Big Ten Women's Basketball Weekly Release - Nov. 11

Nov. 11, 2008

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Lindsey Nyenhuis, Iowa

Lindsey Nyenhuis had a dream internship last summer working in Los Angeles for Fox Corporate Communications.  She wrote bios for upcoming reality shows, wrote press releases and even mingled with some Hollywood celebrities during her six-week stay. Her goal is to work on-camera for the Big Ten Network or back in Los Angeles at Fox. The outgoing guard maintains a personal video blog covering behind the scenes of her senior season with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Watch Lindsey’s story at or on the Get to Know Her Club’s page on Facebook.

2008-09 Season Tips off on Friday
The 2008-09 season of Big Ten women’s basketball tips off on Friday with six of the conference’s 11 teams in action. Highlighting the opening docket, Minnesota squares off against No. 2 Stanford, which reached the 2007 national title game. Michigan opens its season on Saturday, while three more teams begin play on Sunday. By Monday, all Big Ten teams will have played at least one game. Overall, 10 of the 18 games played in the first four days of the season will involve at least one team ranked or receiving votes in one of the national polls.

IU Opens Season in Preseason WNIT
Indiana opens its 2008-09 campaign as one of 16 teams selected to participate in the 2008 Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament. The Hoosiers open play by hosting Ball State on Friday evening. The 2008 Preseason WNIT field features 12 postseason teams from a year ago, including North Carolina and Oklahoma. The Big Ten has played in the event’s title game in two of the past four years as Purdue earned the crown in 2006 and Ohio State finished as the runner-up in 2004.

Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back.
The Big Ten welcomes back 20 members of its 2007-08 All-Conference teams, including five first-team selections, a Conference Player of the Year and the unanimous Freshman of the Year. Returning first-team selections from a year ago include Illinois’ Jenna Smith, Iowa’s Kristi Smith, Michigan State’s Allyssa DeHaan, Minnesota’s Emily Fox and Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender. Also back in uniform is Purdue’s Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton who was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2006-07 before missing all of last season due to injury.

Buckeyes Aim for Rare Air in 2008-09
Behind reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Jantel Lavender, Ohio State looks to become just the second team in Big Ten history to win at least a share of five consecutive conference titles. The only other program to achieve this feat are the 1983-87 Buckeyes.

Big Ten Teams Earn Spots in National Polls
Ohio State and Purdue each earned top-25 rankings in the preseason AP poll. The Buckeyes came in at No. 18, while the Boilermakers were ranked No. 23. Receiving votes outside the top 25 are Michigan State and Iowa. In the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, Ohio State came in at No. 19, while Purdue, Michigan State, Iowa and Minnesota each received votes outside the top 25.

DeHaan and Lavender Earn National Recognition
Michigan State’s Allyssa DeHaan and Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender were named to the 25-member watch list for the State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year award and to the 30-member watch list for the John R. Wooden Award. DeHaan is a two-time Wade Watch honoree, while Lavender is one of just three sophomores to make each elite list.

Record-Setter Lavender Back for Buckeyes
Among the Big Ten’s returnees in 2008-09 is Ohio State center Jantel Lavender, who last season made history by becoming the first freshman in Big Ten men’s or women’s basketball history to be named Player of the Year when she was voted the honor by the conference coaches. The Cleveland, Ohio, native also became the first freshman in Big Ten women’s basketball history to lead the conference in rebounding, averaging 9.9 boards per game last year.

MSU’s DeHaan Swats Her Way into History
Michigan State center Allyssa DeHaan is on pace to become the most prolific shot blocker in NCAA history. The junior is already her school’s leading blocker and needs just five more swats to reach 300 in her career. DeHaan needs 89 blocks to tie the current Big Ten career leader and 185 to tie the current NCAA leader. The Grandville, Mich., native is the only player in Big Ten history to record more than 100 blocks in back-to-back seasons and is currently on pace to shatter the NCAA career record of 480 by 110 blocks.

Top Scorers Return in 2008-09
The Big Ten returns six of its top eight and 15 of its top 20 scorers from last season. Illinois’ Jenna Smith is the conference’s leading returning scorer, finishing second in the Big Ten with 18.3 points per game. Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender was third at 17.6 ppg, followed by Minnesota’s Emily Fox in fourth at 17.2 ppg. Rounding out the top eight returnees are Indiana’s Jamie Braun (6th, 14.5 ppg), Michigan State’s Allyssa DeHaan (7th, 14.4 ppg) and Penn State’s Tyra Grant (8th, 13.8 ppg).

Team Leaders Look to Lead the Way in 2008-09
Ten of the Big Ten’s 11 schools return their top scorer from the 2007-08 season, while seven squads return their top scorer and their top rebounder. For five squads -- Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue -- the top scorer and rebounder are the same player as Jenna Smith, Krista Phillips, Allyssa DeHaan, Jantel Lavender and Danielle Campbell each look to lead their respective teams.

Milestone Markers
Several Big Ten women’s basketball players will be aiming for career milestones in the 2008-08 season. The conference already welcomes back four 1,000-point scorers in Iowa’s Megan Skouby and Kristi Smith, Minnesota’s Emily Fox and Purdue’s Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, while Illinois’ Jenna Smith, Iowa’s Wendy Ausdemore and Michigan State’s Allyssa DeHaan each need fewer than 60 points to reach the same milestone. Also on track to reach major career markers, Indiana’s Whitney Thomas is less than 200 boards short of entering the Big Ten’s 1,000-rebounds club, Minnesota’s Fox, Indiana’s Thomas and Kim Roberson and Purdue’s Wisdom-Hylton and FahKara Malone each need 80 or fewer swipes to join the conference’s 250-steals club, DeHaan needs five swats to become the third member of the Big Ten’s 300-blocks club, and Penn State’s Brianne O’Rourke is 73 helpers shy of the 500-assists club.

Big Ten Draws Big Crowds
The Big Ten ranked second in the nation in average attendance according to statistics released by the NCAA at the conclusion of the 2007-08 season. Big Ten teams averaged 4,312 fans per home game last season, and the conference was one of only three in the NCAA with an average attendance over 4,000. Leading the way for the Big Ten, Purdue ranked fifth overall with an average of 8,870, while Minnesota was 11th (6,595), Michigan State was 13th (6,317) and Wisconsin was 15th (6,077). Rounding out the top 45 were Penn State (19th, 5,159), Ohio State (30th, 3,926) and Iowa (42nd, 2,987). The Big Ten was the only conference in the nation with more than half its teams ranking in the top 30.

Coming to a TV Near You
Big Ten women’s basketball teams will experience a record amount of exposure with 119 games set to be broadcast nationally during the regular season. The Big Ten Network will air 55 games on its linear channel as well as an additional 56 contests on All internet games will be streamed live and free of charge. During the 2008-09 season, Big Ten women’s basketball can also be found on CBS, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. In addition, for the second time in history, all 10 games of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament will reach a live national audience. The Big Ten Network is set to broadcast the first nine games of the event, while ESPN2 will cover the championship game.

Big Ten Tournament Returns to Indy
The conference will once again return to Indianapolis for the 2009 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament. 2009 marks the second of a five-year agreement that places both the men’s and women’s tournaments in the Circle City. This year’s tournament will be the eighth straight and 14th overall in Indianapolis and will be held on four consecutive days beginning March 5 and ending March 8.

More than Just a Game
The 2009 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament will feature more than just exciting on-court action. Events surrounding the tournament include the annual girls’ basketball youth clinic, fan pep rallies and the Big Ten’s annual event to promote and support cancer awareness, held during the semifinal games. Following last year’s event, the Big Ten donated over $10,000 to the Indianapolis affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Three Big Ten Teams to Host NCAA Action
Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Michigan State’s Breslin Center and Ohio State’s Nationwide Arena will serve as three of the 16 host sites for the first and second rounds of the 2009 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, held March 21-24, 2009. Columbus, Ohio, will welcome four teams on March 21 and 23, while Iowa City, Iowa, and East Lansing, Mich., will host four teams each on March 22 and 24.

Big Ten Begins March to the Arch in 2009
Big Ten women’s basketball will march toward the Arch during the 2008-09 season as the 2009 NCAA Women’s Final Four will be held April 5 and 7 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The conference has sent five teams to the past 10 Final Fours, including two in the last five season. The 2009 championship event is hosted by the Missouri Valley Conference.

Big Ten Alums Making Big Impacts
Over the summer, former Ohio State women’s basketball player Katie Smith captured her third Olympic gold medal as a member of Team USA and also guided the Detroit Shock to the WNBA title, earning MVP honors for her play during the Finals. Also in the WNBA, former Minnesota standout Lindsay Whalen was named one of the league’s Peak Performers and also earned a spot on the All-WNBA team after leading the league in assists.

Get to Know Her
The Big Ten announced its latest public service effort for women’s basketball at Basketball Media Day on Oct. 26. The Get to Know Her campaign is a fully integrated effort that allows fans to see the non-basketball sides of their favorite student-athletes via multimedia tools and on-campus functions. The Get to Know Her campaign is funded in-part by the NCAA as part of a grant program that is designed to foster the growth of women’s basketball on NCAA member campuses and within NCAA member conferences.