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Friday, July 19, 2019

This Week in the Big Ten: Good Games on Tap in Saturday’s Schedule

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Photo Caption: Ohio State puts its undefeated record on the line Saturday against Michigan, a team that defeated them twice last season. Can Samantha Prahalis and backcourt mate Tayler Hill (pictured) accomplish this year what the Prahalis-Lavender tandem of last season could not? Hill, a junior guard, is currently the Buckeyes’ leading scorer—as well as the Big Ten’s top scorer—averaging 21.7 points per game.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Ohio State Media Relations

By Mark Bradford

There was just one surprise in the Big Ten’s midweek women’s basketball contests: Minnesota’s 68-60 win at Northwestern, the Gopher’s first true road win of the season, was the one we didn’t see coming. Both of those teams have tremendous upside and, in this case, the Golden Gophers got there first.

There are a couple of good games this weekend’s schedule, both of them on Saturday. Undefeated Ohio State will travel to Michigan, a team that beat the Buckeyes twice last season, wile Michigan State travels to Penn State.

Although we are early in the season, the loser of the Michigan State-Penn State contest will have some making up to do in conference play, because Ohio State and Nebraska don’t look as if they are going to slow down much.

Let’s take a glance back at the Big Ten’s midweek results and current standings, before looking ahead to this weekend’s action and our predictions.

Summing Up the Midweek Results

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

  • Michigan State 60, Michigan 55

Thursday, January 5, 2012

  • Purdue 63, Wisconsin 52
  • Nebraska 62, Indiana 48
  • Minnesota 68, Northwestern 60
  • Iowa 69, Illinois 62 (OT)


A Look Back at the Mid-Week Action

Michigan State 60, Michigan 55

Porsche Poole scored 13 points as Suzy Merchant’s team maintained their composure on offense and held Michigan to 38 percent from the field. Rachel Sheffer scored 20 points and Courtney Boylan added 11 for Michigan but a 36-22 rebounding advantage for the Spartans (including 11 boards by Courtney Schiffauer) was the difference. Michigan State had 11 offensive rebounds that led to 10 second-chance points.

Michigan was down one with 13:33 to go but MSU worked the lead back up to nine and then held on from there. The win was the Spartans’ 10th straight over Michigan and their 18th in the last 19 meetings.

With the win, the Spartans improve to 10-5 overall and 2-0 in conference play. Michigan drops to 12-3 overall, and 1-1 in conference.

Purdue 63, Wisconsin 52

Purdue (13-3, 3-0) broke out to an early lead as the Boilermakers’ KK Houser (17 points, five steals) shut down Wisconsin’s main scoring threat, Taylor Wurtz. Anya Covington posted 19 points for Wisconsin, but Wurtz, who had not put up less than double-figures all year, was held to just 0-10 from the field by the Boilers’ defense and did not score a point all night.

Purdue led, 31-25, at halftime, and had stretched its advantage to 16 points, 47-31, with 15:32 remaining. But the Badgers fought back to close within six, 50-44, with about 10 minutes to go. They had several chances over the next few minutes to get it closer but were not able to score. It was Wisconsin’s (4-11, 0-3) sixth straight loss while Purdue won its sixth in a row.

Nebraska 62, Indiana 48

For a while, it looked like things could be headed toward an upset, as Indiana (5-11, 0-3) jumped out to a 20-12 lead with 11:35 left in the first half. But despite a poor shooting night (22-of-66 or 32.2 percent from the field, and six-of-26 or 23.1 percent from the arc), Nebraska (13-1, 2-0) turned on the defense and the Hoosiers had no response. The Cornhuskers went on a 34-4 run, spanning the two halves, over the next 16 minutes to set the tally at 46-24 with 15:35 remaining, and then took it home from there. Indiana started coughing the ball up in the face of the Husker pressure (26 turnovers, to just 11 for the Huskers), and Nebraska stepped up its rebounding (40-38 overall rebounding advantage, 18-10 on the offensive boards) to secure its second straight victory in Big Ten Conference play.

Jordan Hooper posted a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds for Nebraska, in her sixth 20+-point performance in a row and her ninth of the season. Husker freshman matched a career high with 18 points to go along with nine boards and a career-high five steals.

Sasha Chaplin scored 15 for Indiana.

Minnesota 68, Northwestern 60

Freshman Rachel Banham did it again with a career-high 26 points, plus eight boards, to carry Minnesota to victory in what was for a while, a cliffhanger, on the road at Northwestern.

Minnesota led 50-38 with 10:25 remaining but Northwestern clawed back to within three, 58-61, with 1:13 remaining. The Gophers’ Kiara Buford (19 points, four rebs) dripped in a layup with 46 seconds left, but the Wildcats’ Danielle Diamante countered with 37 seconds to go. Four seconds later, Banham converted on an old-fashioned three-point play off the inbound pass to put the game out of reach.

Kendall Hackney scored 17 for Northwestern.

With the win, the Gophers improved to 10-7 overall and 2-1 in Big Ten action; Northwestern dropped to 10-5 overall, and remained winless, at 0-2, in conference play.

Iowa 69, Illinois 62 (OT)

It’s hard to see just how good the Illini are becoming from their season record (6-10 overall, 0-3 in Big Ten play), but the Iowa Hawkeyes (10-6, 2-1) got a taste of it this week in an overtime nail-biter on their own home court.

Iowa, which shot just 32.3 percent (21-of-65) from the field and a miserable 14.3 percent (two-of-14) from the arc, trailed—albeit not by much—for most of the evening, lagging 27-31 at the half and by as many as six at several points in the second stanza.

Only rebounding (a 49-45 advantage) and foul shooting (Iowa went 25-32 from the charity stripe to Illinois’s seven-of-12), were keeping the Hawkeyes in the ballgame.

Iowa slowly clawed back to tie the game 42-42 on a Samantha Logic lay-up with 10:23 remaining. Logic’s score capped a 5-0 Iowa run and set up the thrilling finish. Illinois repeatedly inched back in from by one, two, or three points, and the score stood frozen, at 55-52, with the Illini out front, for most of the final two minutes of regulation.

With 22 seconds remaining, Lisa Bluder called for time to draw up a final play. Kamille Wahlin’s (13 points) took a kick-out pass from Jamie Printy, then nailed a three-pointer—Iowa’s first successful trey of the game—with 10 seconds to go in regulation, throwing the game into overtime and shattering Illinois’s hope for an upset. Despite continued poor shooting, the Hawkeyes carried the momentum into overtime, scoring the first seven points of the extra minutes, to seal the win.

This was the second straight major disappointment for the Illini against favored opponents. Law said later that she had seen the Wahlin three-point play coming and she had discussed it with her team in the huddle, but in the end, Adrienne GodBold, who had the assignment on Wahlin, was simply unable to do anything to stop it.

Jaime Printy led the Hawkeyes with 20 points and four assists, but aside from Whalen, who finished with 13 points, including that all-important three-ball (her only one of the night), Morgan Johnson was the star with 14 points and 16 rebounds. Kelly Krei pulled down 11 off the glass.

Karisma Penn had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Illini, getting help from Lydia McCully (11, plus eight boards) and Kersten Magrum (10, plus five rebounds before fouling out).

Current Standings

As of January 3, 2012
Standing Team Conference Pct.   Overall Pct.
1. Purdue 3-0 1.000   13-3 .812
2. Ohio State 2-0 1.000   15-0 1.000
3. Nebraska 2-0 1.000   13-1 .929
4. Michigan State 2-0 1.000   10-5 .667
5. Iowa 2-1 .667   10-6 .625
6. Minnesota 2-1 .667   10-7 .588
7. Michigan 1-1 .500   12-3 .800
8. Penn State 1-1 .500   11-3 .786
9. Northwestern 0-2 .000   10-5 .667
10. Illinois 0-3 .000   6-10 .375
11. Indiana 0-3 .000   5-11 .312
12. Wisconsin 0-3 .000   4-11 .267


Source: BigTen.org/Women’s Basketball Standings


Coming Up Saturday, January 7

Editor’s Note: Full Court’s Big Ten correspondent Mark Bradford went 4-1 in his predictions for this round of midweek, improving his prediction record to 13-2 after three rounds of games.


No. 22/19 PENN STATE

This one will be a lot of fun. So Penn State, which averages 76 points a game, shooting 44 percent from the field on 63 shots per game, will try to keep the tempo higher. Meanwhile, the Spartans averages66 points per game, shooting at a 42 percent clip while averaging 60 shots a game. 

Guard play and ball-handling should also be a factor. Michigan State commits about three more turnovers a game (18 to Penn State’s 15) .

Prediction: Look for a Penn State win, but this one could go down to the last shot.

When: Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, 2:00 p.m. EST, Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, Penn. (CBS)


Who can stop the Buckeyes? Michigan did it twice last year and will get their chance to reprise the feat this season on Saturday.

The Wolverines will have to turn it up a notch or three and keep their intensity the whole game to get the job done, however. Ohio State was beset by internal issues last season at this time but right now the Buckeyes are sharing the ball and playing as befits their status among the country’s elite teams.

Tayler Hill, who leads the Big Ten in scoring, told BTN network why.

“This team has great chemistry,” she said, “and the new offense has opened it up for me.” 

Hill and Samantha Prahalis were practically unstoppable against Iowa once they got warmed up, destroying a double-digit Hawkeye lead in less than five minutes near the end of the first half.

Prediction: Michigan needs a win against a high-caliber team to improve the Wolverines’ belief system, but Jim Foster’s squad is out to prove something and that will lead to a 10+-point win for Ohio State.

When: Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, 5:00 p.m. EST, Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor, Mich. (BTN)

Coming Up Sunday, January 8




Two teams, both in search of positive developments to reverse their current trajectories, meet in this one. Northwestern’s preseason success has not translated to the conference schedule as Joe McKeown’s squad struggles to establish an identity.

Indiana is looking more and more like the conference whipping post although they played great ball in their first six minutes against Nebraska.

The Wildcats have better players in Kendall Hackney (16 ppg), Morgan Jones (15 ppg), and Dannielle Diamant (10 ppg) but they are still trying to recovery from Brittany Orban’s loss due to an ACL injury.

Prediction:  Look for Northwestern to win this by five.

When: Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, 2:00 p.m. EST/1:00 p.m. CST, Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind. (BTN)


Two teams, both 0-3 in conference play and each looking for more balanced scoring, meet in this contest. The Badgers lost to Purdue when leading scorer Taylor Wurtz was held scoreless.

Despite the loss, the good news for Wisconsin, which has been looking for another one or two scoring options all season, is that with Wurtz shut down, other players had to step in to compete and Anya Covington answered the call with a career-high tying 19 points. The longer the season goes, the more comfortable the Badgers appear to be under new coach Bobbie Kelsey.

The Illini, who suffer similar problems with their over-dependence on leading scorer Karisma Penn (14.7 points per game) came within a gnat’s eyelash of upsetting Purdue on Thursday, only to fall, 63-64, when a buzzer-beating trey sent the game to overtime. They are seeing a second scoring option emerge in Kersten Magrum (11.7 points per game), but need a little bit more from everyone in order to propel themselves into the ranks of the Big Ten’s contenders.

Prediction: Jolette Law’s team is on the brink and is a much better team than last season. The Illini should win this by five.

When: Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, 3:00 p.m. EST/2:00 p.m. CST, Assembly Hall, Champaign, Ill.



The game is huge for Iowa, in terms of both conference standing and team confidence. After collapsing against Ohio State, they struggled against an improving Illinois team. Worse, the Hawkeyes will likely have to get the job done without freshman sensation Samantha Logic, who suffered a right ankle sprain during Iowa’s overtime win over Illinois.

No such problems for Nebraska, which has been disposing of conference opponents in fairly easy fashion. And the Hawkeyes will have to figure out some way to shut down four-time Big Ten Player of the Week Jordan Hooper, Nebraska’s sophomore star who is averaging 22 points and almost 10 rebounds per game.

Prediction: Nebraska by five.

When: Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, 4:00 p.m. EST/3:00 p.m. CST, Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa (BTN)

Originally published Sat, January 07, 2012

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Week: February 7, 2012
1 Baylor (31) 24-0 1 1 1 775
2 Notre Dame 23-1 2 2 2 743
3 Connecticut 21-2 3 4 3 710
4 Stanford 20-1 4 5 4 685
5 Duke 19-3 6 8 5 650
6 Miami (FL) 20-3 7 7 6 604
7 Kentucky 21-3 5 15 7 584
8 Maryland 20-3 10 10 8 534
9 Wisconsin-Green Bay 20-0 9 24 9 530
10 Ohio State 21-2 11 NR-RV
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11 Tennessee 17-6 8 3 11 476
12 Delaware 20-1 13 NR 12 434
13 Georgetown 18-5 15 11 14 379
14 Texas A&M 16-5 16 6 15 378
15 Nebraska 19-3 18 NR 13 309
16 Rutgers 17-4 14 12 17 372
17 Louisville 17-6 12 9 20 276
18 Gonzaga 21-3 19 NR-RV
19 234
19 Purdue 19-5 17 21 16 222
20 Georgia 18-6 20 12 21 202
21 Penn State 18-5 21 14 18 176
22 DePaul 17-7 23 18 NR-RV
23 Georgia Tech 16-6 22 NR-RV
22 104
24 South Carolina 18-5 NR-RV
NR 24 46
25 Vanderbilt 18-5 NR-RV
NR 45
Dropped Out: No. 24 North Carolina, No. 25 Kansas.
First-place votes: Total first-place votes received (if any) are indicated in parentheses following school name.
Others receiving votes: St. Bonaventure (22-2) 34; North Carolina (17-6) 19; California (17-6) 18; Florida Gulf Coast (21-2) 16; Middle Tennessee (19-5) 15; Texas-El Paso (20-2) 8; Texas Tech (16-6) 5; Brigham Young (21-4) 4; Fresno State (19-4) 4; St. John's (15-8) 4; Princeton (15-4) 3; Oklahoma (15-7) 2; West Virginia (17-6) 2; Kansas State (15-7) 1.
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Credit: Courtesy Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The weekly Division I Top 25 Coaches' Poll, sponsored by USA Today and ESPN, is based on voting by a Board of Coaches made up of 31 head coaches at Division I institutions all of whom are WBCA members.