Dec. 3, 2007
Nine Big Ten teams enter the month of December with winning percentages at or above .500. Six conference games will be nationally televised this week with five to be broadcast by the Big Ten Network and one to air on ESPN360.com.
Big Ten on TV
Six Big Ten women's basketball games will hit the national airwaves this week, beginning on Wednesday as Illinois hosts nationally ranked Oklahoma at 8 p.m. CT live on the Big Ten Network. Network coverage continues on Thursday as Northwestern welcomes Seton Hall at 7 p.m. CT. The weekend features three Big Ten Network contests, beginning on Saturday as Purdue hosts Notre Dame at 4 p.m. ET and Michigan welcomes Kentucky at 6 p.m. ET. On Sunday, Penn State will face Georgetown in University Park at 3 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network, while Indiana travels to Kansas for a 2 p.m. CT matchup that will be broadcast by ESPN360.com.
Penn State Knocks off No. 11/10 Duke
Penn State closed out the inaugural Big Ten/ACC Women's Basketball Challenge with an 86-84 win over No. 11/10 Duke on Sunday at the Bryce Jordan Center. The win marks the Big Ten's first non-conference win over a top-10 opponent since Dec. 20, 2006 when Ohio State defeated then-No. 3/3 Oklahoma. PSU's victory marks the first time since Dec. 5, 2004 that an unranked Big Ten team beat a top-10 non-conference opponent. In that game, the Lady Lions defeated then-No. 2/4 North Carolina at home. The PSU win over Duke was the first in team history and also marked the Blue Devils' first loss to an unranked foe in 76 games.
Underclassmen are Overachievers
The Big Ten has awarded conference Player of the Week honors to three different student-athletes over four weeks this season, all of which have gone to underclassmen. Illinois sophomore Jenna Smith and Ohio State freshman Jantel Lavender have each garnered the honors twice, while Michigan State sophomore Allyssa DeHaan has earned the award once. This is the first season in Big Ten history that each of the first four weekly awards has gone to a freshman or sophomore, and Lavender is the first freshman in conference annals to have earned the accolade twice in the first four weeks of a season.
O'Rourke Ties Big Ten Free-Throw Record
Penn State's Brianne O'Rourke was a perfect 15-for-15 from the line in the Lady Lions' win over Duke on Sunday, tying the conference's record for free-throw percentage in a single game. O'Rourke becomes one of just five players in Big Ten history to have gone perfect at the line on 15 or more attempts. The mark also tied a school record as Jess Strom went 15-for-15 from the stripe the last time PSU defeated a top-10 opponent, on Jan. 30, 2005 against Minnesota.
Home Court Advantage
Big Ten teams have combined for a 33-6 home record so far this season, equaling a .846 winning percentage in conference arenas. Six Big Ten teams are undefeated at home (Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue), while all 11 squads own home winning averages of .500 or better.
Big Ten Squads Draw Big Crowds
Big Ten squads have combined to welcome 136,550 fans through 39 home contests, for an average of 3,501 per game. The Big Ten has consistently ranked among the nation's leaders in home attendance, having finished first or second nationally in each of the past 15 seasons. The inaugural Big Ten/ACC Women's Basketball Challenge brought in 40,168 total fans, including 15,575 fans at five Big Ten home games.
Badger Senior Tracks UW Points Record
Wisconsin senior Jolene Anderson combined for 44 points last week, putting her 134 shy of Wisconsin's all-time scoring record of 1,994, set by Barb Franke from 1991-96. With 1,860 career points to her name, Anderson is on pace to become the 12th player in Big Ten history to reach the 2,000-point milestone. The Port Wing, Wis., native also has reached double-figure scoring in each of her last 35 games, which marks the third longest streak in school history.
DeHaan Approaches Blocking Milestone
Michigan State sophomore Allyssa DeHaan owns 185 blocks in her career, putting her just nine shy of the Spartans' school record of 194, set by Kristen Rasmussen from 1997-2000. The 6-9 center is just 15 swats away from becoming the 10th member of the Big Ten's 200 career blocks club. DeHaan is on pace to become the youngest player in conference history to reach the milestone, as no other student-athlete has reached 200 blocks before entering her junior season.
Fox Nets 30 Against Virginia Tech
Minnesota junior Emily Fox tied her career high with 30 points against Virginia Tech in a Big Ten/ACC Challenge contest on Friday. Fox becomes the third conference player this season to tally 30 points in a game, joining Illinois' Jenna Smith (32 on Nov. 18 vs. Southern Illinois) and Wisconsin's Jolene Anderson (37 on Nov. 9 at Cleveland State).
Big Ten Wins Three in Inaugural Challenge
The Big Ten took three games in the first ever Big Ten/ACC Challenge, including the first and last contests. Michigan opened the event with a 65-60 win at Miami on Nov. 19. Michigan State earned the conference's next victory, downing Clemson, 68-51, 10 days later. Penn State gave the Big Ten a win to close out the Challenge, defeating No. 11/10 Duke, 86-84, on Sunday. The 2007 Big Ten Women's Basketball Challenge featured 14 teams either ranked or receiving votes in the national polls and four matchups between two teams either ranked or receiving votes, including the Lady Lions vs. Blue Devils contest.