RETURNS FOR REBOUND RECORD
Minnesota's Janel McCarville will look to improve on her NCAA Tournament record of 75 total rebounds when the Golden Gophers make their run this season for a second-consecutive Final Four.  Last season, McCarville helped lead Minnesota to its first ever Final Four in 2003-04.  The then-junior was honored by being selected to the All-Final Four Team.

LEAGUE POSTS RECORD 11 NCAA TOURNEY WINS
Minnesota's Mideast Regional Championship win over top-ranked Duke last year, gave the Big Ten its 11th victory of the 2004 NCAA Championship, marking the League's all-time best win total in the Tournament. Big Ten teams combined to produce the previous record of nine wins in 1994, when Penn State and Purdue both reached the Regional Finals and Purdue appeared in the Final Four.

FINAL FOUR FAMILIARITY
Counting the 2004 season, Big Ten teams have competed in four of the last six women's Final Fours and six overall. Ohio State and Iowa squared off against each other in the League's first Final Four appearance in 1993.  The Buckeyes won that tilt before falling to Texas Tech in the national final.  Purdue followed up in 1994, advancing to it's first Final Four, where it fell to North Carolina in the semifinals.  The third time was the charm for the League, as Purdue defeated Duke, 62-45, to claim the Big Ten's first and only national championship.  Penn State made an appearance in 2000, bowing to eventual national champion Connecticut in the semifinals.  The Boilermakers made it three in a row for the Big Ten in 2001 when they fought their way to the championship final against Notre Dame.  Purdue fell to the Irish, 68-66, in one of the closest finishes in Tournament history.  The game was one of five NCAA Championship finals to be decided by two points or less.  After a two-year hiatus, Minnesota returned the Big Ten to the national semifinals in 2004.

ANOTHER 20-WIN TEAM?
With a win in its Big Ten Tournament opener, Iowa (20-9) reached the 20-win plateau for the season and gave the Big Ten four 20-win teams for the 10th time in League history.  Should Penn State (19-10) capture a win in its NCAA first-round game, the Lady Lions would eclipse the 20-win mark and become the fifth Conference squad to win 20 or more games in a season.  That occurrence has happened just four times in League history (1995-96, 1997-98, 1999-00, 2003-04).

SEVEN LEAGUE TEAMS IN TOP 30 IN ATTENDANCE 
In the latest unofficial attendance rankings compiled by the University of Wisconsin, seven Big Ten teams appear in the nation's top 30.  No. 5 Minnesota (8,799), No. 6 Penn State (8,655) and No. 7 Purdue (8,484) lead the way, followed by No. 14 Michigan State (6,143) and No. 15 Wisconsin (6,047).  No. 19 Ohio State (5,143) and No. 26 Iowa (4,062) are also among the nation's top 30.

OSU SHATTERS BIG TEN ATTENDANCE MARK
Ohio State found a perfect way to end another exciting Conference season this year by shattering the Big Ten single-game attendance mark by nearly 400 on its final regular-season game on February 27.  The sold-out crowd of 17,525 in Value City Arena in Columbus surpassed the previous League record of 17,142, set on January 20, 2002, when Wisconsin hosted Minnesota.  The game, which was also the third highest attended game in the country this year, gave the Buckeyes a share of the Big Ten regular season title with Michigan State.

BIG TEN CROWNS A NEW SCORING QUEEN
Ohio State sophomore Jessica Davenport claimed the 2005 Big Ten women's basketball scoring title, racking up 347 points in 16 games for a 21.7 points per game average.  The Buckeye center captured the title by nearly 3.0 points, as she bettered Penn State's Tanisha Wright and Illinois' Angelina Williams, who averaged 18.8 ppg each.  Fourth place went to Wisconsin freshman Jolene Anderson at 18.1 ppg -- the best average for a freshman since Penn State's Kelly Mazzante won the scoring title as a newcomer at 19.7 ppg in 2000-01.  Overall, Davenport is just the third Buckeye to win the scoring title as Nikita Lowry won the crown in 1987-88 (23.7) and 1988-89 (18.9), and Katie Smith was the League's top scorer in 1993-94 (22.4) and 1994-95 (21.2).

McCARVILLE TAKES HOME REBOUND CROWN
After three-consecutive seasons of Illinois' Cindy Dallas being atop the League rebounding ranks, her graduation paved the way for Minnesota's Janel McCarville to take over the throne as rebounding queen.  McCarville, who led the League in caroms the majority of the season, was nearly passed by Ohio State's Jessica Davenport.  McCarville ended the Conference season with 10.6 boards, while Davenport posted an average of 10.5.  On the final Sunday of the regular season, the Golden Gopher senior posted 12 rebounds against Northwestern for a season total of 170, while Davenport grabbed a career-high 16 boards for a total of 168.  If Davenport would have recorded three more rebounds, she would have become the fifth Big Ten player and the first since Iowa's Amy Herrig (21.2 ppg, 11.9 rpg) to lead the League in both scoring and rebounding in the same season.  On the year, Davenport and McCarville each had eight double-doubles in Big Ten play, while McCarville edged the Buckeye 12-11 in total double-double games this season.

FOUR LEAGUE SQUADS AMONG NATION'S TOP 20 RPI
In the latest WBCA/Summerville RPI Ratings, the Big Ten ranks third in Conference RPI average (.570) and fifth in overall RPI (.582), while four League teams rank among the nation's top 20.  Michigan State holds an overall RPI rating of .656, which is fourth best in the nation, followed by No. 9 Ohio State (.643).  Minnesota (.625) is 14th, while Penn State (.611) ranks 19th.  In overall strength of schedule, Michigan is seventh at .622, Penn State (.609) is 13th, Indiana (.608) is 15th, Purdue (.606) is 16th and Northwestern (.604) is 19th. 

OSU'S DAVENPORT SWATS HER WAY TO 100
On the final day of the regular season, Ohio State's Jessica Davenport became just the third Big Ten student-athlete to record 100 blocks in a season.  The Buckeye sophomore has recorded 109 blocks over a 32-game span, which equates to an average of 3.41.  Davenport is the first Big Ten shot-blocker to hit the century mark since League-record holder Trish Andrew of Michigan swatted 136 shots during the 1991-92 season.  Wisconsin's Janetta Johnson recorded 130 blocks during the 1988-89 campaign.

COACHES CORNER:  BIG TEN BITS FROM THE WBCA
• The Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) has selected Ebba Gebisa of the University of Wisconsin  as the winner of the Charles T. Stoner Law Scholarship Award. The $1,000 Charles T. Stoner Law Scholarship Award, named for and presented by Stoner, a former legal consultant for the WBCA, is presented annually to one female collegiate basketball player who intends to pursue a career in law.  The West Lafayette, Ind., native is a senior forward who has been on the dean's list every semester but one during her collegiate career. Gebisa will graduate this spring with a degree in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics.

• At least four Big Ten student-athletes -- Minnesota's Janel McCarville, Ohio State's Caity Matter and Penn State's Jess Strom and Tanisha Wright -- have been selected for the 2005 WBCA All-Star Challenge Game. On Saturday, April 2, the top 20 senior collegiate players in women's basketball will showcase their talents at the University of Indianapolis' Nicoson Hall.  This capstone event tips-off the 24th Annual WBCA National Convention, which takes place in Indianapolis, at the site of this year's NCAA Women's Final Four.

• Dave Loane has been named the winner of the 2005 Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) Mel Greenberg Media Award.  Named after Mel Greenberg, the Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter who founded the Associated Press Top 25 women's basketball poll, the WBCA Media Award is presented annually to a member of the media who has best displayed a commitment to women's basketball and to advancing the role of the media in the women's game.  Loane is a 17-year play-by-play reporter for Illinois athletics, which includes women's basketball.  Loane is also an occasional caller of Big Ten women's basketball and volleyball contests on FSN Chicago.

THREE BIG TEN SENIORS FINALISTS FOR SENIOR C.L.A.S.S. AWARD
Three Big Ten student-athletes -- Minnesota's Janel McCarville, Ohio State's Caity Matter and Penn State's Tanisha Wright -- are finalists for the 2004-05 Bayer Advantage Senior CLASS Award.

A national committee of sportswriters and sportscasters selected the 10 men and 10 women finalists for the fourth annual award. The names of the finalists will appear on the official ballot during the national voting process throughout the month of March.

The winners will be determined by a points system involving three voting groups: the national media committee, Division I head basketball coaches, and national online fan balloting via the official website at www.SeniorCLASSAward.com.

The Senior Class Award - an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School - was launched in the 2001-02 college basketball season. It is designed to honor the attributes of seniors who remain committed to their university and elect to pursue the many rewards that a senior season can bring.  The Fourth Annual Tribute Gala for the Bayer Advantage Senior CLASS Awards will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2005, in Kansas City.

THREE BIG TEN STUDENT-ATHLETES IN RUNNING FOR WADE TROPHY
Minnesota's Janel McCarville, Ohio State's Jessica Davenport and Penn State's Tanisha Wright were named by a national awards committee consisting of leading basketball coaches, journalists, and basketball administrators, as candidates for the 2005 State Farm Wade Trophy. The list is comprised of 32 student-athletes who are members of an NCAA Division I institution and are selected based on the following criteria: game and season statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability.

The Big Ten has had two State Farm Wade Trophy Award winners, most recently in 1999 when Purdue's Stephanie White-McCarty received the honor.  Minnesota's Carol Ann Shudlick was the State Farm Wade Trophy winner in 1994.

The 2005 State Farm Wade Trophy winner will be announced during the WBCA National Convention held in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four in Indianapolis, Ind., April 2-5, 2005.

FOUR LEAGUE STARS NAMED TO FINAL WOODEN AWARD BALLOT
The John R. Wooden Award Committee announced March 8, the 17 women's college basketball players named to the official voting ballot for the 2005 Women's Wooden Award presented by Applied Materials.

The Big Ten and the Big 12 each have four representatives, with the Big Ten boasting Michigan State's Lindsay Bowen, Minnesota's Janel McCarville, Ohio State's Jessica Davenport and Penn State's Tanisha Wright.

Last year, Penn State's Kelly Mazzante and Purdue's Shereka Wright were selected to the inaugural five-player All-America team at the conclusion of last season.

The Women's Wooden Award, presented annually to the nation's top female collegiate basketball player, will announce its 2005 recipient on Saturday, April 9 during a national CBS telecast airing live at 1 p.m. EST from The Los Angeles Athletic Club.  The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the awards ceremony and will receive a contribution from the John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund for their university's general scholarship fund.

FOUR BIG TEN STANDOUTS TABBED MIDSEASON NAISMITH CANDIDATES
On February 21, four Big Ten student-athletes were among the country's 30 top collegiate women's basketball players that were named as mid-season candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by Cingular Wireless. 

Michigan State's Lindsay Bowen, Minnesota's Janel McCarville, Ohio State's Jessica Davenport and Penn State's Tanisha Wright were named to the watch list for what is considered one of the most prestigious national award presented annually to the women's player of the year.

The Top 30 list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The board based its criteria on player performances this season.  The final ballot will come in March.

FIVE CONFERENCE STARS NOMINATED FOR KODAK/WBCA ALL-AMERICA STATUS
On March 14, five Big Ten student-athletes were among the nation's top players who are finalists for Kodak/WBCA All-America status.  In the running for the 10-member All-America team from the Big Ten is Michigan State's Liz Shimek, Minnesota's Janel McCarville, Ohio State's Jessica Davenport and Penn State's Jess Strom and Tanisha Wright.  McCarville was honored by Kodak and the WBCA last year.  The Team will be announced April 2, 2005 in Indianapolis.