May 10, 2011
The 2010-11 season saw the Big Ten send eight teams to the postseason, five to the NCAA Tournament and three to the Postseason WNIT, Michigan State earn its third Big Ten Championship and Ohio State capture its third consecutive Big Ten Tournament title. The Buckeyes advanced to the regional semifinals as conference teams once again finished at or above .500 in the NCAA Tournament. Numerous standouts ended their careers as All-Americans, while four departing seniors were selected during the annual WNBA Draft.
Party for Eight
The Big Ten sent eight or more teams to the postseason for the third time in the last four seasons. Nine Big Ten teams made postseason tournaments in 2008 and 2010. With 72.7 percent of its teams qualifying for postseason play, the Big Ten ranked third among all conferences in percentage of teams appearing in the NCAA Tournament or WNIT.
Room For Five
The Big Ten saw five conference squads earn selections into NCAA Tournament play, marking the eighth time in the last 11 years the conference sent five or more teams to the NCAA Championship. Michigan State and Ohio State earned No. 4 seeds, Iowa and Penn State were both seeded sixth, and Purdue was a No. 9. Ohio State advanced through to the regional semifinals.
Add Three to the Mix
Three Big Ten teams were selected to the Postseason WNIT bracket as Michigan, Northwestern and Wisconsin earned berths into the field. Michigan and Northwestern made their second consecutive appearances in the tournament, while Wisconsin made its fourth trip in the last five seasons.
Michigan State won its third conference title in program history this season, but clinched its first ever outright crown. It is the Spartans first Big Ten Championship since 2005, the same year they advanced to the national championship game. Michigan State also shared the conference title in 1997.
Ohio State Tournament Winners
Entering as the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, Ohio State won its third consecutive Big Ten Tournament title with a win over Penn State in the championship contest. The Buckeyes became just the second program to win three Big Ten Tournament titles in a row, matching the feat achieved by the 1998, 1999 and 2000 Purdue Boilermakers. Ohio State is just the third No. 5 seed to win the Big Ten Tournament in the event’s history, joining the 1998 Purdue and 2002 Indiana teams.
Seven Big Ten teams finished the conference season with an above .500 record in Big Ten play this season, marking the first time seven or more conference teams finished above .500 in a 16-game conference season since 2000-01. In 2007-08, when conference teams played an 18-game Big Ten schedule, eight teams finished at or above .500 in conference action.
Defeating the Top 25
Eight Big Ten teams boasted at least one victory over a top-25 team last season, including three squads with four or more such triumphs. Ohio State was tops among all conference teams with eight wins over the top 25, while Michigan and Michigan State each had four triumphs over ranked opponents. Iowa, and Penn State each recorded three wins over top-25 teams, while Indiana, Northwestern and Purdue knocked off one top-25 opponent. Conference teams combined for 26 wins against the top 25 last season.
Count on It
Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender finished her Ohio State career having scored in double-figures in each game. The senior set a new NCAA record with 136 straight contests with 10 or more points. Lavender concluded her career having averaged 20.7 points per game and is second in Big Ten history in career points (2,818).
Illinois’ Karisma Penn and Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender were the only two conference players to average a double-double per game. Lavender, the conference’s scoring and rebounding leader at 22.9 and 10.9 respectively, boasted 19 double-doubles this season, good for eighth nationally. Penn recorded 18 such outings, which ranked 11th in the NCAA, averaging 17.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game for the Illini.
Among The Best
Conference standouts appeared on numerous All-America teams at season’s end. Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender was named an All-American by the Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association; Iowa’s Kachine Alexander and Jaime Printy, Michigan State’s Kalisha Keane and Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke were named honorable mention All-Americans by the AP; and Alexander and Keane were named honorable mention WBCA All-Americans.
Iowa’s Kachine Alexander was the recipient of the inaugural Premier Player Award for women’s basketball, an award based on fan voting. She averaged 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game for the Hawkeyes en route to earning first-team All-Big Ten accolades.
Leaving Their Mark
Three Big Ten standouts appear on some of the major conference career top 10 statistical categories. Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender ended her career second in conference history with 2,818 points, behind only Penn State’s Kelly Mazzante’s 2,919. She became the conference’s all-time leader in rebounds with 1,422. Teammate Samantha Prahalis finished her junior season with 708 assists, which ranks fifth all-time, while Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke recorded 357 blocks during her career, ranking fourth on the career blocks list.
A Banner Year
Last season saw numerous conference players crack the Big Ten’s single-season stat charts. Maggie Lucas’s debut season for Penn State saw her set a new single season conference record for three-pointers made, draining 112, while attempting the fourth-most threes in a season at 263. Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender finished with 774 points and 370 rebounds, both of which were fourth-most in Big Ten history. She recorded the second-most field goals made in a season with 316 and Purdue’s Brittany Rayburn finished the year with an .894 free-throw percentage, which is tied for fifth on the conference single-season list.
Ranking Among the National Leaders
Big Ten student-athletes ranked at or near the top of the national statistics leaders in numerous categories. With Maggie Lucas ranking 11th (42.6) nationally from behind the arc, Penn State was No. 1 in the country in three-point field goal percentage at 41.5 percent. Ohio State’s Brittany Johnson ranked eighth in the category at 45.0 percent. Lucas ranked fourth nationally in three-pointers per game (3.2), while Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender (22.8), Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke (21.4) and Indiana’s Jori Davis (19.5) ranked in the top 20 in points per game. Buckeye Samantha Prahalis was third in assists per game (6.9) and Jaeschke was sixth in blocks per game (3.2). Purdue’s Brittany Rayburn ranked seventh in free throw percentage (89.4). To see where the Big Ten ranked among the national statistical leaders, turn to Page 7 of this release.
Wisconsin Welcomes Kelsey
Wisconsin tabbed Stanford assistant Bobbie Kelsey as its new head coach on April 11. Kelsey, who appeared in three Final Fours as a student-athlete for the Cardinal, served on the Stanford bench the past four seasons, where it went 137-14 during that span and advanced to four consecutive national semifinals.
WNBA Comes Calling
Four Big Ten standouts were selected during the annual WNBA Draft, marking the 13th time in the 15 years of the draft the conference has had three or more student-athletes chosen. Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender was selected in the first round, fifth overall, by the Los Angeles Sparks, to become the 13th Big Ten player to be selected in the opening round. Three others were selected in the third round as Iowa’s Kachine Alexander was selected 26th overall by Minnesota, Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke was chosen 27th overall by Chicago, and Indiana’s Jori Davis was picked 33rd overall by Indiana.
Brains of the Operation
Wisconsin’s Alyssa Karel earned Academic-All-America status by CoSIDA. The Badger senior was named a third-team Academic All-American and carries a 3.88 grade-point average as a nursing major. On the court, Karel guided the Wisconsin to third place in the conference standings last season. In addition, nine Big Ten women's basketball student-athletes were named to the Academic All-District Teams. Two conference standouts were named to the Division 5 All-District first team, Purdue's Brittany Rayburn and Wisconsin's Karel. Five were named All-District second team, including Penn State's Julia Trogele, Michigan's Veronica Hicks, Northwestern's Kendall Hackney, Purdue's Chelsea Jones and Wisconsin's Lin Zastrow. Iowa's Morgan Johnson and Kelly Krei were named All-District third-team members.