Nov. 15, 2011
Each Big Ten team recorded a victory during the opening weekend of play, with six teams earning road or neutral site wins. Michigan and Minnesota knocked off a pair of SEC foes away from home last weekend, with the Wolverines defeating Florida in Gainesville and the Gophers knocking off Arkansas at the WBI Tip Off in Daytona Beach. Illinois, Michigan State, Northwestern and Wisconsin each started the season with wins on the road during the opening weekend of the season. This week, 15 women’s basketball contests are scheduled to be streamed live online at BTN.com.
Where We Rank
Five Big Ten teams appeared in the latest Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. Penn State paced the conference in both rankings, jumping a spot in each poll to No. 11 in the AP and No. 12 in the coaches rankings. Purdue also moved up on spot and is now 16th in the AP rankings and 20th in the coaches poll, while Ohio State enters the rankings for the first time and is ranked 24th by the AP and 25th by the coaches. Iowa and Michigan are also receiving votes in both polls this week.
Six With Unblemished Marks
Six conference squads made it through the opening weekend of play with perfect marks. Michigan and Penn State each boast perfect 2-0 records as the Wolverines earned a road win at Florida before coming home to defeat Florida Atlantic, and the Lady Lions claimed wins over Washington State and Middle Tennessee in the Lady Lion Classic. Four other teams started the season 1-0 as Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue each earned victories in their respective season openers.
One of a Kind
Through the first weekend of play, Wisconsin’s Taylor Wurtz is the only conference player to average a double-double in points and rebounds. The Badger junior filled the stat sheet in Wisconsin’s first two games of the season as she holds averages of 16.0 points and 14.5 rebounds per game, adding 4.0 assists. Wurtz opened the season with a 17-point, 14-rebound effort against Milwaukee before adding 15 points and 15 boards in her second game against Oral Roberts. She owns the top two rebounding marks in the early part of the season and leads the Big Ten in the category through the first weekend of play.
Other Scoring Threats
Seven Big Ten players posted 20 points or more during the first weekend of play. Iowa’s Jaime Printy is the conference’s leader in scoring through the first weekend of play with an average of 24.5 points per contest. She opened the year with 24 points against Harvard before pouring in 25 against UNLV. Illinois’ Kersten Magrum (23 points), Michigan’s Courtney Boylan (21) and Rachel Sheffer (20), Michigan State’s Porsche Poole (24), and Penn State’s Alex Bentley (22) and Maggie Lucas (22) each boast game-highs of 20 or more points this season. Boylan ranks second in the conference in scoring at 19.5 points per game, while Lucas is tied for third with an average of 18.0 points per contest.
Keepers of the Glass
Seven conference players finished with 10 or more rebounds in a game this season, including a pair of standouts with two such efforts. Penn State’s Nikki Greene recorded 12 boards against Washington State before corralling 10 more versus Middle Tennessee. Wisconsin’s Taylor Wurtz recorded 14 and 15 rebounds, respectively against her first two opponents, Milwaukee and Oral Roberts. In addition, Indiana’s Sasha Chaplin (10 rebounds), Georgie Jones (13) and Jasmine McGhee (11), Penn State’s Mia Nickson (10) and Wisconsin’s Anya Covington each opened the season with 10-rebound efforts.
Making the Cut
Several Big Ten players were named to various All-Tournament teams following their performances last weekend. Iowa’s Jaime Printy and Kamille Wahlin earned All-Tournament accolades following the Hawkeye Challenge, Michigan State’s Becca Mills earned All-Tournament honors in her season debut at the Iona Tournament, Minnesota’s Kiara Buford was named to the WBI Tip Off All-Tournament squad, and Penn State’s Maggie Lucas was named the Lady Lion Classic MVP, while teammates Zhaque Gray and Alex Bentley were selected All-Tournament team members.
For the second year in a row, teams for the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC will take part in the Super Six Series, an annual showcase highlighting two squads from each conference in early season inter-conference matchups. Illinois and Michigan will represent the conference this season, with their matchups against Pac-12 opponents taking place this week. On Thursday, Michigan will host Utah in the first of two inter-conference matchups, while Illinois travels to Oregon on Friday. Last season, the Big Ten went 1-1 with Minnesota defeating Pittsburgh and Michigan State falling to Baylor.
Keep an Eye Out For…
A trio of conference standouts were singled out on preseason watch lists for annual national awards. Iowa’s Jaime Printy, Ohio State’s Samantha Prahalis and Penn State’s Alex Bentley were named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 30 List, while Printy and Bentley were selected to the Wade Award Watch List. It is the second year Prahalis has been selected to a preseason watch list, while it is the first time Printy or Bentley has been selected.
Broadcasting to the Nation
Big Ten women’s basketball will continue to receive extensive national broadcast coverage. This season, more than 90 percent of Big Ten women’s basketball home games are scheduled to be nationally distributed through the conference’s media agreements. At least 65 contests will appear on national television on BTN, CBS Sports or ESPN2. Also, every game of the Big Ten Tournament will be nationally televised. In addition, approximately 100 games are tentatively scheduled to be streamed online at BTN.com.
Back Home in Indiana
The 2012 Women’s Basketball Tournament will once again call Conseco Fieldhouse home. It is the 17th time in 18 years the Circle City has played host to the annual event, and the 11th straight year the women’s tournament will take place in Indianapolis. The conference is in the fifth year of a five-year agreement with Indianapolis to serve as the host city of the annual men’s and women’s postseason events. The women’s tournament will begin on Thursday, March 1, and culminate with the tournament championship game on Sunday, March 4.