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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 12/19/2023, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Big Ten Weekly Women's Basketball Central - Dec. 19-25

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  • The final week of non-conference play features 18 games, concluding on Friday as programs take time off for the holidays. Action started Monday when No. 16/15 Indiana defeated Evansville, 109-56, and No. 13/11 Ohio State dropped a close contest to future Big Ten Conference member No. 2/2 UCLA, 77-71.

  • Fans will be treated to a Big Ten-SEC battle when NR/RV Michigan takes on NR/RV Florida at the Jumpman Invitational in Charlotte, N.C. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET Wednesday on ESPN2. No. 16/15 Indiana hosts Bowling Green on Friday at 6 p.m. ET live on the Big Ten Network to wrap up the non-conference slate.

  • Indiana shot a blistering 71.7 percent from the floor against Evansville, the highest single-game field goal percentage in a NCAA Division I women’s college basketball game this season. It marked the program’s highest single-game field goal percentage and the fourth-best clip in Big Ten history.

  • The Big Ten leads all Division I conferences (tied with the Pac-12 and ACC) with an impressive nine schools among the top 50 in the latest NET rankings (including four in the top 20, which is second) – No. 7 Iowa, No. 14 Ohio State, No. 15 Michigan State, No. 19 Nebraska, No. 24 Penn State, No. 28 Indiana, No. 33 Michigan, No. 38 Maryland and No. 42 Minnesota. The NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) is the primary sorting tool used by the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee for determining NCAA Tournament teams.

  • The Big Ten has six teams making an appearance in this week’s Associated Press (AP) Top 25 poll. In the latest media survey, Iowa remains at No. 4, with Ohio State at No. 13 and Indiana at 16th. Minnesota, Nebraska and Michigan State are receiving votes. 

  • The Big Ten has five programs in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today Top 25 poll. Iowa checks in at No. 3, Ohio State is 13th and Indiana remains 15th. Michigan and Maryland are both receiving votes.

  • Offensive production continues to be the story for the Big Ten Conference as 10 different schools (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State) have scored 100 points in at least one game this season. Seven Big Ten teams are averaging more than 80 points per game and five of the national top 25 scoring offenses reside in the Big Ten, led by Michigan State (6th – 91.6), Iowa (9th – 89.9), Penn State (12th – 87.1), Ohio State (19th – 82.5) and Maryland (23rd – 82.0).

  • As of Tuesday, the Big Ten features some of the best shooting teams in the country with five teams among the top 25, including three in the top 10, in field goal percentage, according to the latest NCAA statistical report. Iowa paces the conference (5th – .508), followed by Indiana (8th – .507), Michigan State (10th – .505), Penn State (11th – .488) and Nebraska (25th – .475). Penn State (.412) and Michigan State (.399) are also proficient from beyond the arc, ranking third and sixth, respectively, in three-point percentage. 

  • Big Ten teams have been passing the rock quite well this season as six programs rank in the top 30 in the country in assists, led by Michigan State (3rd – 22.8), Indiana (12th – 20.2), Iowa (13th – 19.9), Northwestern (20th – 18.5), Penn State (22nd – 18.4) and Nebraska (28th – 17.8). A pair of Big Ten players rank among the top 15 nationally in assists – Iowa’s Caitlin Clark (6th – 7.2 apg) and Northwestern’s Caroline Lau (14th – 6.5 apg).

  • Individually, Caitlin Clark (IOWA) leads the country in points (362), points per game (30.2) and assists (86). Serah Williams (WIS) and Julia Ayrault (MSU) are eighth (2.90) and 11th (2.80), respectively, in blocks per game. Kendall Bostic (ILL) is shooting 70.3 percent from the field to rank fourth in field goal percentage, followed by Mackenzie Holmes (IND) with a 66.4 clip to stand eighth. Mara Braun (MINN) has the best free throw percentage (94.4) in the nation.

  • The Big Ten has consistently ranked among the top three conferences in women’s basketball attendance for the past three decades and that trend has continued into the 2023-24 season. Currently, 10 Big Ten schools rank among the top 50 in the nation in average attendance, including six in the top 25, with both figures leading all Division I conferences. Iowa is second nationally in attendance (14,998 fans per game), followed by Indiana (6th - 8,543), Maryland (9th – 7,178), Ohio State (17th – 5,119), Wisconsin (21st – 4,968) and Nebraska (22nd – 4,928).

  • Michigan State head coach Robyn Fralick earned her 200th career win as her team topped Central Michigan.

  • Penn State defeated St. Francis (Pa.), 119-49, for the second-highest scoring output in program history and tied for the fourth-most points scored in a game in Big Ten history. The Nittany Lions tallied 67 points in the first half, which set a program best and tied for sixth in the Big Ten record books. PSU’s 39 points in the second quarter tied for fourth all-time in the conference standings.

  • Nebraska’s Alexis Markowski chipped in 21 points against Southern to join the 1,000-point club, the 38th Husker to achieve the milestone.

  • No. 16/13 Ohio State claimed a landmark non-conference 78-58 win at No. 20/22 Tennessee. It was just the second time in Tennessee’s history that the Lady Vols have lost in Thompson-Boling Arena by at least 20 points. Ohio State is only the second Big Ten Conference program to defeat Tennessee in Knoxville, joining Indiana. It was the first time in conference history that the Big Ten has posted multiple wins over Tennessee in back-to-back years – Ohio State and Indiana both claimed victories over the Lady Vols during the 2022-23 season – and has won five of its last six matchups with Tennessee.

  • No. 21/19 Indiana secured an impressive non-conference 71-57 victory over No. 19/21 Tennessee on Nov. 23. It was the second time in as many years that the Hoosiers have bested the Lady Vols and the largest margin of victory (14) in the four-game all-time series. Last year’s Hoosier win was the first time a Big Ten Conference school defeated Tennessee in Thompson-Boling Arena. The matchup scored 1,118,000 viewers to rank as FOX’s most-watched women’s college basketball game ever and the most watched regular season women’s college basketball game on any network since last season’s 1,466,000 viewers for LSU vs. South Carolina on ESPN.