Big Ten Women’s Basketball Postseason Notes

by | Mar 20, 2019 | Basketball Blogs, Headlines, RRSN News | 0 comments

  • For the 19th consecutive season, the Big Ten is sending at least eight of its women’s basketball programs to postseason play. Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State and Rutgers will compete in the NCAA Tournament, while Minnesota, Northwestern and Ohio State will participate in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). This year’s nine combined Big Ten programs in postseason play are just two shy of the conference record for current members, set in 2014 and 2016, while this marks the fourth time in the past seven years at least nine Big Ten programs have earned their way into postseason tournaments.
  • The Big Ten has had at least four of its schools selected for NCAA Tournament action every year since 1986, with this year markings the 15th time in the past 19 seasons at least six current Big Ten members have advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Current Big Ten programs have advanced to the NCAA Women’s Final Four 15 times (most recently by Maryland in 2015) and have won two national championships (Purdue – 1999; Maryland – 2006).
  • Maryland leads all current Big Ten schools in NCAA Tournament appearances, with the Terrapins competing for the 27th time this year. They are followed by Purdue (26), while Iowa earned its 25th NCAA Tournament berth this year, joining Ohio State and Penn State with that many NCAA postseason appearances.
  • Iowa has earned its highest NCAA Tournament seed (No. 2) since 1996, when the Hawkeyes were also seeded second. The Hawkeyes will be playing host to NCAA Tournament first- and second-round games for the fourth time in seven seasons and have a 13-7 (.650) all-time record when playing at home in the NCAA Tournament.
  • For the 12th time in the past 14 years, Maryland is a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament. The third-seeded Terrapins will start their postseason journey on campus for the 10th time in the past 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, with Maryland owning a 21-4 (.850) record all-time at home in the NCAA Tournament.
  • Big Ten schools have also enjoyed success in the WNIT, with current conference programs reaching the tournament semifinals 15 times (including the past five years with Rutgers in 2014, Michigan in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and Indiana in 2018) and winning the WNIT championship six times (Penn State – 1998; Wisconsin – 2000; Ohio State – 2001; Rutgers – 2014; Michigan – 2017; Indiana – 2018).
  • The Big Ten has seven 20-win programs for the sixth consecutive season, with the conference featuring a record-setting nine schools win 20 games in both 2016-17 and 2017-18.
  • Iowa earned its first Big Ten Tournament title since 2001 and the third in program history on March 10 with a 90-76 win over top-seed (and Big Ten Champion) Maryland at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. In the highest-scoring title game in the tournament’s 26-year history, the Hawkeyes prevailed, thanks in no small measure to Tournament Most Outstanding Player Megan Gustafson, who scored a championship game-record 45 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the win.
  • Maryland won its fourth Big Ten Championship (and third outright title) in its five years as a conference member, finishing this year’s 18-game Big Ten slate with a 15-3 record, one game clear of Iowa. The Terrapins are the third program in conference history to win four Big Ten Championships in a five-year span and the first since Ohio State earned six straight titles from 2004-05 through 2009-10.
  • Iowa’s Megan Gustafson was unanimously selected as the espnW National Player of the Year, the outlet announced March 15. Gustafson is the first Big Ten student to earn women’s basketball national player-of-the-year honors since 1999, when Purdue’s Stephanie White took home the Wade Trophy and the Honda Sports Award while leading the Boilermakers to a 34-1 record and the program’s first NCAA national championship. A two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and a leading candidate for every major national award this season, Gustafson leads the nation in scoring (28.0 ppg.) and field goal percentage (.696) for the second consecutive season and ranks among the top five nationally in double-doubles (2nd – 30) and rebounding (4th – 13.3 rpg.). She also ranks sixth in Big Ten history in scoring (2,700 points) and second in rebounding (1,403 rebounds), needing just 20 rebounds to set the Big Ten career rebounding record, surpassing Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender (1,422 from 2008-11).
  • Iowa has set a Big Ten record this season with 702 assists, already exceeding Maryland’s conference mark of 694 assists in 2016-17. The Hawkeyes also dished out a record-setting 392 assists during the conference season, topping Ohio State’s mark of 356 in 1984-85. The Hawkeyes’ average of 22.0 assists per game passed Iowa’s own conference record of 20.8 apg. during the 2000-01 Big Ten season. In addition, Iowa’s Megan Gustafson now holds the Big Ten record for field goals made during a conference season — Gustafson made 211 baskets (11.7 per game), surpassing Northwestern’s Anucha Browne, who made 205 field goals (11.4 per game) in 1984-85.
  • Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder has been named a semifinalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year award, it was announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Bluder is aiming to become the fifth Big Ten coach to earn the honor (first since Nebraska’s Connie Yori in 2010), as well as the first Hawkeye coach to do so since current Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer in 1993.
  • Ohio State graduate student guard Carmen Grande was named a third-team Google Cloud Academic All-America selection by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Grande, who was also a first-team Academic All-America selection last year as an undergraduate at Ball State, maintains a 3.92 postgraduate GPA in industrial and systems engineering at Ohio State. The Big Ten has now had at least one women’s basketball student earn Academic All-America honors in seven of the past eight years, including two-time Google Cloud Academic All-American of the Year Ally Disterhoft of Iowa in 2016 and 2017.
  • Four Big Ten women’s basketball students earned Google Cloud Academic All-District honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) this season. Ohio State’s Carmen Grande was a first-team selection, while the Buckeyes’ Carly Santoro joined the Indiana duo of Ali Patberg and Brenna Wise on the second team. Patberg, Wise and Santoro were academic all-district honorees for the first time in their respective careers.
  • On Wednesday, it was announced that Big Ten women’s basketball programs had produced 68 students who earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2018-19, the 12th consecutive season at least 45 women’s basketball students received the award. Included in this year’s group are two students with unblemished GPAs – Ohio State’s Makayla Waterman (a graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in sports coaching) and Purdue’s Leony Boudreau (a sophomore engineering major).
  • Seven Big Ten teams are in the top 25 (10 in the top 35) in the nation in average attendance as of Wednesday. Purdue is the top Big Ten school at No. 9 with 6,515 fans/game, Iowa is next at No. 10 (6,163), Minnesota at No. 12 (5,738), Maryland at No. 13 (5,718), Michigan State at No. 15 (5,496), Ohio State at No. 21 (4,567) and Nebraska at No. 23 (4,101). Indiana follows at No. 26 (3,920), Wisconsin at No. 27 (3,894) and Michigan at No. 33 (3,558).
  • Big Ten schools have drawn three of the top 10 single-game crowds this season (two being sellouts). Minnesota is fourth with a school-record 14,625 fans for the Golden Gophers’ season-opening win over New Hampshire on Nov. 9, while Michigan is sixth with a school record-tying 12,707 fans on hand for the Wolverines’ Jan. 27 matchup with Michigan State, and Iowa is 10th with 12,051 fans attending the Hawkeyes’ Senior Day win over Northwestern on March 3 (Iowa’s second crowd of 10,000 or more fans this year – 10,716 on Feb. 17 vs. Maryland). Two other conference programs have had at least 10,000 fans at a game this year — Michigan State (11,368) on Feb. 24 vs. Michigan, and Purdue (10,086) on Dec. 16 vs. South Carolina.
  • Purdue senior guard Abby Abel is a finalist for the 2019 Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, presented annually to the most outstanding role models among student-athletes of every level (high school, college and professional). The award, to be presented April 25 in Atlanta, recognizes individuals that best display character, teamwork and citizenship. Abel is the third Purdue women’s basketball student chosen as a finalist for the award (Lauren Mioton in 2009 and Drey Mingo in 2013), while the Boilers’ Courtney Moses was a semifinalist in 2014. In addition, she is seeking to become the second Big Ten student in as many years to earn the Wooden Citizenship Cup — Illinois football standout Joe Spencer was the 2017 recipient.
  • For the second consecutive year, five Big Ten women’s basketball seniors have been selected to participate in the 17th annual “So You Want To Be A Coach” program, to be held April 3-5 at the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Convention in Tampa, Fla. Iowa’s Tania Davis, Nebraska’s Rachel Blackburn (who had her playing career cut short due to chronic injuries) and Maddie Simon, Ohio State’s Makayla Waterman and Rutgers’ Khadaizha Sanders will participate in the workshop, which is designed to, among other objectives, increase the understanding and application of skills necessary to secure coaching positions and subsequently achieve success in those roles.

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