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Saturday, March 23, 2019

This Week in the Big Ten: Minnesota Bests Michigan State in Mid-Week Surprise

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Photo Caption: Minnesota upset the Big Ten’s defending regular-season champion Michigan State Thursday behind 20 points from Kiara Buford. But it wasn’t just Buford—Minnesota shot .478 from the field in the victory, its best shooting percentage in Big Ten action this season. The Badgers also shot 71.1 percent from the charity stripe in the contest, where they picked of 27 of their points.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Minnesota Athletics Media Relations




By Mark Bradford
Correspondent

As expected, the battle for the Big Ten regular-season crown is going to be really interesting.

Purdue still stands alone at the top as they upped their record to 6-0, but their schedule so far has been soft. This weekend, Purdue starts the more challenging portion of its schedule as Michigan State visits Mackey Arena in what looks to be the top game of the weekend.


Ohio State, looking very much like the Top 10 team they are, has played a much tougher schedule than the Boilers and is now in sole possession of second place in the conference. Their rout of a strong, nationally ranked Nebraska squad this Thursday, showed they have the ability to hang with the nation’s elite.

After that, things start to get murkier with four teams tied for third at 4-2. Nebraska has lost two in a row as has Michigan State, including Thursday’s surprise—a 65-71 upset at Minnesota.

Life is good. Watching Big Ten women’s basketball is fun. Let’s take a closer look at how things are shaping up throughout the league.

 

Summing Up the Midweek Results: Thursday, Jan. 19,2012

  • No. 20/24 Nebraska 68 @ No. 10/12 Ohio State 82
  • No. 22/21 Penn State 71 @ Illinois 65
  • No. 13/18 Purdue 82 @ Indiana 60
  • Wisconsin 57 @ Iowa 69
  • Michigan State @ Minnesota 71
  • Michigan 58 @ Northwestern 48

A Look Back at the Midweek Action: Results from Thursday, Jan. 19

 

  • No. 20/24 Nebraska 68 @ No. 10/12 Ohio State 82 – Here Come the Buckeyes!

    Thursday’s contest between these two Top-25 squads was close until Ohio State put together an 8-0 run midway through the second half to build a 51-39 edge. The Buckeyes’ transition game was fueled by the Huskers’ 16 turnovers and their flurry of missed shots as Nebraska shot just 33.8 percent (25-of-74) from the field and a far worse 24.1 percent (seven-of-29) from the arc. Meanwhile, Nebraska seemed to become more and more unnerved as their shots refused to fall, and as the gap grew, they seemed to force their shots, far too often settling for long-range jumpers launched early in the shot clock. Ohio State’s Ashley Adams, who finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the year, asserted herself in the paint, an area that has not been the Buckeyes’ strength this season with the departure of Jantel Lavender. This time, Adams’ strong post performance led to all sorts of quick-break points for the Buckeyes. “We did a much better job defensively in the second half,” coach Jim Foster said. “I don’t care what the standings are right now, we just want to win our next game. We are doing a better job of moving without the ball, too, so when teams try to double Samantha Prahalis (19 points, nine assists) and Tayler Hill (who finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds though her ability to play had been questionable after she injured herself in last weekend’s contest with Michigan State), it opens up the game for some pretty talented players.” Nebraska’s Emily Cady led all scorers with 24 points while Jordan Hooper scored 19 points to go with 14 rebounds.


  • No. 22/21 Penn State 71 @ Illinois 65 – Another Illini Heartbreaker

    Though the Illini led by as many as eight points for much of the first half, Penn State launched a 12-1 run to close out the period. Tori Waldner dropped in a jumper at the 1:23 mark to give the Lady Lions a one-point lead, and Maggie Lucas headed to the foul line for two penalty shots. Penn State carried a 37-34 edge into the break and never trailed thereafter. Adrienne Godbold scored 19, Amber Moore 17, and Karisma Penn 14 for Illinois, but it wasn’t enough to overcome 38-percent field-goal shooting for the team as a whole and a 47-34 Penn State advantage on the boards. Maggie Lucas led the way for the Lady Lions with 19 points and Alex Bentley added 15. It was yet another competitive loss for Illinois, a team that cannot seem to catch a break in conference play this season. Meanwhile, the win put Penn State back in the fight for the conference crown.


  •  
  • No. 13/18 Purdue 82 @ Indiana 60—Defense and Rebounding Carry the Day for the Boilers

    In a game that was never considered to be much of a contest, Purdue led at halftime, 37-30, but started the second half on an 8-2 run. That put the Hoosiers in the unhappy position of trying to battle back from behind against the conference’s top defensive team. Boilermaker forward Antionette Howard came off the bench to score 20 points and added eight rebounds. Purdue forced 21 turnovers, which is not a bad number for IU, but the Boilers dominated the boards, 49-29, and outscored IU 34-12 in the paint.


  •  
  • Wisconsin 57 @ Iowa 69—  Boarding Pass

    The Hawkeyes won a game they had to win, and they won it on the boards. Jaime Printy scored 25, Kamille Wahlin 15, and Kelly Krei 10 as Iowa got on top early and then held their ground. The boards totals: Iowa 41 rebounds, Wisconsin 19. Iowa shot 50 percent while Wisconsin only managed 38 percemt. Morgan Paige led the Badgers with 20.


  •      
  • Michigan State @ Minnesota 71 – A Free-Throw Extravaganza

    Minnesota led at halftime 38-27 and refused to fold. Kiara Buford played an aggressive game, scoring 20 points, including 8-10 from the free-throw line. In fact, the game was won at the line where Minnesota netted 27 of its 38 attempted penalty shots. Meanwhile, Michigan State made only 15 trips to the line, where they collected just 10 points. It was the second loss in a row for the Spartans, who had started their conference season on a higher note.


  •  
  • Michigan 58 @ Northwestern 48 —Bad First Half Dooms Wildcats

    Northwestern could only manage 15 first-half points and was down by nine at the break. The Wildcats committed 18 turnovers in that half alone and went 1-9 in their attempts from the arc. Neither team gained much real traction in the second stanza, resulting in a 10-point split in the final score. Rachel Sheffer had 12 and Jenny Ryan 10 points for the winners. Northwestern was led by Morgan Jones with 14 points, while Kendall Hackney added 13 and Danielle Diamant 12. For the game, Northwestern managed only 36 percent from the field and ended with 26 turnovers.


  •  

    Current Standings




    As of January 20, 2012
    Standing Team Conference Pct.   Overall Pct.
    1. Purdue 6-0 1.000   16-3 .842
    2. Ohio State 5-1 .833   18-1 .947
    3. Nebraska 4-2 .667   15-3 .833
    4. Michigan 4-2 .667   15-4 .789
    5. Penn State 4-2 .667   14-4 .778
    6. Michigan State 4-2 .667   12-7 .632
    7. Iowa 3-3 .500   11-8 .579
    8. Minnesota 3-3 .500   11-9 .550
    9. Northwestern 2-4 .333   12-7 .632
    10. Wisconsin 1-5 .167   5-13 .278
    11. Illinois 0-6 .000   6-13 .316
    12. Indiana 0-6 .000   5-14 .263

     


    Source: BigTen.org/Women’s Basketball Standings

     

    Coming Up Sunday, January 22


    Editor’s Note: After going 4-6 in his predictions for Thursday’s games after Minnesota’s surprise win over Michigan State and Ohio State’s victory over Nebraska (“I have no idea why I picked Nebraska, but I did,” says Full Court’s Big Ten correspondent Mark Bradford), Bradford is now 27-36 for 75 percent in his calls for the Big Ten conference season. calls out of 30 games for the Big Ten conference season.

     

    @
    INDIANA
    0-6
    5-14

    MICHIGAN
    4-2
    15-4



     
     

    Felicia Legette-Jack’s Hoosier team is having a hard time finding wins and Ann Arbor probably is not the place they will be successful The Wolverines are on pace to contend for  an NCAA berth. IU is last in shooting percentage, scoring at a 35 percent rate and scoring 3-pointers at a 28 percent rate. Michigan leads the lead in turnover margin and Indiana has a bad habit of turning the ball over.

    Prediction: Until the Hoosiers can maintain ball control and shoot better, they will lose. In this game, they will lose by 10 points.

    When: Sunday, January 22, 2012, 2:00 p.m. EST, Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Mich.

    @
    ILLINOIS
    0-6
    6-13
    No. 10/12 OHIO STATE
    5-1
    18-1




               

    A snake-bit Illinois team travels to Columbus to play a Buckeyes squad that is learning how to utilize all its tools. A team that started as the Prahalis-Hill show has gotten stronger in the paint and had no problem with a nationally-ranked Nebraska team this Thursday, almost effortlessly handing the Huskers just their third defeat of the season.

    Ohio State has won by an average of 77-59 and that 18-point scoring margin leads the league. Illinois is actually a pretty good team, certainly much better than its record suggests, but pretty good teams get whacked in Columbus.

    Prediction: Ohio State by 15.

    When: Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, 2:00 p.m. EST, Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio (BTN.com)

    @
    IOWA
    3-3
    11-8

    No. 22/21 PENN STATE
    4-2
    14-4




     

    Watch for the pace of the game and the battle of the boards to determine the winner here. If Penn State controls the boards and can score off transition, it will be a long night for Iowa. However, if Jaime Printy can hit a few threes and draw out the defenders, Iowa just might be able to control tempo.

    On the other hand, if Penn State is made to play half-court offense, Iowa will win.

    “Penn State is one team that has a pretty athletic tall post,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said, referring to 6-4 junior Nikki Greene. “We haven’t seen that yet, and they have that.  She is a good shot blocker, as well, and she does a lot of good help on drives.”

    Bluder takes some confidence from the fact that two teams have already managed to defeat the Lions on their home floor, but she knows that will not be an easy task for her Hawkeyes.

    “They’re a very fast team,” said Bluder. “They’re an extremely fast team, great transition offense.  They’ve got a great shooter in Maggie Lucas, a tremendous three‑point shooter, and a very good point guard in Alex Bentley, picked as one of the top players in the Big Ten to begin this year. They have a nice inside‑outside game, as well. I think their offense is pretty darned good.”

    Prediction: The Lady Lions showed with their blow-out win last week at nationally ranked Nebraska that they have overcome the shaky start to the conference season that saw them lose twice at home.  Penn State by five.

    When: Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, 3:00 EST, Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, Penn. (ESPN2)

    @
    NORTHWESTERN
    2-4
    12-7

    WISCONSIN
    1-5
    5-13




     

    Both teams are young and looking for something positive to take away from their conference seasons. The Wildcats have senior leadership in Kendall Hackney and a very good pivot player in Dannielle Diamant who will have to battle with the Badgers’ best player in Taylor Wurtz. That will most likely be the key match-up in a game that could go either way.

    Prediction: Northwestern seems farther along in its building process than Wisconsin.  Wildcats by five points.

    When: Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, 3:00 p.m. EST/2:00 p.m. CST, Kohl Center, Madison, Wisc.

    @
    MINNESOTA
    3-3
    11-9
    No. 20/24 NEBRASKA
    4-2
    15-3



     
     
     
    The Huskers have lost their last two games to other programs at the top of the conference standings and will need to recover against a Minnesota team on the build. They may well find themselves out of the rankings after their thumping by Ohio State on Thursday.

    Frustration with her team’s disappointing performance in its home loss to Penn State a week ago led Nebraska coach Connie Yori to point out her team’s youth and inexperience, as she observed that her team “just isn’t very good ....” 

    But Ohio State’s Jim Foster begs to disagree, despite the ease with which his Buckeyes dismantled the Huskers Thursday:

    “They’re a good basketball team,” he stated. “She [Nebraska head coach Connie Yori] is a good coach. She’s had good teams in the past. She’s a hard worker and she’s in a state that has something like 1.8 million people. You’d better go find some players if your state’s not going to give you yours. I think they do a very good job. I see her out there, all over the place and over the summer. That’s the result.”

    Being good, of course, is relative. Nebraska is indeed a young team, but leads the league in rebounding (44.1 per game), though the Huskers but were out-rebounded Thursday by an Ohio State team often criticized for its lack of an inside presence.

    Minnesota is third in the league with 43.0 rebounds per game, but Nebraska averages 76 points per game to Minnesota’s 66. Minnesota just had a big win over Michigan State.

    Prediction: Are Nebraska’s problems temporary or do they run deeper? We’ll get a good idea on Sunday. For now, we’ll call this one in favor of the Huskers, who will motivated to prove to their home crowd that they are better than Penn State made them look.

    When: Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, 6:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. CST, Devaney Center, Lincoln, Neb. (BTN)

    Coming Up Monday, January 23, 2012


    @
    MICHIGAN STATE
    4-2
    12-7

    No. 13/18 PURDUE
    5-0
    15-3




     

    Purdue got through the softest part of its schedule undefeated and now must prove its mettle against the league’s stronger teams. This is where the challenging schedule Sharon Versyp’s squad undertook in pre-conference play should help them. Purdue is hard-nosed and playing with a swagger. There is no question that the Boilers have put together a lethal combination of defense and transition scoring, and the Boilermaker guards make getting to the paint—one of the Spartans’ strong points—a real adventure for average teams.

    Michigan State, the defending regular-season champ, certainly ranks in the Big Ten’s upper division, but has been under-performing of late.

    Prediction: The team that takes control of the paint wins this one, and I think it will be Purdue.

    When: Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, 7:30 p.m. EST, Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Ind. (BTN)


     
     

    Originally published Sat, January 21, 2012


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NCAA DIVISION I TOP 25 COACHES' POLL
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Week: February 7, 2012
RANK SCHOOL RECORD LAST WEEK'S RANK PRESEASON RANK AP RANK POINTS
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
(61)
10 483
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
(70)
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
(38)
92
23 Georgia Tech 16-6 22 NR-RV
(18)
22 104
24 South Carolina 18-5 NR-RV
(13)
NR 24 46
25 Vanderbilt 18-5 NR-RV
(23)
NR-RV
(19)
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.
Rank remains unchanged since last week
Ranking has risen since last week.
Ranking has dropped since last week.
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.