Dec. 20, 2004
Hawk Talk: Iowa One of Seven Still Undefeated
At 9-0, Iowa remains one of only seven undefeated teams in the nation. Top-ranked LSU leads all teams at 11-0, followed by the Hawkeyes and St. John's at 9-0. Charlotte, Florida State and Stanford are 8-0, while Richmond stands at 7-0. This is the best start for No. 23 Iowa in 11 years.
Big Ten Women's Basketball Attracting More Fans in 04-05
Big Ten Women's Basketball has attracted 10,000 more fans in 11 fewer games compared to its record-breaking season last year. So far this season, Big Ten teams have played in front of 316,813 fans over 104 games, while through the end of non-conference play prior to the 2003-04 Conference season, Big Ten teams played 115 games in front on 306,976 patrons. The League has at least 13 remaining non-conference games scheduled prior to this year's Big Ten campaign, which at its current average of 3,046 spectators per game, the projected 117-game total attendance figure is 356,411. That mark was not eclipsed until the second day of the first weekend of Conference action on January 4.
Big Ten Continues to Boast FAN-tastic Figures
The Big Ten is looking to continue its dominance in national attendance this season, as last year's total of 778,125 was a Conference record and ranked second nationally (Big 12). Over the 2003-04 season, an average of 5,085 fans -- also a Conference record -- attended Big Ten games. The League has led the nation in attendance seven of the last 12 years, most recently in 1999.
Three League Schools Drastically Improve Attendance
Purdue, Penn State and Minnesota ranked in the top five in the nation for increased attendance last season. Purdue (2nd) averaged 10,105 fans per game -- an increase of 3,051 per game. Penn State (4th) took in 9,670 (+2,899) last year, while Minnesota (5th) improved 1,903 to 9,703.
Big Ten Leads All Conferences With Five in National Polls
In last week's national polls (AP / USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches Poll), the Big Ten is represented by a nation-leading five teams, while a total of seven League teams earned recognition. Ohio State is No. 10/7, while Michigan State and Minnesota are ranked 11th and 13th in both polls, respectively. Purdue is No. 20/18 and Iowa is No. 24/23. Illinois received votes in the AP poll, while Penn State earned votes in the Coaches poll.
Big Ten First in WBCA/Summerville Conference RPI Average
In the latest WBCA/Summerville RPI Ratings, the Big Ten ranks first in Conference RPI average at .604 ahead of the Pac 10 (.594), ACC (.588), Big 12 (580), SEC (.578) and Big East (.563). The League is fifth in the Conference vs. Conference RPI with a rating of .575. Iowa holds an overall RPI rating of .686, which is fifth best in the nation. Michigan State is seventh at .661, while No. 10 Indiana (.649), No. 15 Ohio State (.643), No. 19 Minnesota (.639), No. 21 Penn State (.630) and No. 23 Purdue (.629) round out the top 30. In overall strength of schedule, Indiana is third at .727, while Penn State is tied for fourth at .720. Purdue rates 16th at .662 and Northwestern is 36th at .633. The complete list of ratings is located on page five.
Non-Conference Season Winding Down
As the holiday break is upon us, Big Ten schools will be finishing up finals in the classroom and women's basketball teams will be concluding the brunt of their non-conference schedule over the next two weeks. Heading into this week, the Big Ten is 69-35 in non-conference action, which is a winning percentage of .663. In 2003-04, the Big Ten finished 98-42 for a .700 winning percentage. This season's average is expected to rise throughout the year as the Big Ten has been very successful in the NCAA Tournament in recent years.
Going 20-in-4 in December...
Two Big Ten student-athletes -- Indiana's Cyndi Valentin and Penn State's Tanisha Wright -- have recorded 20-point games in their last four games. Valentin, who played her first home game in the last four contests with the Hoosiers on December 18, scored 22 points against previously-undefeated Eastern Michigan. Prior to that game, Valentin notched a career-high 30 at Indiana State, 28 at Maine and 20 at Boston. Wright, who leads the League with 22.2 points per game, has scored back-to-back 23-point games at Baylor and at home against Old Dominion on December 19. She had 21 points against then-No. 2/2 North Carolina on December 5 and a career-high 32 at Pittsburgh on December 9. Iowa's Crystal Smith nearly accomplished the feat by scoring 21-15-23-33 points in her past four games.
Six Big Ten standouts have eclipsed the 30-point mark seven times so far this season. Penn State's Tanisha Wright scored 32 at Pittsburgh on December 9 and 30 in the season-opener at Texas on November 14. Iowa's Crystal Smith and Michigan State's Lindsay Bowen have each tied the highest output among League players this year with 33. Smith recorded her career high at Drake on December 18, while Bowen reached the mark on November 28 against TCU. Minnesota's Janel McCarville scored 31 points against top-ranked LSU on December 14, while Illinois' Angelina Williams (vs. UCLA, 12/19) and Indiana's Cyndi Valentin (at Indiana State, 12/6) have each scored 30 points on one occasion.
Big Ten Ranks Among NCAA Leaders
In the latest NCAA report (12/14/04), issued each week on Tuesdays, five teams and four student-athletes rank in the top 10 in their respective categories. Penn State's Tanisha Wright is fifth with 22.1 points per game, while Ohio State's Jessica Davenport is eighth with 3.3 blocked shots per game. Michigan State's Kristin Haynie ranks seventh with 4.0 steals per game and Jess Strom of Penn State is eighth with a .952 free-throw percentage. Leading all teams is Ohio State, which is first in scoring defense (46.2) and field goal percentage (.559) and second in scoring margin (35.9), three-point field goal percentage (.504) and fouls per game (12.6).
Illini Take it to No. 16/17 UCLA
In the past three weeks, Illinois has recorded two decisive upsets against ranked teams, most recently on its home court against No. 16/17 UCLA. The Fighting Illini crushed the Bruins, 78-63, which marked the second Top 25 upset for the Orange and Blue after they topped then-No. 21/20 Louisiana Tech on the road in overtime, 71-65.
A Final Four in December?
Coming off its first Final Four appearance in school history, Minnesota made its 2004-05 national television debut on ESPN2 when the Golden Gophers hosted another 2004 Final Four squad, LSU, on December 14. The game, which LSU won 75-67, marked the Gophers' second against a No. 1 team in school history and the first time they had hosted a game versus a top-ranked team.
McCarville Outshines Augustus in Head-to-Head Battle
While the 2004-05 season hasn't even hit the year 2005 just yet, the game on December 14 between Minnesota and LSU offered fans nationwide a close look at two contenders for National Player of the Year. Minnesota's Janel McCarville presented her case over LSU's Seimone Augustus by an impressive performance in front of 7,659 fans in Williams Arena and a nationwide audience watching on ESPN2. Here is a look at both players' statlines from last Tuesday.
Player, Team, Pos. ... FG, FG% ... Pts ... Rebs ... Stls ... Asts ... Blks ... Min.
McCarville, MINN, C ... 14-26, .350 ... 31* ... 13 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 38
Augustus, LSU, F ... 10-19, .345 ... 22 ... 4 ... 3 ... 3 ... 1 ... 40
Big Ten Proves Dominant in Overtime and Blowouts
The Big Ten has accumulated a combined record of 69-35 (.663) this season, but carries a 37-10 (.787) record in games that League teams either win by 16 points or more, or are extended into overtime. Currently, Big Ten teams are 6-2 in overtime, 5-1 in games decided by 16-20 points and 26-7 in games decided by 21 or more points. Michigan State is 2-0 in overtime games this year -- both of which came to ranked Big East opponents.
Four Conference student-athletes have scored in double-digits in every game so far this season. Ohio State's Jessica Davenport leads the League with a streak of 11 games, while Michigan's Tabitha Pool has 10 and Penn State's Tanisha Wright and Iowa's Jamie Cavey have scored 10 or more points in nine consecutive games. Currently 24 student-athletes have double-figure scoring streaks.
Big Ten Teams Outscoring Opponents Big Time
Six Conference teams - Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Purdue - have each outscored their opponents by more than 10 points per game this season. OSU tops the League with an impressive difference of 31.9 ppg, which ranks second nationally. The Buckeyes, who have played 11 games, including three against top-25 teams, are currently outscoring their opponents, 882-531. OSU beat Ohio on December 1, 107-37, matching the League's highest output of the year. Minnesota is second in the League with a scoring margin of 15.9 ppg, while Illinois holds a 15.2 difference over its opponents. Michigan State (13.2), Purdue (12.8) and Iowa (12.1) are more than 10 points better than their opponents.
Shooting For 20
A total of 30 student-athletes have gone for 20 or more points this season on 57 different occasions. Penn State's Tanisha Wright has scored over 20 points in six games this season, including the last four. Indiana's Cyndi Valentin has also scored 20+ points in the last four game while her total of four is tied with Iowa's Crystal Smith and Wisconsin's Jolene Anderson. Michigan State's Lindsay Bowen, Minnesota's Jamie Broback, and Purdue's Erin Lawless have all recorded three 20-point contests this season.