Wisconsin Battles for Big Ten's Fourth Postseason WNIT Title Saturday

March 29, 2007

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Wisconsin Looking For Second WNIT Championship
Continuing its record-setting year with a program-best 23 wins, Wisconsin will look for its second Postseason WNIT Championship in school history on Saturday.  The Badgers (23-12) will travel to Wyoming (26-9) for a 1 p.m. MT matchup against the Cowgirls, who beat defending WNIT champion Kansas State, 89-79, in triple overtime at home Wednesday.

Big Ten Vying For Fourth Postseason WNIT Title
With a win over Wyoming on Saturday, Wisconsin would claim the Big Ten's fourth Postseason WNIT title in the last 10 years.  Penn State won the 1998 WNIT crown and was followed by runner-up Wisconsin in 1999.  The Badgers claimed the 2000 WNIT title and Ohio State made it back-to-back wins for the conference in 2001.  In 22 appearances, the Big Ten is 46-18 (.719) in Postseason WNIT action.

Big Ten Looks to Become First League to Sweep WNITs
A Wisconsin win on Saturday would give the Big Ten a sweep of WNIT titles this season, which would mark the first time in tournament history a conference won both the Preseason and Postseason WNIT events.  Back in November, Purdue earned the preseason crown with a win at Baylor. 

Youth is Served in 2006-07
Over the past season, Big Ten teams have looked upon their underclassmen to step to the stage, as many conference squads lacked seniors on the roster and the invaluable senior leadership on the court.  Among the six power conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC), the Big Ten has the nation's lowest percentage of seniors and the highest number of teams with seniors making up less than 10 percent of the roster.  Of the 130 Big Ten student-athletes, only 16.9 percent (22 players) were seniors, and a nation-leading four teams -- more than a third of the total number of conference squads -- had less than 10 percent of their rosters made up of seniors.  Wisconsin, which competes Saturday for the Postseason WNIT Championship, is one of only five teams in the country that does not boast a senior on its roster.  In addition to the Badgers, Michigan (7.1%), Iowa (8.3%) and Minnesota (8.3%) all fielded teams in 2006-07 with just one senior, accounting for less than 10 percent of the roster.     

Overemphasizing Underclassmen
During the 2006-07 season, the Big Ten was first among the six power conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC) in percentage of underclassmen that made up its teams' rosters.  Among the 11 Big Ten squads, 38 freshmen and 38 sophomores made up 58.5 percent of the 130 players in the conference.  That percentage was higher than any other major conference, including the Big 12 (57.3%), Big East (56.5%), ACC (55.1%), SEC (53.6%) and Pac-10 (53.4%).  

Wisconsin Ties Big Ten Single-Game FT Record in Win
In Wisconsin's 79-72 Postseason WNIT semifinal victory over Western Kentucky, the Badgers shot a perfect 20-of-20 from the free throw line, which ties a Big Ten single-game record.  It is the fifth time in conference history a team has been perfect from the line on at least 15 attempts and only the second occasion in which a team has gone 20-of-20 from the line.  Penn State made all 20 of its free throws against Texas on Dec. 7, 2003, while the Badgers went 17-of-17 against Arizona 11 months earlier on Jan. 26, 2003.  Michigan has twice gone 15-of-15 from the line, once in 1987 and again in 2002.

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