Dec. 28, 2010
Get to Know Her
Nya Jordan, Michigan
6-0, So., F, Lathrup Village, Mich.
As an Art and Design major, Michigan sophomore guard Nya Jordan showcases her artistic talents off the court. Jordan, who is in her first year as a starter, can be seen lugging around portfolios, easels and all sorts of art supplies across campus. She has even been known to bring some of her woodworking projects on road trips. Jordan, who hails from Detroit, hopes to open her own gallery in the future.
This week, Big Ten teams will conclude their non-conference schedules and begin the 2010-11 conference season. With four out of conference contests scheduled for Tuesday, the Big Ten schedule will get underway on Thursday with Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Penn State and Purdue each hosting conference openers. The Big Ten Network will televise a pair of conference matchups on Thursday with Ohio State visiting Michigan at 6:30 ET and Minnesota traveling to Illinois at 8:30 ET. In total, the Big Ten Network and www.bigtennetwork.com will provide national coverage of 11 conference matchups this week.
Where We Rank
Five Big Ten teams were mentioned in the Associated Press or ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls, including three among the top 25. Michigan State is the highest ranked conference team in the AP poll, appearing at No. 12, followed immediately by Ohio State and Iowa at Nos. 13 and 14, respectively. In the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, Ohio State is the Big Ten’s top team at No. 12, with Iowa at No. 13 and Michigan State checking in at No. 16. Northwestern appeared among the teams receiving votes by both polling services, while Purdue is receiving votes in the coaches poll.
Nothing New Here
Ohio State senior Jantel Lavender entered her final season having scored in double-figures in each game she played in during her career. That streak has continued thus far in 2010-11 as she has now scored 10 or more points in 112 straight contests – the longest active streak in the nation. In addition, Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke has posted double-figures in 29 straight contests.
Bring it On
This week, the conference schedule begins with all 11 teams opening the Big Ten season. Six-time defending conference champion Ohio State seeks its record seventh straight Big Ten title. The Buckeyes have won 13 conference championships in program history, while Iowa has won nine and Purdue has the third-most with seven. Last season, Ohio State finished with a 15-3 record to lead the conference, while Michigan State was second at 12-6 and Wisconsin and Iowa tied for third at 10-8.
Back to 16
After conference teams spent the past three seasons competing in 18-game Big Ten schedules, the conference squads will go back to a 16-game slate for the 2010-11 campaign. Big Ten teams played 16-game conference schedules from 1994-2007, and competed in 18-game slates from 1982-1993 and 2007-2010.
With a win over Boston College last week, Michigan knocked off its second undefeated opponent of the season. The Wolverines defeated the then-No. 24/24 Golden Eagles 68-55 last week, while coming away with a 75-67 victory over then-unbeaten Kansas.
Ready to Join the Club
Several Big Ten standouts are approaching career milestones in points or rebounds in the coming games. Purdue’s Brittany Rayburn is just seven points away from reaching the 1,000 mark, while Iowa’s Kachine Alexander is 23 points shy of joining the club, which boasts six active members. Wisconsin’s Lin Zastrow is only seven boards shy of reaching the 500 mark, while Indiana’s Jori Davis needs 14 to become part of the 500 career rebounds list.
Winning With Authority
Big Ten teams have combined for 92 wins thus far this season, with 34 coming by 21 or more points. Michigan State has six wins of 21 or more, followed by Iowa and Penn State with five each. In total 10 conference teams have recorded at least one victory by 21 or more points.
Four With 10 or More
Four conference teams have reached or surpassed the 10-wins mark already this season, with two having recorded 12 wins entering conference play. Iowa and Michigan State have both reached the 12-wins mark, giving the Big Ten the most teams of any conference in the nation that has reached the milestone. Tied with the Big East, which also has two teams with 12 or more wins, the Big Ten’s additional teams with 10 or more wins include Northwestern (11) and Penn State (10).
A pair of conference coaches reached landmark wins last week or are nearing milestones in the coming games. With a 82-74 victory over Northern Arizona, Minnesota coach Pam Borton became the Gophers’ all-time winningest coach, recording her 173rd victory, surpassing former coach Ellen Mosher-Hanson’s 172 triumphs. In West Lafayette, Purdue’s Sharon Versyp is just two wins shy of her 100th as the Boilermaker coach.
Competing With the Best
The Big Ten has recorded six wins against ranked opponents this season, five of which have come against higher-ranked opponents. On Dec. 1, then No. 25/25 Michigan State defeated No. 15/14 Florida State and then knocked off No. 17/20 Texas on Dec. 5, the same day Indiana defeated No. 24/19 Nebraska. On Dec. 9, No. 19/19 Iowa held No. 16/15 Iowa State to its lowest scoring game of the season in a 62-40 victory. Most recently, Michigan upended No. 24/24 Boston College, 68-55, on Dec. 22.
During the non-conference season, Big Ten teams took part in three challenge events with opposing conferences. The fourth annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge took place Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 1 and 2, with the ACC earning a narrow 6-5 series win. In the inaugural Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge, the Big Ten claimed a 7-5 victory as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and Penn State all earned wins for the Big Ten. Also new this year, the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and the SEC organized the Super Six Series, which pits two teams from each conference against teams from one of the five others. Michigan State and Minnesota represented the Big Ten in the inaugural event.
This season, Big Ten women’s basketball will enjoy extensive broadcast coverage, as more than 90 percent of home games will be produced for a national audience. Through media agreements with the Big Ten Network, CBS Sports and ESPN, Big Ten women’s basketball will be broadcast to a national television audience approximately 65 times, with numerous more games to be produced nationally on www.bigtennetwork.com.
Big Ten Tournament Primetime
Once again, each game of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament will be televised live to a national audience. The first nine games will be televised by the Big Ten Network, while the tournament final will be televised live by ESPN2. The Big Ten Network will continue to have a presence at the tournament, with a courtside studio to provide on-site analysis during the tournament.
Home Again in Indiana
The 2011 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament will once again call Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., home. It is the 16th time in 17 years the Circle City will play host to the annual event, and the 10th straight year the women’s tournament will take place in Indianapolis. The Big Ten is in the fourth year of a five-year agreement with Indianapolis to serve as the host city for the annual men’s and women’s postseason events. The women’s tournament will begin on Thursday, March 3 and culminate with the tournament championship game on Sunday, March 7.
A Familiar Site
The conference’s women’s basketball teams ultimate goal at the end of the season is the 2011 NCAA Women’s Final Four, to be held at a very familiar site. Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, home of the 2011 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament, will serve as the site for the final games of the 2010-11 season. The Circle City has served as the host site of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament for the past nine seasons. Michigan State advanced to the national championship game the last time Indianapolis served as the host site of the Women’s Final Four.
Keep it CLASS-y
Four Big Ten women’s basketball student-athletes were named candidates for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, the most of any conference in the nation. The award is given annually to a senior that has notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. Iowa’s Kachine Alexander, Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke, Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender and Wisconsin’s Alyssa Karel are among the list of 30 candidates, which will be trimmed to 10 midway through the season.
Wooden Would be Proud
Three Big Ten standouts were selected to the 2010-11 John R. Wooden Award Women’s Preseason Top 30 List. Iowa senior Kachine Alexander and Ohio State senior Jantel Lavender and junior Samantha Prahalis were named to the watch list, which was announced during the summer.
Wade To Go
The same three Big Ten standouts that were named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 30 List also made the cut for the Wade Award watch list. Iowa senior Kachine Alexander and Ohio State senior Jantel Lavender and junior Samantha Prahalis are among the standouts to earn the preseason honor.
Naismith Knows Talent
Four conference student-athletes were named to Naismith Award watch list, which was announced prior to the season. Iowa senior Kachine Alexander, Northwestern senior Amy Jaeschke, and Ohio State senior Jantel Lavender and junior Samantha Prahalis are part of the 30-member watch list, with the winner to be announced at the 2011 Women’s Final Four.