March 20, 2013
Park Ridge, Ill. -
Room For Six
For the second consecutive year and sixth time in Big Ten history, six conference teams were selected to the 2013 NCAA Championship. Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State and Purdue will represent the conference in the tournament, giving the Big Ten six NCAA-bound squads. The Big Ten is one of four conferences with at least six teams selected to the field. Penn State is a three seed in the field, while Purdue is a No. 4 seed, Michigan State earns a No. 5 seed and Nebraska is a No. 6 seed. Michigan appears on the No. 8 line, while ninth-seeded Iowa rounds out the conference contingent.
Add Two To The Mix
The Postseason WNIT announced its field on Monday, and two Big Ten teams were selected to the bracket, as Illinois and Minnesota earned berths into the field. The Fighting Illini make their eighth appearance in the WNIT and second postseason berth in four years. The Golden Gophers enter postseason play for the second consectutive year after winning the Women’s Basketball Invitational last season.
Roaring to the Top
After defeating Nebraska in its regular-season finale, Penn State secured sole possession of the Big Ten Championship, the Lady Lions’ second consecutive outright title. It marks the seventh Big Ten title in Lady Lion history and second under fifth-year head coach Coquese Washington.
Piling Up the Wins
For the second consecutive season and only the fourth time in Big Ten history, six conference teams have reached the 20-wins mark, with another within two victories of the milestone. The six conference teams boasting 20 or more victories this season makes the Big Ten one of only three other conferences nationally with six or more teams having won at least 20 games this year. Penn State leads all conference teams with 25 wins entering the postseason, while Michigan State and Purdue each claim 24 victories this season. Nebraska boasts 23 wins on the year, Michigan claims 21 victories and Iowa reached the 20-wins milestone in the Big Ten Tournament. Minnesota is just two triumphs away from giving the Big Ten seven teams with 20 or more wins this season, which would be a new conference record.
Where We Rank
Four Big Ten teams are receiving votes in the latest Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches polls. In the AP vote, Penn State leads the way at No. 8, followed by Purdue at No. 21 and Nebraska at No. 24. The Lady Lions check in at No. 8 in the coaches poll, while the Boilermakers are ranked No. 21 and the Huskers round out the poll at No. 25. Michigan State is receiving votes from both groups.
Lucas Named Wooden Award Finalist
Penn State’s Maggie Lucas was named one of 15 finalists for the Wooden Award. The award, which honors the nation’s most outstanding player, will be presented on April 12 at the annual Wooden Award Gala. Voted the Big Ten Player of the Year, Lucas finished as the conference’s third-leading scorer at 20.5 points per game. The junior is seventh in Lady Lion history with 1,810 points and is on pace to become the fifth member of Penn State’s 2,000-point club. Lucas also ranks second in Penn State history and third in Big Ten annals with 290 career three-pointers made. Her .886 career free-throw percentage also tops the Lady Lion charts and her .436 shooting effort from long range ranks second in Penn State history.
Two Named Lieberman Award Finalists
Two Big Ten guards were named finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award, given annually to the nation’s top point guards. Nebraska’s Lindsey Moore and Penn State’s Alex Bentley were two of seven players chosen as finalists, who were selected based on their leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills. The winner will be announced during the Final Four weekend.
Five Named to WBCA All-Region Team
Five Big Ten standouts were named to the WBCA All-Region team. The Region 6 team is comprised of five Big Ten student-athletes as Minnesota’s Rachel Banham, Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper, Ohio State’s Tayler Hill and Penn State’s Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas were recognized. The WBCA selection committee will select the 10-member Division I Coaches All-America team from the 52 members of the various All-Region teams.
Ranking Among the Nation’s Best
Several Big Ten standouts appear among the top 25 of the nation’s statistical leaders, according to information released by the NCAA. Ohio State’s Tayler Hill is 11th in the country at 21.1 points per game, Minnesota’s Rachel Banham is 12th with 21.0 points per outing and Penn State’s Maggie Lucas is 13th (20.5 points per game). Lucas is fourth in the country in three-point field goal percentage at 47.5 percent, while Melissa Dixon is 20th at 40.3 and Michigan’s Kate Thompson is 25th at 39.1. Thompson is second nationally in three-pointers per game at 3.45 and Lucas is eighth at 3.20. Penn State’s Alex Bentley is sixth (3.53) in steals per game, while Iowa’s Samantha Logic is 13th (6.5) in assists per game and Northwestern’s Karly Roser is 17th (6.3). Wisconsin’s Cassie Rochel is 14th in blocks per game at 2.67. Iowa’s Jaime Printy is fifth nationally in free-throw percentage (92.1 percent), followed by Lucas in ninth (89.6) and Banham in 10th (89.4). Iowa’s Morgan Johnson is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, good for 18th nationally.
Conference Stat Champions
The Big Ten crowned its 2012-13 stat champions in conference games only following the conclusion of the Big Ten season. Ohio State’s Tayler Hill won the Big Ten scoring title with an average of 22.3 points per game, marking the fourth time in five years a Buckeye has led the conference in the category. Iowa’s Samantha Logic finished as the conference leader in assists per game, averaging 6.4 per outing, becoming the first Hawkeye to top the category since Cara Consuegra in 2001. Purdue’s Sam Ostarello emerged as the Big Ten’s leading rebounder this season, finishing with an average of 10.9 boards per contest. She was the first Boilermarker to lead the category since Joy Holmes in 1991.