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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 12/29/2023, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Big Ten Weekly Women's Basketball Central - Dec. 29-Jan. 1

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  • Following a competitive non-conference season, the Big Ten jumps back into conference play this weekend with five of seven Big Ten games being televised on the Big Ten Network (and the FOX Sports App), while the Ohio State-Michigan matchup will be broadcast on FOX.

  • Saturday’s television slate begins with No. 17/13 Ohio State at NR/RV Michigan (12 p.m. ET on FOX), followed by RV/NR Minnesota at No. 4/3 Iowa (2 p.m. ET on BTN), RV/NR Michigan State at RV/NR Penn State (4 p.m. ET on BTN) and Wisconsin at Purdue (6 p.m. ET on BTN). Sunday’s pair of games on BTN features Illinois visiting No. 16/15 Indiana at 12:30 p.m. ET and Nebraska hosting NR/RV Maryland at 2:30 p.m. ET.

  • Iowa senior Caitlin Clark and Ohio State graduate student Jacy Sheldon were selected as two of five Ann Meyers Drysdale National Players of the Week by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) on Wednesday. Clark picked up her third honor of the season after posting the 13th triple-double of her career (35 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists) against Loyola Chicago. Sheldon averaged 30.5 points in two homes games last week, including a 31-point performance on 12-for-18 shooting from the field against Belmont.

  • The Big Ten leads all Division I conferences with a remarkable nine schools among the top 40 in the latest NET rankings (including four in the top 20, tied for top mark with Pac-12) – No. 7 Iowa, No. 13 Ohio State, No. 16 Michigan State, No. 17 Indiana, No. 22 Nebraska, No. 33 Penn State, No. 37 Minnesota, No. 38 Michigan and No. 39 Maryland. 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, Indiana is steady at 16th and Ohio State dropped to No. 17. Minnesota, Michigan State and Penn 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 holds at 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 – 92.0), Iowa (8th – 90.5), Penn State (10th – 88.2), Ohio State (19th – 82.7) and Maryland (23rd – 81.7).

  • As of Thursday, the Big Ten features some of the best shooting teams in the country with four programs among the top 20, including three in the top 10, in field goal percentage, according to the latest NCAA statistical report. Indiana paces the conference (5th – .510), followed by Penn State (6th – .509), Iowa (7th – .508) and Michigan State (13th – .495). Penn State (.425) and Michigan State (.393) are also efficient from beyond the arc, ranking second and 11th, 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 (4th – 21.7), Indiana (12th – 20.3), Iowa (15th – 19.8), Penn State (21st – 18.8), Northwestern (22nd – 18.6) and Minnesota (29th – 17.8). A pair of Big Ten players rank among the top 20 nationally in assists – Iowa’s Caitlin Clark (7th – 7.4 apg) and Northwestern’s Caroline Lau (17th – 6.2 apg).

  • Individually, Caitlin Clark (IOWA) leads the country in points (397), points per game (30.5) and assists (96). Serah Williams (WIS) and Julia Ayrault (MSU) are seventh (2.90) and 14th (2.58), respectively, in blocks per game. Kendall Bostic (ILL) is shooting 70.4 percent from the field to rank fourth in field goal percentage, followed by Mackenzie Holmes (IND) with a 65.6 clip to stand ninth. 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 seven 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 – 8,578), Maryland (10th – 6,871), Ohio State (13th – 5,482), Purdue (20th – 4,967), Nebraska (21st – 4,928) and Wisconsin (24th – 4,776).

  • Shay Ciezki had the hot hand as she scored a career-high 40 points, including eight three-pointers, in Penn State’s win over Central Connecticut State. Ciezki’s mark tied for the third-most points in a single game and was just the fourth 40-point performance in the Nittany Lions’ record book. As a team, Penn State set the program record for made three-pointers in a single game with 15.

  • Iowa’s Caitlin Clark moved up in a pair of categories in the Big Ten’s history books. She passed Rachel Banham (MINN, 2012-16) to take the No. 2 spot on the all-time scorer’s list with 3,114 points. Clark moved ahead of Nancy Kennelly (NU, 1989-93) for third place in career assists with 894. With her 13th career triple-double, she joined Sabrina Ionescu as the only players in college women’s basketball history to record a triple-double in four consecutive seasons. Clark also became the all-time leader in 30+ point performances (43) in men’s and women’s college basketball over the last 25 seasons and is the NCAA’s seventh all-time leading scorer.

  • Michigan State bested Coastal Carolina, 105-66, its fourth time topping the 100-point mark this season for the most in program history. With the victory, the Spartans claimed the Cherokee Invitational Championship title, their first tournament win since 2017.

  • Sara Scalia connected on eight three-pointers against Bowling Green, which tied for second all-time in a single game in Indiana history. She is the first Hoosier to have such a performance from beyond the arc since Kris McGrade made eight triples in 1993 against Indiana State.  

  • 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.