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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 12/12/2023, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Big Ten Weekly Women's Basketball Central - Dec. 12-18

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  • Final exams are the primary opponent for most Big Ten Conference schools this week as the fall semester comes to a close for many member institutions. A handful of programs will be in action later this week before play ramps up on Sunday, Dec. 17.

  • After all 14 Big Ten programs opened conference play last week, the squads are set to face a full slate of non-conference opponents. A pair of Big Ten schools will challenge Top 25 opponents, starting with Purdue visiting No. 14/12 Notre Dame (12 p.m. ET Sunday on ACCN). Rutgers closes Sunday’s lineup by hosting No. 16/14 Virginia Tech at 5:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

  • Fans can catch a pair of Big Ten games on the Big Ten Network this week. No. 4/3 Iowa welcomes Cleveland State on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET before Illinois hosts Missouri at 4 p.m. ET Sunday.

  • Caitlin Clark scored 35 points in Iowa’s 67-58 win over in-state rival Iowa State, registering her 3,000th career point and becoming the first Hawkeye to achieve the feat. Clark is the only player in Division I men’s or women’s basketball history with 3,000+ points, 750+ rebounds and 750+ assists. She also surpassed Maya Moore and Elena Delle Donne to become the NCAA’s 10th all-time leading scorer.

  • C. Vivian Stringer, former Rutgers University head coach, was named a Naismith Award honoree for her lifetime contribution to the game of basketball, the Atlanta Tipoff Club (ATOC) announced Dec. 7. Stringer was selected by the ATOC’s Board of Directors and will be honored during the 2024 college basketball season. The second full-time head coach in Rutgers women's basketball history, Stringer had served at the helm of the Scarlet Knights from 1995 to 2022, the longest tenured coach at the time of her retirement. Stringer compiled a 1,055-426 (.712) record in 50 seasons as a head coach, becoming one of five NCAA Division I coaches (and the only Black coach) to amass 1,000 victories. She also is the only coach to lead three different schools (Cheyney, Iowa and Rutgers) to NCAA Final Four appearances (a combined four trips), including berths in the 1982 and 2007 national championship game. Stringer spent her final 27 seasons at Rutgers, winning 535 games with the Scarlet Knights. She has been inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame (2020), Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame (2009) and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2001).

  • The Big Ten leads all Division I conferences with an impressive 10 schools among the top 50 in the latest NET rankings (including four in the top 20, ties for the best mark with the Pac-12) – No. 6 Iowa, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 18 Nebraska, No. 28 Michigan, No. 30 Indiana, No. 35 Penn State, No. 41 Minnesota, No. 48 Maryland and No. 50 Illinois. 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 seven 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. 12 and Indiana moving up to 15th. Penn State, 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 11th and Indiana sits 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. Six 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 (8th – 91.7), Iowa (10th – 88.6), Ohio State (14th – 84.9), Penn State (21st – 83.9) and Nebraska (25th – 81.5).

  • As of Tuesday, the Big Ten features some of the best shooting teams in the country with six teams among the top 25, including three in the top 10, in field goal percentage, according to the latest NCAA statistical report. Michigan State paces the conference (5th – .509), followed by Iowa (6th – .508), Penn State (10th - .498), Indiana (16th - .488), Ohio State (24th - .478) and Nebraska (25th - .478). Penn State (.416) and Michigan State (.401) 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 five programs rank in the top 30 in the country in assists, led by Michigan State (4th – 22.1), Indiana (11th – 20.2), Iowa (13th – 20.0), Northwestern (22nd – 18.2) and Nebraska (29th – 17.8). A pair of Big Ten players rank among the top 10 nationally in assists – Iowa’s Caitlin Clark (5th – 7.4 apg) and Northwestern’s Caroline Lau (7th – 7.0 apg).

  • Individually, Caitlin Clark (IOWA) leads the country in points (324), points per game (29.5) and assists (81). Serah Williams (WIS) and Julia Ayrault (MSU) are tied for ninth with 2.89 blocks per game. Mackenzie Holmes (IND) is shooting 65.2 percent from the field to rank 10th in field goal percentage. Mara Braun (MINN) and Sara Scalia (IND) are second (96.8) and fifth (95.8), respectively, in free throw percentage.

  • The Big Ten has consistently ranked among the top three conferences in women’s basketball attendance for the past three decades and that trend appears to be continuing this 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 (11th – 5,737), Ohio State (17th – 5,025), Nebraska (19th – 5,002) and Illinois (24th - 4,563).

  • Kassondra Brown recorded her 1,000th career point in Rutgers’ 98-67 victory over La Salle. She is the 39th Scarlet Knight in program history to reach the milestone.

  • Jaz Shelley became the first Nebraska player in program history to post a pair of triple-doubles in her career with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the Huskers’ largest victory margin over a Division I team in school history with a 108-35 win over UNC Wilmington.

  • Iowa’s Kate Martin became the first Hawkeye to ever amass 900+ points, 500+ rebounds, 400+ assists, 120+ steals and 60+ blocks in a career.

  • Jeanae Terry recorded the first non-point double-double (11 assists, 10 rebounds) in the nation this season in Purdue’s 83-57 win over SEMO.

  • Indiana head coach Teri Moren secured her 100th Big Ten victory as her team defeated Rutgers.

  • Maryland won its 600th all-time home game (306 games at XFINITY Center, 294 at Cole Field House) against Northwestern. The Terps are 600-139 in College Park since the start of the program in 1971-72 for a remarkable 81.2 win percentage in home games all-time.

  • Purdue’s Jeanae Terry recorded her 200th steal against Minnesota, the only active player in the nation with 600 assists, 800 rebounds and 200 steals.

  • The matchup between Iowa and Wisconsin on Dec. 10 marked the first sellout for Wisconsin’s program in 21 years with 14,252 fans in attendance, which ranks seventh all-time in the Kohl Center.

  • Michigan tallied its sixth-best margin of victory in a Big Ten game in program history with a 36-point win over Illinois, 84-48. The Wolverines connected on 13 three-pointers, just one shy of a program record.

  • No. 16/13 Ohio State claimed a landmark non-conference victory on Sunday with a 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.