Nov. 13, 2012
The first weekend of the 2012-13 season saw Big Ten teams combine for a 16-2 record, with five teams wining a pair of games. Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern each won their first two games of the new year, while Illinois, Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin boast 1-0 records heading into the second week of the season. Indiana split a pair of contests last week, while Ohio State lost a close game to nationally ranked Notre Dame in the Carrier Classic.
Where We Rank
Penn State leads the conference contingent in both rankings, appearing at No. 9 in the Associated Press and coaches polls. Nebraska climbed four spots in the USA Today rankings, appearing at No. 15 in poll, and moved up three positions to No. 15 in the AP standings. Purdue rose four spots in the coaches poll, appearing at No. 14 in the rankings, and climbed three spots in the writers poll and checks in at No. 18 this week. Ohio State is rated No. 20 in the AP poll and remains at No. 21 in the coaches poll. Michigan State is receiving votes in the media poll, while Iowa was receiving votes in the coaches poll.
To the Point
Nine conference standouts recorded 20 or more points in a game during the opening weekend of play, including one 30-point effort. Minnesota’s Rachel Banham poured in a career-high 34 points in the Gophers’ season opener in a double-overtime win over Washington State on Saturday. Teammate Micaëlla Riché was the only Big Ten performer with a pair of 20-point games last weekend, pouring in 29 against Washington State and adding 20 more versus Villanova. Indiana’s Jasmine McGhee and Aulani Sinclair, Iowa’s Morgan Johnson, Northwestern’s Lauren Douglas, Kendall Hackney and Maggie Lyon and Penn State’s Maggie Lucas each had 20 or more points in a game last weekend.
Players Approaching Career Milestones
Big Ten players have recently surpassed career milestones or are poised to do so in the coming contests. Illinois’ Karisma Penn surpassed the 200 blocks plateau, joining Iowa’s Morgan Johnson as the only two active members of the club. In addition, Penn State’s Mia Nickson needs just 13 more rebounds to become eighth active member of the 500-rebounds club, while teammate Nikki Greene needs 24 blocks to join Penn and Johnson in the 200 swats category. Ohio State’s Tayler Hill is 19 steals away from 200, while Wisconsin’s Taylor Wurtz needs 52 points to reach the 1,000-mark in her career.
Several Big Ten coaches have reached or are nearing milestones in the coming games. Nebraska’s Connie Yori became the program’s all-time winningest coach with her 192nd victory on Sunday against Temple, surpassing 191 triumphs by former coach Angela Beck in 11 seasons with the Huskers from 1986-1997. Minnesota coach Pam Borton needs two more victories to reach the 200-wins mark as the Gophers’ head coach. Yori needs eight more victories to reach the 200 mark with Nebraska, while Penn State coach Coquese Washington needs seven more triumphs to earn her 100th career win.
One of a Kind
Minnesota’s Micaëlla Riché is the only Big Ten player who has played multiple games thus far to average a double-double. She enters the week ranked second in the conference in scoring at 24.5 points per contest, and is tied for fourth in rebounding at 10.0 a game. In the Gophers’ double-overtime win against Washington State on Saturday, Riché poured in 29 points and hauled in 14 rebounds. She followed up with a 20-point, six-rebound effort in Sunday’s victory over Villanova.
Doing it All
Eleven Big Ten standouts, representing 10 different conference teams, recorded double figures in points and rebounding during the opening weekend of play. Illinois’ Karisma Penn scored 11 points and hauled in 12 rebounds against Evansville, while Indiana’s Sasha Chaplin finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds at Murray State. Iowa’s Theairra Taylor recorded 10 points and 11 rebounds against Illinois State, Michigan’s Rachel Sheffer poured in 16 points and had 13 rebounds versus Detroit and Minnesota’s Micaëlla Riché notched 29 points and 14 rebounds against Washington State. Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper scored 12 points with 14 rebounds against Temple, Northwestern’s Dannielle Diamant finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds against Tennessee-Martin, while teammate Lauren Douglas posted 20 points and 10 boards against Central Michigan. Ohio State’s Ashley Adams had 10 points and 11 rebounds against Notre Dame, Penn State’s Mia Nickson finished with 14 points and 10 boards versus Howard and Wisconsin’s AnnMarie Brown had 11 points and 10 rebounds against Milwaukee.
Keep a Close Watch
Five Big Ten women’s basketball standouts were named to the Wade Trophy Watch List, awarded annually to the nation’s most outstanding player. Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore, Ohio State’s Tayler Hill and Penn State’s Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas were named to the list, which is composed of 25 of the nation’s premier players. Nebraska and Penn State are among six schools to have two or more players named to the list, making the Big Ten one of only two conferences to have two programs with multiple standouts selected. The Big Ten’s five players named to the watch list is tied with the Big 12 for second among all conferences, behind only the Big East.
Up for the Wooden Award
Five Big Ten women’s basketball standouts were named among the 30 preseason candidates for the Wooden Award, given annually to the nation’s top player. Nebraska and Penn State each had two players named to the list, two of only seven schools with multiple candidates, while Ohio State’s Tayler Hill was also named to the preseason list. Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore, and Penn State’s Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas were also among those named preseason candidates for the honor. All five were also named to the Wade Trophy Watch List during the preseason. It is the second appearance on the Wooden Award list for Bentley, while the others are making their debut to the list.
Four Big Ten student-athletes were named candidates for the 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. Iowa’s Jaime Printy, Ohio State’s Tayler Hill, Penn State’s Alex Bentley and Purdue’s Drey Mingo were chosen as candidates for the award, and the winner will be announced during the Women’s Final Four in New Orleans, La.
Watch Us Here
The Big Ten will continue to receive extensive national broadcast coverage this season, as approximately 65 games will be televised live nationally through the conference’s media agreements. BTN, ESPN and CBS Sports will televise 47 Big Ten Conference games, while nearly 97 percent of the intra-conference schedule will be available nationally through televised coverage or streamed online at BTN.com. For the sixth straight season, every game of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament will be nationally televised.
For the first time, the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament will be held in the Chicagoland area as this year’s event will be staged at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The 19th edition of the tournament will be held March 7-10, featuring 11 games over four days. Thursday and Friday will feature four games each, with the semifinals contested on Saturday in advance of Sunday’s championship game. The Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament will return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis for the 2014 event.