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By Mike Esse, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Every game comes with a silver lining. Although, this
one may be harder to find, it does exist after Penn State's quarterfinal loss
to Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament.
First and foremost, there are still games to play, as the NCAA tournament
begins on March 23 at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Penn State will host the first two rounds of the tournament on their home
floor and will have over two weeks to prepare for it. Head coach Coquese
Washington and her staff will have that same amount of time to correct mistakes
made in the game against Ohio State.
"It's a little too early to say if there are some takeaways," Washington
said after Friday's loss. "I'd like to watch the tape and digest the game a
little bit before I starting making grand pronouncements of what we can take
As Washington looks at the tape, she will find some positives. Ariel
Edwards' performance against the Buckeyes is one of them. Edwards tallied a
career-high 29 points and added 10 rebounds on 9-for-19 shooting from the field
and 11-for-15 at the free throw line.
In the second half, Edwards was aggressive as she drove to the hoop
consistently, getting to the free throw line 11 times in second half. She also
was very strong inside grabbing eight rebounds in the final 20 minutes.
"I thought she [Ariel] did a good job of being aggressive and taking what
was available for her," Washington said of her senior guard/forward.
Additionally, Maggie Lucas added 21 total points on the afternoon,
including 13 in the second half. That was the theme for Penn State throughout
the game and possibly the most promising takeaway heading into the two-week
layoff: second half progression.
The team improved as a whole compared to the opening frame with 48 total
points in the second half, 14 more than their opening 20 minutes. Ohio State's
shooting numbers decreased in the second half as they scored 17 less points and
shot 22 percent lower. Penn State used those numbers to eventually cut down the
Buckeye lead to single digits after a 27-point deficit.
While none of that may cure the outcome of the game itself from Friday afternoon,
it does give positives to include with the rest of the breakdown of the game
during the next two weeks of preparation.
"The good thing is we've got a little bit of time to regroup and get ready
for the NCAA Tournament where we know we're going to play some quality
opponents," Washington said.
As the NCAA Tournament brackets are to be released Monday March 17, the
Lady Lions may have something not many other teams have. Penn State has the
benefit of knowing the weapons they have to beat teams in tournament play and
what may slow them down, all from one game.
The opening round of the NCAA Tournament is set for Sunday March 23, with
game times to be determined.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's
basketball team was upset in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament at
Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday in Indianapolis. The Lady Lions will head
into the NCAA Tournament with a 22-7 overall record.
We talked to senior's Ariel Edwards and Maggie Lucas following the 99-82 loss
to Ohio State. The two teams combined for 181 points, which is a new Big Ten
Tournament record, and Penn State was led by 29 points from Edwards and 21 from
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live in-game coverage
on GoPSUsports.com for the No. 8/12 Penn State women's basketball contest
against Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday, March
7 inside Banker Life Fieldhouse at Noon.
Big Ten Tournament Headquarters
Be sure to interact with today's blog coverage with questions or comments at
the bottom of our widget. Post your photos to Instagram or Twitter and use
#PennState or #LadyLions and your photos may be chosen for use on our in-game
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Follow along with some images from the quarterfinal
matchup between Penn State women's basketball and Ohio State at Bankers Life
Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Throughout the 2013-14 Big Ten Tournament you can follow
along with all of the happenings and latest news with the Lady Lions on their
quest for the programs third Big Ten Tournament title.
The GoPSUsports.com blog team will keep you up-to-date with continued coverage
of the team from their quarterfinal matchup with Ohio State through the end of
their stay in the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
More content will be added as the Lady Lions continue their quest for the
programs first Big Ten Tournament title since 1996.
Monday, March 3 Feature Story | All-Big
Tuesday. March 4 Feature Story
March 5 Tournament Notes | Bracket Breakdown
Thursday, March 6 Feature Story
Friday, March 7 What
to Watch | Photo
Blog | In-Game
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After receiving a first round bye in the Big Ten
tournament after earning the No. 1 overall seed, the stage is finally set for
Penn State's quarterfinal matchup.
No. 11/11 Lady Lions (22-6, 13-3 Big Ten) will play Ohio State (16-17, 5-11 Big
Ten) at noon today (March 7) at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis,
only are the Lady Lions coming off of their third straight regular season
conference title, but this marks the seventh time in program history that Penn
State has been awarded the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.
the two games played between Penn State and Ohio State this season, the Lady
Lions have come out on top both times, winning by 20 or more points in each respective
to Watch - Penn State
Machine Gun Maggie: Her numbers speak
volumes to her play on the court and despite garnering the majority of
attention from opposing teams defenses, senior guard Maggie Lucas still managed
to put up 21.5 points per game this season. The two-time Big Ten Player of the
Year also gets to the free throw line where she is shooting an astounding 95.9
percent. In her two games against Ohio State this season, Lucas has scored 18
and 23 points, respectively, to lead the Lady Lions to two sizeable victories.
Defensive Focus: One of the main
focuses for head coach Coquese Washington is defense. In the two contests
against Ohio State this season, the Lady Lions have held the Buckeyes to
field-goal percentages of 29.6 and 27.9 percent, respectively. Leading the
charge defensively for the Blue and White is senior guard Dara Taylor, who is
averaging a conference best 2.9 steals per game while guarding the opposing
team's most skilled offensive threat. Because of her efforts this season Taylor
was selected as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
Benefit of the Bench: What separates
good teams from great teams in the conference tournament is depth. With the
possibility of three games in three days, Washington is going to have to give
her starters a rest and rely on her bench players at times. Freshmen Kaliyah
Mitchell and Peyton Whitted have the talent to provide serviceable minutes for
the Lady Lions. Mitchell is averaging 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game,
while Whitted is posting 3.0 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
to Watch - Ohio State
Enter Paint with Caution: Trying to score or
rebound inside on the Buckeyes is a challenging task. The Scarlet and Grey sit
second in the conference in blocked shots, averaging 5.1 swats per game.
Defensively, Ohio State is allowing just 65.1 points per game, which puts them
at fourth in the conference. Senior Ashley Adams leads the team with 63 out of
the team's 168 total blocked shots. Yesterday afternoon in their win against
Northwestern, teammates Darryce Moore and Martina Ellerbe combined to corral 23
out of the team's 45 total rebounds.
All Eyes on Alston: Sophomore guard
Ameryst Alston has carried the Ohio State offense this season, averaging 36.6
minutes per game and scoring a team-high 18.2 points per contest. She does all
this while shooting incredibly efficient 45.1 percent from the field, 34.4
percent from three point range and 83.2 percent from the charity stripe. In the
win over Northwestern, Alston shot lights out, scoring 30 points in just 38
minutes of play.
Strength of Schedule: You might look
at the Buckeyes 16-17 record and scoff. Even see they lost seven out of their
last eight regular season contests. But look at their strength of schedule and
you will rescind that scoff to see they sit third nationally in strength of
schedule. Ohio State is well prepared for difficult matchups in tournament time
after taking on ranked opponents in Connecticut, Maryland, Penn State, Purdue
and Nebraska. The Buckeyes have competed against the best in the country and
understand what it takes to play against the best.
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - In just two seasons on the court in the blue and white, senior
guard Dara Taylor has managed to make a seamless transition into the fabric of
the Penn State women's basketball program.
almost as if she has been a Lady Lion for four years, however, that is hardly
the case. Taylor has had to display patience and growth to reach the point that
she is at currently.
this past week, Taylor's patience and hard work was noticed by more than just
her coaches and teammates, as she was named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of
the Year, in addition to being selected to the All-Big Ten second team and the
Big Ten All-Defensive team.
named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year is cool," said Taylor. "It's
only my second year in the league, but it is great to have the respect of the
other coaches and humbling that they would allow me to win that award."
mentor and head coach, Coquese Washington, could not be happier for her star
really, really happy for her," said Washington.
feeling is echoed by Taylor's teammates.
picks up her defensive assignment full court every game," said senior guard
Maggie Lucas. "That's a lot to ask out of somebody and she's done it, no
questions asked, the whole season. In my opinion, she 100 percent deserves to
be Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. We are very proud of her."
it wasn't all accolades and awards for Taylor when she arrived in Happy Valley
during the 2011-12 season. As a matter of fact, Taylor had to sit out the
entire year due to NCAA transfer rules.
year was difficult," said Taylor. "Not to be able to travel, not to be able to
really play with the team, that was tough. But, it gave me a chance to see how
things developed, how the team worked together and what the coaches were
looking for. I think it really helped me fit into the system really well when I
finally got my chance."
Washington knew how much the year off was a struggle for Taylor, but she also
realized how much she could learn from simply watching an entire season.
year off, that hurts," said Washington. "It kills you every night when you're
watching your teammates play, and you can't go out there and help them. But I
think she learned a lot during that season."
Taylor, her collegiate basketball career began in 2009 at the University of Maryland.
During her freshman campaign she broke Maryland's freshman single season assists
record with 171 dimes. She then saw considerate time during her sophomore
campaign but felt she needed a change.
where Washington and the Lady Lions come into play. Taylor opted to move from
College Park to State College after her sophomore year, and the rest is
got here [to Penn State] and Coquese really worked one-on-one with me," said
Taylor. "That helped get me comfortable and build my confidence up. She's been
very specific in what she is looking for, which makes it really easy as a
player. They [coaches] are constantly giving me feedback and helping me to
grow, that makes it easier to gel on the court."
Taylor's arrival onto the court, the Lady Lions have compiled a record of
48-12. In her senior campaign, the 5-foot-8 point guard is averaging 33.8
minutes per game, 11.6 points per game, 4.9 assists per game, and 2.9 steals
looking at those numbers, the word balance
certainly comes to mind.
she's grown this year on both ends of the floor," said Washington. "She's been
able to be a better defensive player than she was last year in terms of steals
per game. Also what she's done on the offensive end in terms of managing and
running the team has been amazing."
where Taylor began, to where she is now, she has transitioned from lead by
example, to lead by example and being
a vocal leader. According to Washington, Taylor's most impressive development
has been the maturation of her voice on the court and in practice.
it or not, she's more vocal this year," said Washington. "You probably can't
tell on the court - she's quiet by nature - but she's been more vocal. She's a
good balance with Maggie, who is a little bit more emotional and more of a
fiery player. Dara is the voice of reason and calms everyone down and gets them
focused on what needs to happen next."
much of Taylor's development can be traced to assistant coach, Fred Chmiel,
who Taylor gives the majority of credit to for her success. With that being
said, Chmiel notes that Taylor is an extremely hard worker, so seeing her be
awarded for her efforts comes as no surprise
"She's got a lot to work with," said Chmiel. "She's fast, she's quick, and
she's intelligent. So, it's not hard for her to be a great defensive player.
The hard part for her was swinging for the fence every time down the floor -
going for the steal. She refined things like changing her angles, knowing where
the next pass was coming from and the other little things. The rest was Dara, she's
a phenomenal athlete and defender."
being rewarded for her stellar play this season, Taylor, her teammates, and her
coaches understand that the season is still far from over. The Big Ten Tournament
is up next, followed by the NCAA Tournament.
knows that the success of her team relies on the balance that Taylor can bring
to the hardwood.
more balanced she can be, the better it makes our team," said Washington. "We've
been at our best this year when we're getting four or five people in double
figures. And that is a direct reflection in some respects on the way Dara
manages the game. Her defense is going to be there night in, night out, but she
makes out team run on both ends."
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 2014 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament will get
under way on Thursday, Feb. 6 inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis,
Ind. The Lady Lions will enter as the No. 1 seed in the tournament and will be
in search of their third conference tournament title, the first since 1996.
Penn State is coming off of their third straight regular season conference
title and will enter this season's championship as the top seed. This marks the
seventh time in program history that the Lady Lions will take No. 1 seed into
the conference tournament.
You know about the Lady Lions, but here is what you should know about the 11
other teams at the 2014 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament.
No. 1 Seed - Penn State Lady Lions (22-6, 13-3 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - 11; RPI - 9; Strength of
Schedule - 7
Top Scorer: Maggie Lucas, 21.5 ppg
Top Rebounder: Talia East, 7.5 rpg
Penn State celebrated Senior Day with a victory on Saturday and then had to
wait and see whether they would be the top seed for the third straight season
or if they would enter the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 2 seed. A Nebraska
loss afforded Penn Stat the No. 1 ranking, since the Blue and White owned the
tie breaker with Michigan State via their 66-54 win in East Lansing on Jan. 19.
The Lady Lions will be looking to exercise some frustrations at the Big Ten
Tournament, entering as one of the top two seeds each of the last three seasons,
but playing in only one championship game. Penn State will take the top seed
into the tournament for the seventh time in program history and owns a combined
25-17 record at the event with two titles - 1995 & 1996.
Big Ten Player of the Year Maggie Lucas gets most of the attention from
opposing defenses, but still pours in 21.5 points per game to ranks second in
the conference. She sits seventh in the Big Ten in steals per game (1.9) and
ranks among the conference leaders in three point field goals made. The senior
also leads the conference and NCAA in free throw percentage at 95.9 percent. She
is the school record holder in career free throws made, career free throw
percentage and career three pointers made, while ranking among the career and
single season leaders in a bevy of other categories.
Senior Dara Taylor was selected as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
after averaging 2.9 steals per game and drawing the tough assignment of
guarding the other team's top guard each night. Taylor probably could have won
the award last season, if it weren't for her teammate Alex Bentley's prowess on
defense. The senior is more than just a defender and traffic cop this season,
as she refined her game in the offseason. A better understanding of the offense
and what the coaching staff wanted out of her, coupled with a dangerous
midrange jumper and the ability to get to the basket made her a threat all over
the court in 2013-14.
If I had a vote for Lady Lions' Most Valuable Player it would go to Ariel
Edwards. The senior was arguably the most underrated players in the conference,
averaging 15.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in conference games. She is
such a tough matchup due to her ability to play in the post and on the
perimeter. She can also use her length to make it hard on opposing guards and
can move into the post to guard an athletic post for the opposing team.
A wildcard for the Lady Lions will be their bench play. With a possible three
games in three days it will be a key for the reserves to provide solid minutes
to help keep the legs under the starters, who all average 20-plus minutes per
game in the regular season. Kaliyah Mitchell and Peyton Whitted have shown the
ability to fill the stat sheet and now is the time to do it. Mitchell leads all
reserves with 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds, while Whitted averages 2.9 rebounds
and 3.0 points a contest.
No. 2 Seed - Michigan State Spartans (21-8,
13-3 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - 19; RPI - 31; Strength of
Schedule - 47
Top Scorer: Aerial Powers, 13.8 ppg
Top Rebounder: Aerial Powers, 8.0
After dropping two straight contests to Penn State and Illinois, Suzy
Merchant's squad rattled off nine wins in their last 10 games to claim a share
of the Big Ten regular season title. The Spartans boast perhaps one of the
league's top freshmen in guard Aerial Powers. Powers leads the Spartans in
points, rebounds and steals and has tallied eight double-doubles on the season.
Michigan State has two other players that average in double figures in freshman
guard Tori Jankoska (12.7 ppg) and senior forward Annalise Pickrel (12.6 ppg).
Rebounding is one of the biggest strengths for Michigan State as they are
second in the conference in rebounding offense, rebounding defense, defensive
rebounds and rebounding margin. The free throw line is the biggest weakness for
Michigan State. As a team they shoot 71.3 percent from the charity stripe, good
for 10th in the conference. No Spartan averages better than 79 percent from the
No. 3 Seed - Nebraska Cornhuskers (22-6,
12-4 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - 16; RPI - 28; Strength of
Schedule - 66
Top Scorer: Jordan Hooper, 20.1 ppg
Top Rebounder: Jordan Hooper &
Emily Cady, 9.3 rpg
The Cornhuskers collected nine straight victories before losing their season
finale to Purdue, 82-66, on Mar. 2. Nebraska has beaten every team in the
conference besides Purdue - including the top-two seeds Penn State and Michigan
State and both came by a margin of 20 points in each game. Big Ten Player of
the Year by the coaches, senior forward Jordan Hooper is the Huskers go to
player on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Hooper has 14 game of 20-plus
points and two 30-plus point games on the season. Hooper's fellow First Team All-Big
Ten teammate, sophomore guard Rachel Theriot averages nearly 14 points per game
and shoots 45 percent from downtown. Nebraska's defense has haunted opponents
all season. The Huskers have the second best scoring defense, holding opponents
to just 63.1 points per game which leads to them owning the number one scoring
margin in the conference at +12.1.
No. 4 Seed - Purdue Boilermakers (21-7, 11-5
AP Ranking - 17; RPI - 7; Strength of
Schedule - 6
Top Scorer: Courtney Moses, 15.4
Top Rebounder: Whitney Bays, 7.5 rpg
Purdue enters the Big Ten tournament as the hottest team in the conference. The
Boilermakers head to Indianapolis riding a six game winning streak. Senior
Courtney Moses is one of the most efficient players in the Big Ten and that can
be seen through her numbers. The senior is shooting 49.5 percent from the
field, 46.8 percent from beyond the arc, which leads the Big Ten, and 91.5
percent from the charity stripe. Thanks to Moses and teammate KK Houser, the
Boilermakers are second in the Big Ten in three-point shooting at 38.1 percent.
Houser injured her knee vs. Michigan State on Feb. 2, but played sparingly vs.
Nebraska in the season finale, so that is something to watch as the senior
averages 5.0 assists per game and orchestrates the high-scoring attack from the
point guard position. Purdue has shown that they can compete with the best in
the conference, no matter the location. The Boilermakers upset both Penn State
and Nebraska on the road this season.
No. 5 Seed - Iowa Hawkeyes (23-7, 11-5
AP Ranking - 23; RPI - 24; Strength of
Schedule - 49
Top Scorer: Samantha Logic, 14.1 ppg
Top Rebounder: Samantha Logic, 6.6
The top scoring offense in the Big Ten hails from Iowa City. The Hawkeyes are
averaging 75.5 points per game in conference play, but the Iowa defense is
allowing 72.0 points per game which has led to five games decided by four or
fewer points. They are the only team in the conference with four players
averaging 13 points per game or better in conference play, led by Bethany
Doolittle's 14.2 points on 57 percent shooting. As a team, the Hawkeyes are
leading the conference in field goal percentage at 46 percent. Samantha Logic
is the do-it-all player for the Black and Yellow, ranking among the conference
top-15 in all games for scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and minutes
played. Head coach Lisa Bluder became the winningest coach in Iowa history this
season, claiming her 270th victory over Northwester on Feb. 10. She has
accumulated 630 wins overall as a head coach and any coach with that many wins
and a balanced scoring attack like the Hawkeyes have is a threat to win on any
No. 6 Seed - Minnesota Golden Gophers (19-11,
8-8 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - NR; RPI - 38; Strength of
Schedule - 18
Top Scorer: Rachel Banham, 22.4 ppg
Top Rebounder: Amanda Zahui B., 11.3
Minnesota is led by two of the conference's most dominant players in junior
guard Rachel Banham and freshman center Amanda Zahui B. Both players were
All-Big Ten First Team selections and Zahui B. also picked up Big Ten Freshman
of the Year, All-Freshman Team and All-Defensive Team honors. Banham leads the
conference in scoring averaging 22.4 points per game Zahui B. sits at 10th on
the conference scoring charts with 15.1 per game and leads the Big Ten in
rebounding with 11.3 per game. Guards Shayne Mullaney and Sari Noga compliment
the team's two stars by averaging nearly eight points per contest and totaling
over 34 minutes per game. As a team
Minnesota thrives with their Big Ten leading defense that holds opponents to a
conference best 62.4 points per game and 36.4 percent field goal percentage.
The Gophers also thrive from downtown averaging a league high 39.3 percent from
three-point range, with Banham nailing a team-best 77 three-point buckets.
No. 7 Seed - Michigan Wolverines (17-12,
8-8 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - NR; RPI - 92; Strength
of Schedule - 67
Top Scorer: Shannon Smith, 14.3 ppg
Top Rebounder: Cyesha Goree, 9.5 rpg
Michigan has one of the top backcourts in the conference in juniors Nicole
Elmblad and Shannon Smith and freshman Siera Thompson. All three players are
averaging in double figures this season, led by 14.3 points by Smith. Elmblad
ranks second on the team in rebounding at 7.7 per game to go along with 11.7
points and a team-best 93 assists on the season. Another of cog in the
impressive Big Ten freshman class, Thompson averages 13.3 points per game and
ranks third in Michigan single season history with 68 made three pointers. The
Wolverines also have a presence on the inside in junior Cyesha Goree, who nearly
averages a double-double at 11.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. In Big Ten
play, Michigan owns a scoring margin of -1.1, but it has been feast of famine
for the Wolverines. Of their eight wins, seven of them came by seven points or
more - four of 10 or more points. All but one of their eight losses has come by
seven or more points, including three losses of 10 or more points.
No. 8 Seed - Ohio State Buckeyes (15-17, 5-11 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - NR; RPI - 58; Strength
of Schedule - 3
Top Scorer: Ameryst Alston, 18.2
Top Rebounder: Darryce Moore, 5.8
Defense is the name of the game for the Buckeyes. The Scarlet and Grey are
second in the conference in blocked shots with 5.1 per game and fourth in
scoring defense, allowing just 65.1 points per game. Despite beating Purdue at
home earlier in the season, the Buckeyes have lost seven out of their last
eight contests. Senior Ashley Adams leads her team with 63 out of her team's
164 blocked shots, while teammates Darryce Moore and Martina Ellerbe each lead
Ohio State with 5.8 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Ameryst Alston averages
36.6 minutes per game, which ranks second in the Big Ten, and leads the team
with 18.2 points per game. Just a sophomore, Alston plays like a four-year
veteran, shooting 45.1 percent from the field, 34.4 percent from three and 83.2
percent from the foul line.
No. 9 Seed - Northwestern Wildcats (15-14, 5-11 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - NR; RPI - 97; Strength
of Schedule - 32
Top Scorer: Nia Coffey, 15.2 ppg
Top Rebounder: Nia Coffey, 8.1 rpg
Despite losing seven of their final eight conference games, the Wildcats
grabbed the No. 9 seed with an overtime win against Wisconsin in the season
finale. With Northwestern does have three wins over ranked opponents this
season (DePaul, Purdue and Nebraska) and they sit atop the Big Ten in blocked
shots with 195 - 6.7 per game. Many of those are thanks to 6-foot-5 junior Alex
Cohen, who averages 2.3 blocks and 4.5 rebounds per game. The Wildcats will rely
on star freshman Nia Coffey, as the versatile 6-foot-1 forward is eighth in the
conference with 15.2 points per game and adds 1.7 blocks and 8.1 rebounds per
game. A big wildcard for the Wildcats is the extent to which junior guard Karly
Roser will play. After playing in every game her freshman and sophomore seasons,
Roser missed the first 20 games of this season due to injury.
No. 10 Seed - Indiana Hoosiers (18-11, 5-11
AP Ranking - NR; RPI - 68; Strength
of Schedule - 65
Top Scorer: Larryn Brooks, 16.3 ppg
Top Rebounder: Simone Deloach, 6.3 rpg
The Hoosiers knew there would be some growing pains this season after
losing all-everything forward Aulani Sinclair to graduation in 2012-13. Those
growing pains were not felt early on, however, as the Hoosiers reeled off 14
straight wins to start the season. Arguably the best true freshman in the
conference this season, Larryn Brooks leads the team and ranks sixth in the
conference in scoring at 15.9 points per game. She also ranks sixth in the Big
Ten with 4.6 assists per game. The Hoosiers have started three freshmen in all
but two games this season, with the freshman class averaging 42.8 points per
games, or 1,200 points in 28 games, which is nearly 60 percent of the Hoosiers
No. 11 Seed - Wisconsin Badgers (10-18,
3-13 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - NR; RPI - 126; Strength
of Schedule - 22
Top Scorer: Michala Johnson, 16.5 ppg
Top Rebounder: Taylor Wurtz, 8.3 rpg
Scoring hasn't been a problem for Wisconsin this season, entering the game
averaging 65.4 points a contest, including 67 or more points in eight of their
last 10 games, but the Badgers are allowing 67.6 points a contest and opponents
shoot 41 percent from the field. Michala Johnson is one of the top scorers in
the Big Ten at 16.5 points per game and is among the top rebounders, as well,
grabbing 7.2 boards per game. Graduate student Taylor Wurtz missed most of the
last season due to injury, but has returned to form this season. She has 1,354
career points, including 204 made three pointers, to average 10.8 points and
6.3 rebounds per game in her career. She has also handed out 201 assists while
at Wisconsin, including a career- and team-high 67 this season. The Badgers share
the ball well, too, with four players accumulating 60-plus assists this
season. Wisconsin has lost five
conference games by single digits in 2013-14 and has had the lead at some point
in six of their last seven games, including leading in the second half in two of
No. 12 Seed - Illinois Fighting Illini (9-20, 2-14 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - NR; RPI - 169; Strength
of Schedule - 42
Top Scorer: Amber Moore, 14.9 ppg|
Top Rebounder: Ivory Crawford, 5.8 rpg
The Illini entered the season needed to replace their top two scorers and
rebounders in All-American Karisma Penn and Adrienne GodBold, but followed up a
19-14 campaign with a 9-20 mark. After starting the season 7-5, Illinois has
dropped 15 of their last 17 games, with their wins coming vs. Northwestern and
Michigan State. The talented backcourt duo of Ivory Crawford and Amber Moore leads
the team in scoring with 14.4 and 14.9 points, respectively, and Moore leads
the conference with 2.9 three pointers made per game. The Illini currently lead
the Big Ten and are tied for ninth national in steals per game (10.8) and are
atop the conference and 18th in the NCAA in turnover margin (+5.10).
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - The hardware still resides in Happy Valley.
an emotional senior day, No. 12/8 Penn State (22-6, 13-3) topped Michigan
(17-12, 8-8), 77-62, to earn at least a share of the Big Ten regular-season
championship for the third straight season.
"It's pretty unbelievable," said
senior guard Maggie Lucas. "I don't think many people believed in this. People
within the program just worked so hard for this. I give a lot of credit to our
entire team. The young players bought into what we had to accomplish and
trusted the coaches and the older players in what it takes to get here. I'm so
proud to be a Lady Lion today."
For Lucas and her other senior
counterparts - Talia East, Ariel Edwards and Dara Taylor - the Class of 2014
claimed its third straight Big Ten regular-season title, a feat that the Blue
and White have never accomplished before.
"It's the first time in program
history that we have won three Big Ten Championships in a row," said Penn State
head coach Coquese Washington. "For a program that has such a storied legacy,
to be able to do something that this program hasn't done before, it's pretty
this being the third year in a row that the Lady Lions have won at least a
share of the regular season title, winning has not gotten old for the players
or the coaching staff.
"The confetti came down and I looked
at [Kris Petersen] and I told her, 'This doesn't get old,'" said senior
guard Dara Taylor. "It's an amazing feeling every time.... This one is special
just because of how hard we worked for it. The freshmen came in and bought in.
Our journey over this year just culminated on the floor today. I thought
everyone stepped up well and I'm just super proud of my team."
In seven seasons at the helm of the
Blue and White, Washington has taken the women's basketball program to new
heights. By winning yesterday the Lady Lions joined Ohio State and Iowa as the
only Big Ten teams to ever win three or more consecutive conference titles.
Not only was it senior day, but it
was also alumni day inside the Bryce Jordan Center. The current Lady Lions
certainly put on a show on the hardwood for the past Lady Lions in attendance.
"It's amazing to be able to share this [Big Ten title] with them [the alumni],"
said senior forward Ariel Edwards. "It's very rare that these two things happen
at the same time - Alumni Day and a Big Ten Championship. When you look around
you see so much history and it's amazing to see where we've been and how far
After the final horn sounded an incredible
scene ensued. The four seniors embraced one another with Washington in between.
Then each player took turns cutting down the net, followed by the team meeting
at half court to hug each other and the trophy.
"It is like Christmas morning for
parents when their kids open presents," said Washington. "Trust me, we've had
some days when they are running their tails off and it's hard work to winning a
championship. The moment where the confetti comes down and they accomplish what
they set out to accomplish, I just like watching them enjoy that moment."
All four seniors managed to score in
double-figures yesterday to cap off outstanding careers donning the blue and white,
making it a perfect end for a special class.
"They played like seniors," said
Washington. "They played the way you want seniors to play on senior night. They
came together and all had really good nights and played well for us, which all
culminated with a Big Ten Championship. It's a great way to go out."
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The postseason push for Penn State teams in March is on.
The first weekend of
the month kicked off in fine fashion with two teams tallying Big Ten championships
to go along with an individual being named the top performer at the Big Ten Men's
Swimming & Diving Championships.
In dramatic fashion, the Nittany Lion women's track & field team notched
its third conference crown at the Big Ten Indoor Championships on Saturday
afternoon. It all came down to the
4x400-meter relay with the Lions leading Michigan by just half a point heading
into the final event. The Lions stormed
to a victory in the relay to seal the title.
"The women were outstanding today," said Director of Track &
Field and Head Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan. "Michigan pressed us hard
throughout the weekend, but we kept our composure and competed great. This is a
championship win to remember."
Roughly 45 minutes after the women's track & field team was crowned champion,
the Lady Lion basketball team finished off a 77-62 triumph over Michigan to
clinch a share of its third-straight Big Ten regular season title. The Lady Lions join Ohio State and Iowa as
the only programs to win three or more consecutive Big Ten titles.
"It's the first time in program history that we have won three Big Ten
Championships in a row," head coach Coquese Washington said. "When this program
has such a storied legacy, to be able to do something that this program hasn't
done before, it's pretty hard. The program has accomplished so much and for
this class and team to do something that sets them apart, that's really cool."
In the pool, sophomore Shane Ryan capped off a strong outing for the Nittany
Lion men's swimming team by becoming the first Penn State men's swimmer to be
named Swimmer of the Big Ten Championships on Saturday. Ryan broke the Big Ten record in the 100m
freestyle, topping a mark set by former Northwestern Wildcat and 2012 London
Olympics medalist Matt Grevers. Ryan is the
first Nittany Lion to win two individual gold medals at the Big Ten
Championships. His efforts powered the
men's team to fifth in the team standings.
The men's team's performance came one week after the Nittany Lion
women's swimming & diving team took third at the Big Ten Women's
With a standout weekend in the books, the Nittany Lions are full steam ahead in
postseason mode beginning on Friday when the Lady Lions kick off play as the
No. 1 seed at the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis. Penn State will meet either Northwestern or
Ohio State at noon (BTN) on Friday. The
semifinals take place on Saturday, with the tournament final on Sunday in
Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
On Saturday, the three-time defending NCAA champion Penn State wrestling team
will begin its Big Ten title defense at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. Head coach Cael Sanderson and the Nittany
Lions will look for their fourth-straight Big Ten title over the weekend. Additionally, seniors Ed Ruth and David
Taylor have an opportunity to become Penn State's first four-time Big Ten
individual champions. Junior Matt Brown
is the third Nittany Lion in the lineup with a Big Ten individual title. The Big Ten finals will air live on BTN
Sunday at 2 p.m.
There are several marquee events on the horizon following the action this
weekend. The 2014 Big Ten Men's
Basketball Tournament is slated to begin on March 13 in Indianapolis. The Nittany Lion men's hoops team will finish
off its regular season this week with games at Northwestern and Minnesota. The Lions will learn their seed for the
tournament on Sunday.
The track and field squads will also be in action during the third weekend in
March. Penn State will travel to
Albaquerque for the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 14-15.
Head coach James Franklin and the Nittany Lion football team will wrap up
winter conditioning this week in preparation for the start of spring practice
on March 17. The Nittany Lions will
practice 15 times before the Blue-White Game on April 12 (1:30 p.m.).
The fourth weekend of March will feature no fewer than six postseason events
for Penn State teams. The No. 1
wrestling team will begin its NCAA title defense on March 20 in Oklahoma City
at the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships.
The finals will take place on March 22.
The ESPN family of networks will televise all six of the NCAA Wrestling
In Happy Valley, the women's gymnastics team plays host to the Big Ten Championships
in Rec Hall on March 22. Across campus,
the Bryce Jordan Center is slated to host the first and second rounds of the
NCAA Women's Basketball Championship.
Games are slated for 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. on March 23 and 7 p.m. on
Out of town, the first Big Ten Hockey Tournament will take place in Saint Paul,
Minn., beginning on March 20. The NCAA
Women's Swimming & Diving Championships begin on March 20 in Minneapolis,
as well. The Penn State fencing teams
also kick of NCAA Championships competition in Columbus on March 20.
The month will wrap up with a weekend featuring the NCAA Men's Swimming &
Diving Championships, which begin on March 27 in Austin, Texas. The Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships
begin on March 28 in Lincoln, Neb.
With two titles already in hand, it will be a busy month ahead for Penn State
teams competing in postseason competition.
Stay tuned for complete coverage of the postseason push on
Key Dates Ahead in March
March 7 - Noon (BTN) - Lady
Lions vs. Ohio State/Northwestern (Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals -
March 8 - 11 a.m./6 p.m. - Big Ten
Wrestling Championships (Madison, Wis.)
March 9 - 12/2 p.m. (BTN) - Big Ten Wrestling Championships (Madison, Wis.)
March 13-16 - Big Ten Men's
Basketball Tournament (Indianapolis)
March 14-15 - NCAA Indoor Track
& Field Championships (Albuquerque, N.M.)
March 17 - First Day of Spring
March 20-22 - NCAA Wrestling
Championships (Oklahoma City, Okla.); NCAA Fencing Championships (Columbus,
Ohio); NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships (Minneapolis, Minn.);
Big Ten Men's Hockey Tournament (Saint Paul, Minn.)
March 22 - 12/5 p.m. - Big Ten
Women's Gymnastics Championships (University Park, Pa.)
March 23 - 12:30/3 p.m. - NCAA
Women's Basketball First Round (University Park, Pa.)
March 25 - 7 p.m. - NCAA Women's
Basketball Second Round (University Park, Pa.)
March 27-29 - NCAA Men's Swimming
& Diving Championships (Austin, Texas)
March 28-29 - Big Ten Men's
Gymnastics Championships (Lincoln, Neb.)
Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony