There were a quartet of Big Ten women’s basketball games Sunday, highlighted by No. 10 Ohio State knocking off No. 19 and first-place Purdue, 80-71, at Value City Arena. In other action, No. 21 Penn State defeated Northwestern, Illinois nipped Indiana at the buzzer and Iowa took down Michigan State. Catch up on all four of the games on our BTN.com scoreboard and get stats, video and recaps in this post.
The Big Ten Conference announced the season’s first Softball Players of the Week for action Feb. 6-12. See all the winners and what they did to earn the recognition in this post.
Not only was No. 12 Michigan State’s upset victory at No. 3 Ohio State huge for the Spartans (AP recap), but it did wonders to the Big Ten title race. Entering Saturday night’s contest at Value City Arena, where the Buckeyes hadn’t lost during the Jared Sullinger era, Ohio State had a chance to move two games ahead of the Spartans and the other legit Big Ten title contenders (Michigan and Wisconsin). That didn’t happen, of course, and now four teams are within one game of the top spot in the Big Ten.
In last year’s tri-meet against Iowa and Nebraska, the Gophers finished third out of the three competitors. But this season they did not let history repeat itself. It wasn’t Minnesota’s strongest meet. They struggled with the last three events, allowing Nebraska and Iowa to close the scoring gap. But the No. 6 Gophers pulled through and won the meet with a total score of 340.0. The 11th-ranked Cornhuskers finished in second with a 336.5, and No. 12 Iowa came in third at 334.5. Read the full recap at GopherSports.com.
This past week on The Journey, presented by GMC, we looked at the legendary Indiana-Purdue rivalry with the Paint Crew and went behind the scenes of Draymond Green’s return from injury against rival Michigan. Also, we met the Minnesota natives on the Badgers as they went back home to Minneapolis and got to know Lenzelle Smith Jr., Ohio State’s jack of all trades. Right now, watch a clip on Green and Mateen Cleaves and see bonus clips in this post. And don’t forget to follow the Jouney on Twitter @BTNJourney.
Indiana made a living at the foul line in a chippy 13-point win over visiting Illinois. For about 30 minutes, this was a tight, back-and-forth game, with six lead changes and 14 ties. Over the final 10 minutes, however, the Hoosiers took advantage of the foul-riddled Illini to pull away. Indiana not only got to the foul line at an astounding rate; it also shot incredibly well from there, going 35 of 42 (83 percent). Paired with the Hoosiers’ customary accuracy from the field and a low turnover rate, it powered Indiana to a scorching 1.26 points per possession, the highest allowed by the Illinois defense all season.
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The calendar says February, and the sense of urgency builds for teams with NCAA dreams. Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana look like locks. But Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota and Northwestern? Work must be done down the home stretch.