• The Big Ten has maintained its solid performance throughout the non-conference season, with all 14 schools at or above .500 and eight Big Ten programs sporting a .700 winning percentage or better through the season’s first four weeks. Iowa and Minnesota remain atop the Big Ten standings with 8-1 records, as the Hawkeyes build on their third 8-1 start in five years, and the Golden Gophers have matched their 8-1 start from 2014-15.
• Several Big Ten schools have in-state matchups on the schedule this week. Michigan State defeated Western Michigan on Sunday, while Michigan did likewise at Detroit Mercy on Monday, the same day Purdue hosted Ball State and Wisconsin visited Marquette. On Wednesday, Iowa visits Iowa State in the annual Cy-Hawk Series matchup, while Maryland welcomes Mount St. Mary’s to town. On Friday, Rutgers plays host to its Garden State Parkway rival Seton Hall and Purdue entertains Valparaiso, not to mention Maryland is at home to face a program from the nearby District of Columbia, George Washington.
• BTN’s coverage of Big Ten women’s basketball kicks into high gear starting this week, with seven games featuring conference schools televised on the Network through Dec. 13. Rutgers’ win over Virginia on Monday opened the recent BTN slate, with Penn State playing host to Fordham on Wednesday before Purdue welcomes Ohio to Mackey Arena on Sunday. The latter game tips off a stretch of four Big Ten women’s basketball games on BTN in four days, continuing Dec. 11 when Maryland entertains instrastate foe Loyola (Md.), followed by Michigan hosting North Florida (Dec. 12) and Rutgers welcoming in-state rival Princeton (Dec. 13). Numerous other Big Ten games will be televised live on BTN Plus, with all BTN and BTN Plus games also available on BTN2Go.com and the BTN2Go app.
• Rutgers is off to an 8-2 start this season and has already exceeded its win total from 2016-17, when the Scarlet Knights had six victories. Rutgers’ leading scorer this season is senior guard Tyler Scaife (20.1 ppg.), who returned to action this year after missing all of last season following open-heart surgery to correct a congenital heart defect.
• Michigan senior guard Katelynn Flaherty scored 26 points Monday night in the Wolverines’ 86-50 win at Detroit Mercy, continuing her move up the Big Ten’s career scoring list. Flaherty now stands 16th in conference history with 2,203 points, passing former Purdue All-American Stephanie White (2,182 from 1996-99). Next up for Flaherty on the Big Ten’s career scoring chart is recently-graduated Michigan State standout Tori Jankoska (2,212 from 2014-17).
• Ohio State senior forward Stephanie Mavunga grabbed her 1,000th career rebound on Sunday in the Buckeyes’ 83-70 win at home over Maine. Mavunga, who ranks 20th on the Big Ten’s career rebounding list, has collected 360 of those rebounds since transferring to Ohio State from North Carolina after the 2014-15 season.
• Iowa’s Megan Gustafson was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday, while Nebraska’s Kate Cain was chosen as the conference’s Freshman of the Week. It’s the second honor of the season for both students, whose accomplishments, as well as those of the latest Big Ten Weekly Honor Roll selections, are listed on page four of this release.
• Four Big Ten schools are ranked or receiving votes in the latest Associated Press or USA Today polls, led by No. 12 (AP)/No. 12 (USA Today) Ohio State. Maryland is also ranked in both polls at No. 15/14, as is Michigan at No. 24/21 (the Wolverines have been ranked all five weeks this season, the second-longest run in school history behind a nine-week stretch in 2001-02). In addition, Iowa is receiving votes in both polls this week.
• Nine Big Ten schools are appearing among the top 75 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings issued Monday. Iowa leads the group at No. 12, followed by No. 16 Michigan, No. 18 Ohio State and No. 21 Purdue. Rutgers is next at No. 29, with Maryland at No. 34, Minnesota at No. 54, Michigan State at No. 72 and Penn State at No. 75.
• According to Tuesday’s NCAA statistical rankings, five Big Ten schools rank among the top 25 nationally in scoring offense — Ohio State (7th - 89.5 ppg.), Iowa (8th - 87.2 ppg.), Minnesota (10th - 87.1 ppg.), Maryland (19th - 83.9 ppg.) and Michigan State (22nd - 83.3 ppg.).
• On Tuesday’s other NCAA statistical reports, Iowa leads the nation in assists (25.0 apg.) and fewest fouls (11.1 per game), while Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell is the country’s top scorer (25.7 ppg.) and Iowa’s Megan Gustafson is tied for the national lead with eight double-doubles.
• Seven Big Ten women’s basketball programs rank among the top 25 in the nation in attendance, according to Tuesday’s NCAA statistics report. Maryland leads the way at No. 6 nationally (6,410 fans per game), joined by No. 8 Purdue (5,752), No. 10 Ohio State (5,589), No. 13 Michigan State (5,035), No. 23 Iowa (3,746), No. 24 Nebraska (3,695) and No. 25 Penn State (3,684). Three other conference schools are appearing in the top 50 of the national attendance rankings — Wisconsin (28th - 3,327), Michigan (40th - 2,840) and Indiana (44th - 2,726).
• Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell is the NCAA Division I career record holder for three-point field goals made (411), surpassing the previous record set by UConn’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (398 from 2012-15). The NCAA all-division record is held by Laura Malemee of Division II West Liberty (441 from 2008-11).
• With 2,810 points through Sunday’s win over Maine, Mitchell remains the nation’s active career scoring leader and is in position to challenge the Big Ten record held by Minnesota’s Rachel Banham (3,093 from 2012-16) and the NCAA record held by Washington’s Kelsey Plum (3,527 from 2014-17).
• The 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four will be played March 30 and April 1, right in the heart of Big Ten country in Columbus, Ohio, and co-hosted by Ohio State and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission at Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. This will mark the seventh time the Women’s Final Four is held within the Big Ten Conference footprint, with three visits to Indianapolis (2005, 2011, 2016), two others in the state of Ohio (Cincinnati-1997, Cleveland-2007) and the 1995 event in Minneapolis (the last time it was held in a city featuring a Big Ten institution).
• Next season, the Big Ten will return to an 18-game conference schedule, following approval by the Big Ten Administrators Council in October. Under the new format, schools will play five opponents twice and eight teams once (four home, four away) each season. The model will also emphasize in-state rivalries and competition between regional opponents. Big Ten women’s basketball programs played 18 regular-season conference games for the first 12 seasons of Big Ten play (1982-83 through 1993-94) and returned to that format from 2007-08 to 2009-10 and again in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
• Big Ten programs produced 61 Academic All-Big Ten selections in 2016-17, the 10th consecutive season at least 45 women’s basketball students received the award. That list includes returning Academic All-Americans Amanda Cahill of Indiana and Carlie Wagner of Minnesota, plus Academic All-District honoree Kristen Confroy of Maryland.
• Big Ten schools will be featured on national television at least 63 times during the 2017-18 season. BTN will televise at least 54 games and ESPN networks will carry nine contests. In addition, for the fourth consecutive year, every Big Ten women’s basketball conference game, including 112 regular-season and 13 tournament games, will be produced and distributed by BTN, BTN Plus or an ESPN network.
|Dec. 5, 2017||at Indiana 68, North Texas 63||Bloomington, IN||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|Dec. 6, 2017||#12/12 Ohio State 103, at Florida 77||Gainesville, FL||RECAP||SEC Network Plus|
|at Penn State 65, Fordham 60||University Park, PA||RECAP||BTN
|at #15/14 Maryland 97, Mount St. Mary's 57||College Park, MD||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|at #3/2 Notre Dame 90, Michigan State 59||Notre Dame, IN||RECAP||ACC Network Extra|
|#RV/RV Iowa 61, at Iowa State 55||Ames, IA||RECAP|
|Nebraska 66, at Kansas 49||Lawrence, KS||RECAP||ESPN3|
|at Wisconsin 82, UT Rio Grande Valley 54||Madison, WI||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|Dec. 7, 2017||Minnesota 73, at Georgetown 63||Washington, DC||RECAP|
|at #24/21 Michigan 82, #RV/RV Marquette 76||Ann Arbor, MI||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|at Illinois 81, Indiana State 52||Champaign, IL||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|Dec. 8, 2017||at Rutgers 70, Seton Hall 45||Piscataway, NJ||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|at Butler 69, Wisconsin 62||Indianapolis, IN||RECAP|
|at #15/14 Maryland 80, George Washington 54||College Park, MD||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|at Purdue 95, Valparaiso 49||West Lafayette, IN||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|Dec. 9, 2017||at Michigan State 82, Rhode Island 38||East Lansing, MI||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|Nebraska 89, at Drake 84 (2OT)||Des Moines, IA||RECAP||ESPN3|
|at #RV/RV Iowa 85, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 45||Iowa City, IA||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|Indiana 67, at Northern Kentucky 56||Highland Heights, KY||RECAP||ESPN3|
|at Saint Bonaventure 65, Penn State 62||Olean, NY||RECAP|
|Dec. 10, 2017||at Northwestern 68, Stony Brook 36||Evanston, IL||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|at #24/21 Michigan 54, Kent State 41||Ann Arbor, MI||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|Ohio 77, at Purdue 71||West Lafayette, IN||RECAP||BTN
|at Rutgers 101, Fairleigh Dickinson 35||Piscataway, NJ||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|at Illinois 73, Detroit Mercy 65||Champaign, IL||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|at San Diego 72, Minnesota 69||San Diego, CA||RECAP||TheW.tv|
|at Wisconsin 82, Savannah State 24||Madison, WI||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|Dec. 11, 2017||at #15/14 Maryland 114, Loyola (Md.) 45||College Park, MD||RECAP||BTN
NOTE: Rankings from the Dec. 4-5 Associated Press/USA Today Sports polls (RV - receiving votes/NR - not ranked; when only one ranking is listed, it is from the Associated Press poll)