April 17, 2013
Advancing Six to the Dance
For the second consecutive year and sixth time in Big Ten history, six conferences teams were selected to the 2013 NCAA Championship. Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State and Purdue represented the conference in the tournament, giving the Big Ten at least six NCAA-bound squads for the sixth time (1996, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2012). The Big Ten was one of four conferences with at least six teams selected to the field. All six teams won their first round games in the tournament, while Nebraska was the final conference team remaining in the field, advancing to the second weekend of play, where the Huskers fell to second-seeded Duke in the regional semifinals.
Two More in Postseason Play
Two Big Ten teams participated in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), as Illinois and Minnesota earned berths into the field. The Illini made their eighth appearance in the WNIT and second postseason berth in four years, while the Golden Gophers participated in postseason play for the second consecutive season. Illinois advanced to the quarterfinals, where the Illini fell to Kansas State on the road.
Earning Postseason Accolades
Eight Big Ten players ended the season under All-America consideration by one or more affiliations. Penn State’s Maggie Lucas was selected to three postseason teams, earning the nod to the USBWA All-America squad, Associated Press second team and was a WBCA honorable mention. Minnesota’s Rachel Banham, Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper, Ohio State’s Tayler Hill and Penn State’s Alex Bentley each earned honorable mention All-America honors from the AP and WBCA. Illinois’ Karisma Penn, Nebraska’s Lindsey Moore and Purdue’s Drey Mingo also collected honorable mention accolades from the AP.
Penn State Takes Home Regular Season Crown
Purdue Wins Tournament Title
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 marked the seventh Big Ten title in Penn State history, as the Lady Lions also won titles in 1994, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2012. The crown was the second under fifth-year head coach Coquese Washington. Penn State finished its campaign with a 14-2 mark in Big Ten play.
For the ninth time in the 19-year history of the Big Ten Tournament, Purdue was crowned the tournament champion after knocking off Michigan State, 62-47, in the championship game. It was the Boilermakers’ second consecutive title, as the program improved its all-time record in the event to a conference-best 37-10. Led by tournament Most Outstanding Player Drey Mingo, Purdue defeated Wisconsin in the quarterfinals, before knocking off Nebraska in the semifinal round.
Piling Up the Wins
For the second consecutive season, and only the fourth time in Big Ten history, six conference teams reached the 20-wins mark. Penn State led all conference teams with 26 wins, while Michigan State, Nebraska and Purdue each finished with 25 victories this season. Michigan earned 22 wins on the year and Iowa claimed 21 victories.
Final Top 25
Four conference teams received votes in the final AP Top 25 Poll, including Penn State, which finished among the top 10 to end the year. The Lady Lions, who won the Big Ten Championship for the second consecutive season, finished the year ranked eighth in the nation. Big Ten Tournament Champion Purdue appeared at No. 21, while Nebraska checked in at No. 24. Michigan State finished receiving votes in the poll.
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 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.
Final National Stat Rankings
Several Big Ten standouts finished the season among the top 25 of the nation’s statistical leaders, according to the final stats released by the NCAA. Three Big Ten players finished in the top 25 in scoring, with Ohio State’s Tayler Hill 11th at 21.1 points, Minnesota’s Rachel Banham 14th at 20.7 points and Penn State’s Maggie Lucas appearing at No. 16 at 20.1 points per game. Lucas also finished 4th in the country in three-point field goal percentage at 46.2 percent and Iowa’s Melissa Dixon was 20th at 39.8. Michigan’s Kate Thompson was third nationally in three-pointers per game at 3.33 and Lucas was 11th at 3.06. Penn State’s Alex Bentley finished sixth (3.41) in steals per game and Illinois’ Karisma Penn was tied for 25th with 2.91. Iowa’s Samantha Logic was 15th (6.4) in assists per game and Northwestern’s Karly Roser was 17th(6.3), while Wisconsin’s Cassie Rochel was 14th in blocks per game at 2.67. Iowa’s Jaime Printy finished second nationally in free-throw percentage (92.5 percent), followed by Lucas in ninth (90.0) and Banham in 10th (89.5). Iowa’s Morgan Johnson and Minnesota’s Micaëlla Riché shot 52.9 and 52.2 percent from the field, respectively, good for 18th and 24th nationally.
On to the Next Level
Four Big Ten standouts were selected during the annual WNBA Draft, marking the 14th time in the 17 years of the draft the conference has had three or more student-athletes chosen. Ohio State’s Tayler Hill was taken with the fourth pick by the Washington Mystics, while Nebraska’s Lindsey Moore was also chosen in the first round, selected No. 12 by the Minnesota Lynx. The Atlanta Dream selected Alex Bentley with the first pick in the second round and 13th overall. Fellow Lady Lion Nikki Greene was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury with the 26th selection. The four players selected marks the second time in three years that four Big Ten student-athletes have been chosen in the draft and the first time since 2007 two players were picked in the first round. The Penn State duo is the first pair of Big Ten teammates selected in the same draft class since Purdue’s Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton and Danielle Cambell in 2009.