PARK, Pa. - After playing 15 conference games, nearly nothing is decided in the
Big Ten entering the final day of the regular season. Penn State can still win
the Big Ten outright, but Nebraska is looking to close out their regular season
with a win and a share of the Big Ten crown as the two program play the final
women's basketball game inside the Devaney Center.
Assistant coach Kia Damon gives us a quick scouting report, junior Ariel Edwards talks about her role and the Huskers star Jordan Hooper, and we've added a three-point play's worth of notes that are included below.
Playing for the 'Ship: The Lady Lions have already clinched a share of the regular season Big Ten Championship, but on Sunday in Lincoln, Neb. the outright title will be on the live vs. the Huskers.
Penn State enters the matchup at 13-2 in the conference, with losses at Wisconsin and at Minnesota, while Nebraska is 12-3 in Big Ten play with losses at home to Illinois and Purdue and a setback against the Lady Lions at the Bryce Jordan Center in January. The regular season finale presents opportunity for both sides.
A win for Penn State would mark the programs second straight outright Big Ten crown. A Nebraska victory, however, would clinch a piece of their first ever Big Ten championship. Adding to the magnitude of the game will be a little emotion for the Huskers, who will celebrate senior night and close out their tenure in the Devaney Center as the team will move to the new Pinnacle Bank Arena next season.
Edwards Fills Her Role: On a team with a multitude of stars, it very well may be the versatile Ariel Edwards that fills the most vital role for the Lady Lions. The 6-foot-3 wing can defend both on the perimeter vs. a guard or in the post, she can hit shots from all over the floor and handle the ball, as well.
The junior began the year in the starting rotation, but has not started a game since Nov. 29 at Miami (Fla.), but that hasn't changed the way she plays each and every night. Edwards continues to fill her role of playing tough defense, rebounding and knocking down open shots when she gets them, which is a comfortable spot for the junior.
Edwards leads the team in in field goal percentage (83-for-173, .480), three point field goal percentage (12-for-25, .480) and is fourth in free throw percentage (39-for-51, .765). She is also among the top five on the team in scoring average (5th, 8.0), rebounds per game (5th, 3.4) and assists per game (5th, 0.7), while only committing 40 turnovers in 27 games.
Eye on the Postseason: The Lady Lions are already the No. 1 seed at the upcoming Big Ten Championships, but the field for the 2013 conference summit is still as foggy as a Pennsylvania spring morning.
The top and bottom spots in the bracket are all wrapped up entering the final day of the regular season, but the No. 3 through No. 10 seeds are still to be decided with a final 40 minutes of basketball.
Penn State will take the top seed into the championships, while Nebraska will be the No. 2 seed. Wisconsin and Indiana can tie at the bottom of the standings, but the Badgers would take the No. 11 seed via their win over the Hoosiers on Feb. 10.
Four teams are vying for the final two byes in the opening round, with Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue all sitting at 9-6 entering the final day of conference play. The No. 7-9 seed is on the line between Iowa (7-8), Minnesota (6-9) and Ohio State (6-9), however The Gophers could fall as low as the No. 10 spot if they lose at Indianan and Northwestern (5-10) wins against Iowa.
Sunday's schedule looks like this;
Michigan at Ohio State, Noon ET (BTN)
Minnesota at Indiana, 2 p.m. ET (BTN.com)
Wisconsin at Michigan State, 2 p.m. ET (BTN)
Iowa at Northwestern, 3 p.m. ET (BTN.com)
Illinois at Purdue, 4 p.m. ET (BTN)
Penn State at Nebraska, 6 p.m. ET (BTN)
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Greg Campbell on Twitter @SID_Greg