Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Penn State, Minnesota top Big Ten women preview

Penn State Nittany Lions

Led by junior guard Kelly Mazzante, the Nittany Lions are currently ranked 13th in the country. Mazzante, the nation’s second leading scorer with a 25.3 points per game average, has already posted four 30 point games this season and ranks second on the Nittany Lion’s career 3-point field goals list with 180. Alongside Mazzante is sophomore guard Jess Strom, who is currently leading the Big Ten with 7.17 assists per game. With strong guard play and a deep bench to compliment Mazzante, the Nittany Lions are the odds-on favorite to win the Big Ten this year. The winner of their Feb. 23 matchup with Minnesota could very well determine whether this is the “Year of the Lady Lion.”

Minnesota Golden Gophers


In front of the largest crowd in school history (13, 117), the Gophers were able to knock off defending Big Ten champion Purdue, elevating themselves to the upper tier of the Big Ten. Led by junior All-American Lindsay Whalen, Minnesota is currently the 11th ranked team in the country and has only one defeat on the season, coming at the hands of Kelly Mazzante and the Penn State Nittany Lions. With a balanced scoring attack, spearheaded by Whalen and senior guard Corrin Von Wald, the Gophers will be a tough matchup for opponents throughout the season and could give Penn State a run for the Big Ten title.

Purdue Boilermakers

The defending Big Ten champs are back in contention for conference supremacy. Already notching a victory over Penn State and knocking off a host of ranked teams, the Boilermakers have not only earned respect in the Big Ten, but on a national level as well. Led by All-America candidate Shereka Wright (19.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg), Purdue could become back-to-back-to-back conference champs at season’s end; it would be the Boilermakers first three-peat in school history. They will get an opportunity to sweep the season series with conference favorite Penn State on Feb. 13, solidifying their authority in the Big Ten.

Illinois Fighting Illini

One week after the Illini topped Wisconsin 73-56 in Champaign, the Badgers returned the favor with a 69-59 victory in Madison Jan. 19. The loss dropped Illinois to fifth place in the conference and could affect the team’s psyche heading into a tough stretch of the season. Before the month of January ends, the Illini will travel to Ohio State to battle the 12-3 Buckeyes and will have their undefeated home record tested by the likes of Penn State and Minnesota. Head Coach Theresa Grentz has shifted the starting lineup throughout the season, and the team doesn’t have a clear-cut go-to player on offense. Their leading scorers, Angelina Williams and Tiffanie Guthrie, aren’t even starters. Illinois should finish around .500 in the conference and could give Big Ten favorites a scare before season’s end.

Michigan Wolverines

Despite picking up their first conference victory against Indiana, the Wolverines still have a lot of areas to address before they can be considered a serious threat in the Big Ten. Through fifteen games, Head Coach Sue Guevara has already used six different starting lineups and nobody, including preseason All-Big Ten first-team selection LeeAnn Bies, has proven herself as a consistent scoring threat.

Although Michigan returned their entire starting five from last season, this year’s squad has shown very little composure or poise. The Wolverines have been outscored by an average of 20.4 points in each of their five defeats. Once this team gets down, they’ve shown an inability to chip away and get back into games. This lack of perseverance, coupled with their inconsistency on offense, will likely prevent Michigan from obtaining a winning conference record this season.

Northwestern Wildcats

Although their equally dismal record would suggest otherwise, Northwestern is not the same caliber team as Wisconsin. While UW has won a mere three games on the season and just one in conference play, they have been in a number of games down to the final buzzer. The Wildcats, on the other hand, have simply been handed their proverbial hat in their ten losses on the season and their non-conference victories have come compliments of teams like Richmond and Southern Illinois. Northwestern is currently on a five game losing streak and with a tough Big Ten schedule on the horizon, the end of the season won’t come soon enough for the struggling Wildcats.

Iowa Hawkeyes

Winning eight of nine non-conference games leading up to Big Ten play, the Hawkeyes are led by all-around sensation Jennie Lillis. Averaging 15.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game, Lillis is the team leader in each category. Alongside Lillis on defense is Johanna Solverson, who has been wreaking havoc on opponent’s offensive game plans all season. After a blowout win against lowly Wisconsin, Iowa has evened their conference mark at 2-2. With an 8-0 record at home, including a 2-0 mark in conference play, Iowa has the potential to finish near the middle of the Big Ten this season.

Indiana Hoosiers

The Hoosiers have used their home court advantage to its fullest potential this season starting the year a perfect 6-0 in Assembly Hall. Currently riding a two game losing streak after back-to-back losses in the state of Michigan, Indiana (2-3 in conference play) will need to rebound quickly if they hope to save their season. Led by Jenny DeMuth’s 13.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, the Hoosiers will look to Lyndi Valentin to help out a little more on offense. The Hoosiers have an average team this season, but if they can start getting students in the seats they may become unstoppable at home.

Michigan State Spartans

The Spartans appear destined for mediocrity this season as they are currently 2-3 in conference play and 9-7 overall. Residing in the middle of the conference standings, Michigan State also sits in the middle of nearly every statistical. Led by a trio of scorers who are averaging over ten points per game, the Spartan offense has retooled slightly after a three game losing streak earlier in the season. Syreeta Bromfield’s 15.1 points, 2.4 steals, and 6.9 rebounds per game complement the identical playing style of Kelli Roehrig who is averaging 11.6 points, 1.2 blocks, and 5.1 rebounds per game. The Spartans will be able to consider this season a success if they can finish in the top half of the conference.

Ohio State Buckeyes

With a perfect 8-0 record at home and a 4-1 mark in Big Ten Play, Ohio State has what it takes to contend for the Big Ten title this season. Led by the current Player of the Week Caity Matter, the Buckeyes have a sound offensive scorer to go along with their great defensive play. Matter is averaging 15.8 points per game, shooting .468 percent from the floor and .958 from the free-throw line. The frontcourt-backcourt play of Matter and center Courtney Coleman give the Buckeyes a formidable offense that will be tough for any Big Ten team to stop.

Wisconsin Badgers

With early season injuries to two of three captains the Badgers were left to insert some of their young bench players into bigger roles. At 3-13 overall and 1-5 in conference play, the Badgers are undoubtedly at the bottom of the Big Ten. Led in scoring by junior Ashley Ashbaugh with 10.2 points per game, the Badgers have missed the offensive firepower expected from sophomore Stephanie Rich. Poor decision-making has hurt this young team the most, as they are average 23 turnovers per game. Badger fans can start looking towards next season, though, as transfer standout Lello Gebisa and three other Wisconsin starters will return next season.

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