Big Ten Women's Basketball Weekly Release - Nov. 25

Nov. 25, 2008

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Lauren Mioton, Purdue

Purdue senior Lauren Mioton is the epitome of a well rounded student-athlete. The 2008 Purdue homecoming queen is also a Rhodes Scholar finalist. Mioton, a biology major with nearly a 4.0 GPA has medical school as a backup plan if a scholarship to the University of Oxford does not pan out.  Last season, the New Orleans native published a cookbook and raised $8,200 for wetlands preservation in her home state. She even produced the cover art, a pencil drawing of traditional New Orleans food and ingredients.

First Impressions
Over the past two weeks, Big Ten teams combined for a 9-2 record in their home openers, losing those two contests by a total of eight points to teams that were either ranked or receiving votes. Conference squads have outscored their first home opponents by a combined total of 778-561 for a point differential of +19.7 points per game. Michigan State recorded the largest margin as the Spartans defeated Niagara 116-50, tying a Big Ten record for points scored in a home opener and setting a program record for largest margin of victory at 66 points.

MSU’s DeHaan Nets 1,000th Career Point
Michigan State junior Allyssa DeHaan became the 19th Spartan in school history to score 1,000 career points as she dropped 21 against Quinnipiac in the championship game of the TD Banknorth Classic on Sunday. DeHaan needed just 75 games to accomplish the feat, making her the fifth-fastest Spartan to reach the marker.

Wolverines Playing at High Level
Michigan closed out last week with a 50-42 upset win over No. 13/12 Vanderbilt on Sunday after getting nipped on Thursday by No. 12/7 Texas A&M, 56-59.  The win over Vanderbilt marks the first time since Feb. 29, 2004, that Michigan has claimed victory over a nationally ranked squad and its first-ever triumph over the Commodores, who were selected to finish first in the SEC this year. The win is also the Big Ten’s first over a top-15 non-conference opponent since Dec. 22, 2007, when Indiana upstaged No. 13/13 West Virginia.

Double Trouble
With 17 points and 12 rebounds against Temple on Sunday, Illinois junior Jenna Smith recorded her 23rd career double-double, tying Indiana’s Whitney Thomas for most among active conference players. Overall on the season, Smith is averaging just under a double-double per game with 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest. Thomas’ averages sit at 9.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

MVP Moments
Three Big Ten players were named MVPs in three different tournaments over the weekend. Iowa’s Megan Skouby received the honors at the KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge for the second time in her career, averaging 17 points, five rebounds and an assist per game as Iowa won the event for the 18th time in the tournament’s 23-year history. Michigan State’s Kalisha Keane was named MVP of the TD Banknorth Classic in Burlington, Vt., averaging 15 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists over two games as the Spartans took the event’s title. Emily Fox of Minnesota took home MVP accolades at the Subway Classic for the second consecutive season, netting 16.5 points with 2.0 steals while shooting .481 from the floor as the Gophers won the tournament.

Ohio State sophomore Jantel Lavender has scored 20 or more points in each of her four games this season, currently leading the conference with a 22.5 points-per-game average. The 6-4 center has also recorded a double-double in each of her games this season and is tied for the Big Ten lead with 12.8 boards per game. Lavender has scored in double figures in each of her 35 career games played and owns 17 career double-doubles in just over one full year of competition.

30 is the New 20
Iowa’s Megan Skouby netted the Big Ten’s first 30-point performance of the season last Tuesday, dropping 33 at Kansas to account for 60 percent of the Hawkeyes’ offensive output in the game. The 33-point total marked a career-high for the senior and her first career 30-point game. Last year in the Big Ten, seven different players combined for 13 30-point performances.

Fast Starters
Two weeks into the season, two Big Ten teams remain undefeated, including 5-0 Michigan State. The Spartans are off to a 5-0 start for the fourth time in program history and for the first time since the 1999-00 season. Purdue is 3-0 to start the season for the third time in the last five years.

Follow the Leaders
Two weeks into the season, Michigan State and Purdue are leading the Big Ten in 14 of 17 statistical categories. The Spartans currently pace the conference in eight stat lines, including scoring, rebounding, blocks and assists. The Boilermakers lead the way in six categories including points allowed, steals, three-pointers and assist-turnover ratio.

Tracking the Top 25
With a pair of wins last week, Purdue jumped up two spots in the Associated Press (AP) poll, now at No. 19 and the Big Ten’s highest-ranked team. The ranking is the highest for the Boilermakers in the AP since the final 2006-07 poll when they came in at No. 12. Ohio State dropped slightly from No. 17 to No. 20, while Michigan State is in the top 25 for the first time this season at No. 24 after receiving votes in the first two editions. After its win over No. 13/12 Vanderbilt, Michigan is receiving votes in the AP poll for the first time in six seasons.