2016-17 Women's Basketball Season in Review

Michigan captured the 2017 WNIT championship, the eighth postseason women's basketball title in Big Ten history.

May 19, 2017


Postseason Success
• In 2016-17, the Big Ten tied a conference record for postseason wins and registered the second-highest postseason winning percentage in conference history, as the eight participating Big Ten schools combined to go 19-7 (.731) during NCAA Tournament and Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) play.
• The Big Ten also set a conference record for wins in one WNIT, with four participating schools (Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Penn State) going 14-3 (.824) in the tournament, including three (Indiana, Iowa, Michigan) making the WNIT quarterfinals for the second time in conference history (and first since 2000). It all culminated with Michigan winning the WNIT championship with an 89-79 triple-overtime victory over Georgia Tech in the title game on April 1 in Detroit. FULL STORY
• Michigan’s WNIT championship was the eighth postseason women’s basketball title won by a current Big Ten school and first since Rutgers earned the 2014 WNIT crown. The Wolverines are the fifth Big Ten school to raise the WNIT championship trophy, joining Penn State (1998), Wisconsin (2000), Ohio State (2001) and Rutgers (2014).
• Maryland and Ohio State advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, marking the fifth time in six seasons and 28th time in the 36-year history of the NCAA Tournament that the Big Ten sent multiple schools to the Sweet Sixteen. Maryland earned its 13th Sweet Sixteen appearance and fifth in six years, while Ohio State advanced to its second consecutive Sweet Sixteen and 11th overall.
• For the 32nd consecutive season, at least four current Big Ten women’s basketball programs reached the NCAA Tournament. Purdue made its 26th appearance, leading participating Big Ten schools in NCAA Tournament appearances, followed by Maryland (25), Ohio State (24) and Michigan State (16).
• For the 17th consecutive season, the Big Ten sent at least eight schools to postseason play.
• A Big Ten-record nine schools (Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue) won at least 20 games in 2016-17. The Big Ten has seen at least seven of its women’s basketball programs win 20 games in each of the past four seasons, including a (then) Big Ten-record eight 20-win schools in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Indiana (23) and Michigan (28) also set school records for wins during the 2016-17 season.

Big Ten Regular Season and Tournament
• Maryland and Ohio State shared the 2016-17 Big Ten Championship, with the Terrapins earning their third consecutive conference title, while the Buckeyes claimed their Big Ten-best 15th championship overall (and first since 2010). FULL STORY
• Maryland won the Big Ten Tournament for the third consecutive season, becoming the first Big Ten women’s basketball program ever to sweep the regular season and tournament titles three years in a row. The Terrapins were also the third school to win three straight Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament championships, and the first since Ohio State from 2009-11. FULL STORY

Individual Honors
• Eight Big Ten women’s basketball students earned All-America honors from at least one national organization following the 2016-17 season. FULL STORY
• Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell (the Big Ten Player of the Year) was a consensus All-America selection, making either the first or second All-America teams as named by the Associated Press, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), John R. Wooden Award and espnW. Meanwhile, Maryland’s Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough received All-America nods from the AP, USBWA and espnW, and were honorable mention choices by the WBCA. FULL STORY
• Five other Big Ten students received honorable mention All-America citations from at least one of the aforementioned organizations in 2016-17 — Indiana’s Tyra Buss, Michigan’s Katelynn Flaherty, Michigan State’s Tori Jankoska, Northwestern’s Nia Coffey and Penn State’s Teniya Page. FULL STORY
• Maryland’s Destiny Slocum (the Big Ten Freshman of the Year) was named the inaugural recipient of the WBCA Division I Freshman of the Year award. FULL STORY

Academics
• For the 10th consecutive season, Big Ten women’s basketball honored more than 45 Academic All‐Big Ten standouts as 61 women’s basketball students, representing all 14 conference schools, were recognized in 2016-17. FULL STORY
• Iowa senior guard Ally Disterhoft became the fifth NCAA Division I women’s basketball student to be chosen a two-time Academic All-American of the Year by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), earning the honor for the second consecutive season and joining such notable two-time women’s basketball recipients as Elena Delle Donne, Maya Moore and former Nebraska standout Karen Jennings. Disterhoft was also one of 12 winter Academic All-Big Ten honorees who maintained a perfect 4.0 cumulative GPA. FULL STORY
• Three Big Ten women’s basketball students received CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 2016-17, recognizing the nation’s top students for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. Iowa’s Ally Disterhoft earned first-team recognition, while Indiana’s Amanda Cahill and Minnesota’s Carlie Wagner garnered third-team accolades. For Disterhoft, it was her third career Academic All-America citation (second consecutive first-team award), making her the sixth three-time women’s basketball honoree from a Big Ten school and the first since Penn State’s Kelly Mazzante from 2002-04. Both Cahill and Wagner collected their first career Academic All-America honors. FULL STORY
• Five Big Ten women's basketball students earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors. Indiana’s Amanda Cahill, Iowa’s Ally Disterhoft, Maryland’s Kristen Confroy, Minnesota’s Carlie Wagner and Northwestern’s Ashley Deary were among the 43 NCAA Division I first-team academic all-district selections nationwide. FULL STORY
• Maryland’s Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough were among 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, which is presented annually to a senior student who has made notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. Both Big Ten students went on to be chosen as Senior CLASS All-Americans, with Walker-Kimbrough making the first team and Jones appearing on the second team. FULL STORY
• Former Purdue standout and Big Ten Network college basketball analyst Stephanie White (’99) has been selected for induction into the Academic All-America Hall of Fame. The 1999 Wade Trophy recipient as well as the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year and Player of the Year, White helped lead the Boilermakers to the 1999 national championship before embarking on a successful career as a WNBA player and coach, recently completing her first season as the head coach at Vanderbilt University. White, who will be enshrined in the Hall next month during ceremonies held in conjunction with the CoSIDA Convention in Orlando, will be third women’s basketball student from a current Big Ten school to enter the Academic All-America Hall of Fame, joining former Nebraska great Karen Jennings (2008) and former Michigan standout Diane Dietz (2009). FULL STORY

National Television Exposure
• The Big Ten’s media agreements have played a significant role in helping Big Ten women’s basketball reach unparalleled amounts of national exposure. In 2016-17, each of the 112 regular season women’s basketball conference games were produced and distributed by BTN, BTN Plus, an ESPN Network or CBS, the third consecutive season every Big Ten women’s basketball game was televised on one of these networks.
• ESPN2 carried the 2017 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament championship game, while BTN televised the first 12 games of the tournament.

Attendance
• For four consecutive seasons, Big Ten women’s basketball programs have welcomed more than 830,000 fans in home arenas. The 2016-17 campaign marked the 19th straight year the conference has surpassed the 650,000 mark in total attendance and 12th time in the last 14 years that Big Ten programs have hosted more than 700,000 fans.
• This past year, the Big Ten ranked third among all NCAA Division I conferences in attendance with an average of 3,683 fans per game and a total attendance of 872,861 fans coming through the turnstiles.
• Eleven Big Ten teams ranked among the top 50 in the nation for total attendance in 2016-17, including six in the top 20. Michigan State (No. 8) and Purdue (No. 9) were among the top 10, while Maryland (11th), Ohio State (13th), Nebraska (17th) and Iowa (19th) were among the top 20.

WNBA Draft
• The Big Ten factored prominently into the 2017 WNBA Draft, with five of the top 13 selections, including four of the top nine picks, coming from four different Big Ten schools — Northwestern’s Nia Coffey (No. 5 overall to San Antonio), Maryland’s Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (No. 6 to Washington), Maryland’s Brionna Jones (No. 8 to Connecticut), Michigan State’s Tori Jankoska (No. 9 to Chicago) and Ohio State’s Shayla Cooper (No. 13 to Connecticut). FULL STORY
• This was the first time since the inaugural WNBA Draft in 1997 that five students from current Big Ten schools were selected among the top 13 picks.
• This marked the first time since 2009, and the third time in Big Ten history (along with 2008), that four students from current Big Ten schools were selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft.