It’s easy to get caught up in an Ohio State bubble, but there’s a lot going on around the Big Ten, especially this season in women’s basketball. The conference has the most teams in the AP Top 25 poll and features a wide array of talented seniors destined for the professional level.
Last week we saw two teams with these types of players. Additionally, as the end of the season approaches, it’s time to predict some awards.
Battle between Indiana and Maryland
On Thursday, January 12, a top 10 showdown ensued between the No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers and the No. 9 Maryland Terrapins. It was Indiana’s dynamic duo of center Mackenzie Holmes and guard Grace Berger against the soon-to-be lottery pick of the WNBA in Maryland’s Star Guard Diamond Miller.
Played at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana, Hoosiers fans witnessed a physical game. In Maryland’s starting five, four players committed at least three fouls, with three starters catching four each.
The Terrapins picked up 20 in all. Miraculously, no one was fouled and Maryland held it in a tight game for three of four quarters.
Indiana’s halfcourt defense kept Maryland at 61 points, but the quarter that hurt the Terrapins the most was the second. The Hoosiers kept Miller and her team off the field 27.3% compared to the game’s best shooting quarter for both teams, Indiana, which shot 63.6%.
Leading Indiana in this category was Indiana Natives and Oregon Ducks transfer Sydney Parrish. The Guard scored a team-high 18 points for Indiana. That performance, plus freshman Yarden Garzon going from deep 3-for-5, was the difference in the 68-61 win.
On Maryland’s side, Miller still played an impressive game, recording 19 points and six rebounds. Unfortunately for the Terrapins, only one of their teammates, backup guard Brinae Alexander, contributed more than 10 points and they couldn’t get an even scoring day for the Hoosiers in the 68-61 win in Indiana.
Unfortunately for fans of the conference, the two teams will not meet again in the regular season. Hopefully there will be a rematch between the two sides at the Big Ten tournament with even more at stake.
Prediction of conference prices
Land Grant Holy Land doesn’t have a media poll at any of the postseason awards, so consider this a draft of what we could potentially send to the Big Ten at the end of the season. There’s still time for players to make an impact, but with 10 weeks into the season it’s a good time to start guessing at each award.
Player of the Year: Caitlin Clark, Iowa Hawkeyes
Moron. Iowa guard Caitlin Clark is having the best scoring season of her career, which is saying a lot. It’s not included in the total points per game, which is a slight drop, but the Naismith contender for Player of the Year is shooting 1.5% more than last season, shooting 46.7%. With South Carolina Gamecocks center Aaliyah Boston getting more attention on defense and playing under her normal game-destroying influence, Clark is a solid pick to not only win the B1G Player of the Year, but the Naismith award as well.
Newcomer of the Year: Cotie McMahon, Ohio State Buckeyes
This is a close connection between McMahon, Minnesota guard Mara Braun, Indiana’s Garzon and Rutgers guard Kaylene Smikle, but McMahon is edging her out. The freshman forward might not have the same scoring tally as Braun, but in the game McMahon becomes a key piece of the country’s No. 2, which says a lot.
Defender of the Year: Diamond Miller, Maryland terrapins
Now that Northwestern Wildcat forward Veronica Burton has graduated from college, it’s someone else’s turn to be named Defensive Player of the Year. Miller’s ability to mark, steal, block and rebound from the best player on the court is unmatched. With Clark the surefire pick for Player of the Year, it seems fair that Miller should win the Defensive Player of the Year award for her incredible play.
Sixth Player of the Year: Rikki Harris, Ohio State Buckeyes
Sixth player is usually the player who always comes off the bench first for a team and influences the game. Now Harris has started due to injuries, but the guard’s ability to play four of five positions on the court and even moving to starting point guard shows versatility. The Indiana Native is one of the reasons the Buckeyes are undefeated. When guard Jacy Sheldon returns, Harris switches back to that traditional sixth player, but starting shouldn’t penalize the redshirt junior for her accolades in the Big Ten.
we know we know Buckeyes head coach Kevin McGuff leads a surprising Ohio State team to their best season ever. That’s great, and every other year he’s a ban for Coach of the Year, but what Green has done is unparalleled in the Big Ten.
The former Dayton Flyers coach joined a seven-win Illinois team that was returning just five players. Through a combination of ex-Dayton players, other transfers and strikers within these five returnees, the Illini are having their best season in program history. Illinois has already doubled its wins from last season and is in the top 25 AP poll for the first time since 2000.
If you have your own tips, share them on the Land Grant Holy Land Twitter page or in the comments below.
Elsewhere around the B1G
- The Michigan Wolverines had been showing for a week that they’re not out of the game by convincingly beating the Purdue Boilermakers and earning a 15-point win over in-state rivals the Michigan State Spartans. Maize & Blue is still a team to watch in the Big Ten.
- Clark and the Hawkeyes showed no mercy against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Iowa beat the visitors 108-67, with Clark playing well into the fourth quarter.
- Still no conference wins for the Northwestern Wildcats, who are losing to Purdue and Iowa.
- Wisconsin’s comeback after a difficult start to the season that saw him win two straight conference games with an overtime win over the Spartans, led by forward Serah Williams, who had 31 points and 13 rebounds.
B1G WBB Ranking
|position||team||B1G record||In total||games back|
|position||team||B1G record||In total||games back|
|1||State of Ohio||7-0||18-0||–|
|11||State of Michigan||2-5||8-11||5|
The same six teams represent the Big Ten in the most recent AP poll, but the Hawkeyes jump a spot in the top 10 ahead of the Terrapins.
2 – State of Ohio (+1)
6 – Indiana (N.C.)
10 – Iowa (+2)
11 – Maryland (-2)
14 – Michigan (+3)
21 – Illinois (+3)
Here’s what the rest of the conference schedule looks like in week 11, plus the first day of week 12 because, just look at it.
Wednesday January 18th
- No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan State Spartans — 7:00 p.m. ET
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Purdue Boilermakers – 7:00 p.m. ET
- Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions – 7:00 p.m. ET
- No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers at No. 21 Illinois Fighting Illini — 8:00 p.m. ET
Thursday January 19th
- Northwestern Wildcats in No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes — 6:30 p.m. ET
- No. 11 Maryland Terrapins at Wisconsin Badgers – 7:30 p.m. ET
- No. 14 Michigan Wolverines at Rutgers Scarlet Knights – 8:30 p.m. ET
- Minnesota Golden Gophers at Purdue Boilermakers – 2:00 p.m. ET
Sunday 23 January
- No. 11 Maryland Terrapins at Nebraska Cornhuskers – 2:00 p.m. ET
- No. 21 Illinois Fighting Illini at Northwestern Wildcats – 3:00 p.m. ET
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan State Spartans – 3:00 p.m. ET
- Wisconsin Badgers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions – 5:00 p.m. ET
Monday, January 24th
- No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes at No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes — 7:00 p.m. ET
- No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers at No. 14 Michigan Wolverines – 8:00 p.m. ET
There are 39 days until the end of the Big Ten regular season. Week 11 and the spillover in week 12 show how the schedule was put together with purpose. The top teams start playing.
While this week won’t decide who wins the conference, the two-ranked opponents of Indiana and the trip from Iowa to Columbus on Monday will begin to separate teams or bring the pack even closer together.