Three Big Ten Teams Alive in NCAA Play; Iowa Remains in WNIT

March 24, 2005

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Three of the five Big Ten women's basketball teams selected to the 2005 NCAA Championship, have advanced to this week's regional

The Conference has now advanced three or more teams to the regional semifinals the past three years. 

No. 1 Michigan State, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Minnesota, all claimed victories in the first and second rounds.  The Spartans will now face No. 5 seed Vanderbilt in the Kansas City Regional on March 27 at 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2.  OSU travels to the Philadelphia to face No. 3 seed Rutgers on March 27 at 2:30 p.m. ET.  The Buckeyes defeated Rutgers, 52-50, during the regular season.  Minnesota, looking to make its second-ever Final Four appearance in as many years, travels to Tempe, Ariz., for a matchup with No. 2 seed Baylor.  The Gophers will take to the court on March 26 at 7 p.m. MT.

No. 4 seed Penn State and ninth-seeded Purdue both fell in the first two rounds.  After a win over No. 8 seed New Mexico, Purdue faced the task of facing top-seeded Tennessee on its home court in Knoxville on one of the most historic nights in college basketball history.  Despite trailing by just seven points at halftime, the Boilermakers fell, 75-54, to the Lady Volunteers in a game which gave Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt her 880th career win -- the most wins of any men's or women's head coach in NCAA Division I basketball history.

The Lady Lions were upended in the first round by Liberty, a team which then went on to upset fifth-seeded DePaul and become only the second 13th seed to advance to the Round of 16 in NCAA history.

The Big Ten is now 7-2 in NCAA play this year and looks to eclipse the League-record of 11 postseason wins that the Conference set in last year's Tournament this week.

For a sixth time since 1998, a Big Ten team will look to reach the semifinals of the WNIT this week.  Iowa will play Arkansas State at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids Thursday in the  quarterfinals. Tip-off is slated for 7:05 p.m. The winner will advance to play the winner of the Texas A&M at Southwest Missouri State game in the semifinals.

Iowa will not be able to host Arkansas State in Carver-Hawkeye Arena due to an arena conflict with the Hawkeyes hosting the 2005 Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships this weekend.

Between 1998 and 2001, a Big Ten team advanced to the WNIT finals and captured the postseason title in three of those four years.  In 2002, Michigan State fell in the semifinals, while in 2003, Iowa lost to Creighton in the quarterfinals.  The Hawkeyes returned the favor this year and defeated Creighton in the opening round.  No Big Ten teams were invited for last year's WNIT as all League teams eligible for the NCAA Tournament were selected.

For more information on the Big Ten's postseason play, download the PDF at the top of the page.