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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 3/21/2024, Last updated: 3/21/2024
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Big Ten Weekly Women's Basketball Central - March 20

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  • For the 23rd consecutive season (not counting the 2019-20 campaign that ended prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic), the Big Ten is sending at least eight of its women’s basketball programs to postseason play. Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Ohio State will compete in the NCAA Tournament. Illinois and Penn State will represent the conference in the inaugural WBIT, while Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin will take part in the WNIT.
  • A record-tying seven Big Ten Conference schools received berths into the 2024 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. For the second consecutive year, seven schools earned their way into the NCAA Tournament, led by No. 1 seed Iowa, No. 2 seed Ohio State and No. 4 seed Indiana.
  • This marks the second time a Big Ten program has garnered a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament in as many years, when Indiana was a top seed a season ago. Iowa has earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament three times in school history – 1988, 1992 and 2024.
  • The seven selections ties the conference record for most teams selected in one season (also set in 2012, 2015, 2021 and 2023). It is the 19th time in the past 23 years and 26th time in Big Ten history that at least six current conference members have been chosen to compete in the NCAA Tournament.
  • The Big Ten has now had at least four of its schools selected for NCAA Tournament action every year since 1986. Current Big Ten programs have advanced to the NCAA Women’s Final Four 16 times (most recently by Iowa in 2023) and have won two national championships (Purdue - 1999; Maryland - 2006).
  • The last three times the NCAA Tournament has been played on campus (2019, 2022 and 2023), Iowa posted remarkable attendance figures and is on pace to continue its success as both sessions (Saturday and Monday) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena are already sold out (14,988). It is the third time in as many years that the Hawkeyes have sold out the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
  • At 14,998 fans per game, Iowa has set the Big Ten Conference single-season attendance average record. The Hawkeyes bested their own mark set last season (11,143), with the previous record being held by Wisconsin, which averaged 10,455 fans in 1997-98. 
  • Maryland leads all current Big Ten schools in NCAA Tournament appearances, with the Terrapins competing for the 31st time this year. They are followed by Iowa (30th appearance this year), while Ohio State earned its 28th NCAA bid this year, good for third-most among conference members.
  • Michigan State is returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2021. Head coach Robyn Fralick is the first-ever MSU women's basketball head coach to lead the Spartans into the NCAA Tournament in their first season at the helm.
  • Penn State and Illinois will represent the Big Ten Conference after being selected to participate in the 32-team Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament (WBIT), which is making its postseason debut. The WBIT is a newly created 32-team postseason single-elimination tournament owned and sponsored by the NCAA.
  • Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin were at-large qualifiers for the 26th edition of the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). Big Ten schools have also enjoyed success in the WNIT, with current conference programs reaching the tournament semifinals 17 times (including six of the past nine tournaments with Rutgers in 2014, Michigan in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Indiana in 2018 and Northwestern in 2019) and winning the WNIT championship six times (Penn State - 1998; Wisconsin - 2000; Ohio State - 2001; Rutgers - 2014; Michigan - 2017; Indiana - 2018).
  • Second-seeded Iowa claimed its sixth Big Ten Conference Tournament title and third in as many years with a 94-89 overtime win over fifth-seeded Nebraska before a sellout crowd at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Iowa became the fourth school in conference history to win three-straight Big Ten Tournament titles, joining Maryland (2015-17), Ohio State (2009-11) and Purdue (1998-2000). The Hawkeyes made 39 three-pointers during the tournament, the most in Big Ten history.
  • The 2024 TIAA Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament saw a total attendance of 129,512 fans, a new tournament record, surpassing the previous mark of 47,923 fans set in 2023. All-session tickets were sold out prior to the start of the event, marking the first sellout in the history of the 31-year tournament. 
  • The Big Ten Tournament's championship game was the most-watched women's college basketball conference tournament game ever on any network. The Iowa-Nebraska matchup averaged 3,021,000 viewers on CBS. 
  • Ohio State captured the Big Ten’s regular season title outright and finished with a 16-2 record in conference play to secure the No. 1 seed for the Big Ten Tournament. Ohio State extended its conference record with its 16th Big Ten women’s basketball crown, the first outright regular season title since the 2009-10 season. 
  • The 2023-24 all-conference teams and individual awards were announced March 5 on the Big Ten Network’s “B1G Today” show. For the third year in a row, Iowa senior guard Caitlin Clark was named Big Ten Player of the Year by the conference coaches and a select panel of Big Ten media members. She is the first back-to-back-to-back recipient of the honor since Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender was chosen in 2008 (coaches only), 2009 and 2010. Nebraska forward Natalie Potts was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year by the conference’s coaches, while Purdue forward Mary Ashley Stevenson garnered Big Ten Freshman of the Year from the media panel. Ohio State’s graduate student guard Celeste Taylor earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year laurels from the coaches, while Wisconsin’s sophomore forward Serah Williams received Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year recognition in the media vote. Ohio State’s Kevin McGuff was named Big Ten Coach of the Year and Michigan State sophomore guard Theryn Hallock was voted the Big Ten’s Sixth Player of the Year.
  • The Big Ten has three teams ranked, including two in the top 10, in the latest Associated Press (AP) Top 25 poll and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today poll. Iowa sits at No. 2 for the fifth time this season. Ohio State is ranked seventh in the AP poll and ninth in WBCA/USA Today poll. Indiana checks in at No. 14 in both polls and Nebraska is receiving votes from both organizations for a third time.  
  • In the latest Massey Ratings, the Big Ten owns the country’s top offensive power rating, while coming in third in the nation in both strength of schedule for games played and strength of schedule for future games.
  • 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. Six Big Ten teams are averaging more than 77 points per game to ensure multiple national top 25 scoring offenses reside in the Big Ten, led by Iowa (1st – 92.8), Michigan State (6th – 83.7), Penn State (7th – 83.6), Ohio State (15th – 79.8), Indiana (16th – 79.5) and Maryland (22nd – 77.7).
  • The Big Ten currently leads all Division I conferences in scoring (74.0 ppg), three-point percentage (.349), free throw percentage (.745), field goal percentage (.448) and assists (16.3 apg).
  • With a 1.62 assist/turnover ratio, Michigan State sits at No. 2 in the NCAA’s national statistical rankings. Iowa (4th – 1.59), Indiana (12th – 1.38) and Ohio State (19th – 1.31) are also included in the top 20.
  • The Big Ten features some of the best shooting teams in the country with five programs among the top 15, including four in the top 10, in field goal percentage. Indiana has the best mark nationally at 51 percent, followed by Iowa (2nd – .503), Penn State (6th – .490), Michigan State (9th – .484) and Ohio State (15th – .467). Indiana, Iowa, Penn State and Michigan State are also efficient from beyond the arc. The Hoosiers lead the nation with a 40.2 three-point percentage while the Hawkeyes check in sixth at 38.2 percent. The Lady Lions rank ninth with a 37.5 clip and the Spartans are converting at a 37.3 rate for 12th.
  • Big Ten teams have been passing the rock quite well this season as six programs rank in the top 25 in the country in assists, led by Iowa (1st – 21.9), Michigan State (9th – 19.0), Indiana (15th – 18.3), Ohio State (19th – 17.7), Penn State (20th – 17.6) and Northwestern (22nd – 17.4). Five Big Ten players rank among the top 25 nationally in assists – Iowa’s Caitlin Clark (1st – 8.9 apg), Purdue’s Jeanae Terry (12th – 6.1 apg), Nebraska's Jaz Shelley (18th – 5.6 apg), Maryland's Shyanne Sellers (22nd – 5.5 apg) and Minnesota’s Amaya Battle (25th – 5.5 apg).
  • Individually, Caitlin Clark (IOWA) leads the country in points (1,054), points per game (31.9) and assists (294). Serah Williams (WIS) is averaging 2.85 blocks (6th) and 11.3 rebounds (7th) rebounds per game. Mackenzie Holmes (IND) is shooting 67.7 percent from the floor to rank first in field goal percentage, followed by Hannah Stuelke (IOWA) at 64.3 percent for fourth and Kendall Bostic (ILL) with a 61.2 clip to stand tenth. 
  • 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, 11 Big Ten schools rank among the top 50 in the nation in average attendance, including six in the top 20, with both figures leading all Division I conferences. Iowa is second nationally in attendance (14,998 fans per game), followed by Indiana (5th – 10,038), Ohio State (9th – 7,559), Maryland (10th – 7,545), Nebraska (15th – 6,088) and Purdue (17th – 6,001).
  • The Big Ten closed its non-conference slate with a combined 114-41 (.735) record. Big Ten teams dominated on their home courts with an 82-11 (.882) record. Among the 114 victories, five were over AP Top 25 opponents.
  • The 2023-24 schedule marks the most coverage on nationally distributed platforms in Big Ten women’s basketball history. Six Big Ten regular-season games will be televised on a broadcast platform, the most in conference history. NBC televised its first-ever Big Ten women’s basketball game on Jan. 21 when Ohio State upset Iowa and Peacock carried its first Big Ten women’s basketball broadcast on Jan. 2, a thriller between Michigan State and Iowa. The Ohio State-Iowa matchup on NBC and Peacock was the most-watched regular season women’s college basketball game on any network since 2010. Viewership peaked at 3.9 million viewers and the broadcast averaged 1.93 million viewers. 
  • Iowa has participated in the most-watched women’s basketball games of all time on five different networks this season – Big Ten Network, FOX, FS1, NBC and Peacock.