The Ohio State women’s basketball team started the season with a marquee victory and another expected win in their first two games, but what about the rest of the Big Ten? On top of full basketball coverage, Land-Grant Holy Land will keep you updated on what’s happening around the conference in a weekly recap. Included are key results, storylines and what’s next.
Before the season began, the Big Ten featured more schools than any other conference in the AP Top-25 with six. From that poll, results were predictable, with many teams playing smaller schools from their region, the Minnesota Golden Gophers avoiding upset and a few marquee games standing out.
Iowa survives Drake
Sunday afternoon, the No. 4 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes, led by guard Caitlin Clark, took a short in-state trip to face Drake University. Inside the heart of Des Moines, the Bulldogs of Drake entered this season coming off a 20-14 (9-9) season, placing them sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Drake led the game 55-51 going into halftime, and even after a tough third quarter where Iowa outscored them 14-21, Drake kept with it and forced Iowa to give everything. Thanks to center and eventual Big Ten Player of the Week Monika Czinano’s 36 points and 11 rebounds, the Hawkeyes surged ahead in overtime for the 92-86 victory.
Like in the Hawkeyes home loss to Creighton in last year’s NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs were physical with Clark, who shot 32.1% Sunday. Clark scored 28 points on 28 shots, going 4-for-14 from three.
If not for Czinano’s night, the Hawkeyes would have a tough early season defeat next to their name.
Falling to ranked sides
Big Ten teams played three ranked opponents overall, with the Buckeyes big win against the then-No. 5 ranked Tennessee Volunteers the only successful for the conference. The Northwestern Wildcats, who are likely to struggle without now WNBA guard Veronica Burton, fell to the Oregon Ducks, 57-100. The other first week non-conference game circled was the No. 17 Maryland Terrapins vs. the defending NCAA Champions, the No. 1 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks.
It’s hard to judge a team so early in the season when they’re going up against the consensus No. 1 team in the country. It’s a tough first challenge. With that said, the gaps created from transfer guard Ashley Owusu and forward Angel Reese leaving for the ACC and SEC respectively was clear. To make matters worse, Diamond Miller didn’t play due to a knee injury, the same knee that required season-ending surgery last season. Fortunately, the guard returned in their Sunday victory over Fordham University, scoring 22 points.
South Carolina’s size and ability was on another level than Maryland. Playing in Maryland, the Gamecocks won handedly, 81-56. Carolina coach Dawn Staley had nine players reach at least 10 minutes on the court, and no one individually had to take the game over. On the other side of the scorers table, Maryland only dressed nine players overall.
Staley’s team shows why they’re a squad that’s not easily beaten.
FOLLOW THROUGH— South Carolina Women's Basketball (@GamecockWBB) November 12, 2022
ESPN2, https://t.co/To3YUDCgPT pic.twitter.com/nOeDJUHx98
Also, a moment of the game got heated between the sides. Maryland guard Bre McDaniel and South Carolina guard Kierra Fletcher met at half court, as Fletcher pushed possession into the offensive half of the court. McDaniel didn’t give Fletcher space, and after being whistled for the defensive foul, Fletcher approached McDaniel. See the whole scuffle below.
Is Eight enough?
A surprise a few days before the season began came out of Rutgers University.
- : ’— Rutgers W.Basketball (@RutgersWBB) November 4, 2022
: https://t.co/0VqhwMlSJh#GoRU | #RUWBB pic.twitter.com/1Twj0HhPWV
The Scarlet Knights are going with an eight-player roster this season. Almost immediately, the lack of depth was clear. In their first three games, they narrowly beat Hofstra University 73-68 — Hofstra featuring some suspect play calling near the end of the game when they were within a possession — and a loss four days later to Seton Hall University.
To Rutger’s credit, Seton Hall did make the WNIT Championship game last season, so they aren’t a program to sleep on, but it’s hard to see how a team with only eight players will compete in the Big Ten. It could help recruiting future classes though, with plenty of spots on the team open.
All six teams remained in the poll this week, with shifting amongst the schools. Here’s where the Big Ten teams stand and how they shifted from the preseason AP Poll.
4 - Iowa Hawkeyes (NC)
8 - Ohio State (+6)
12 - Indiana Hoosiers (-1)
19 - Maryland Terrapins (-2)
22 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (NC)
23 - Michigan Wolverines (+2)
Games to Watch (non-OSU)
Tuesday, Nov. 15
No. 22 Nebraska at No. 20 Creighton - 7:00 p.m. ET
Saturday, Nov. 19
No. 11 Tennessee at Rutgers - 12:00 p.m. ET
No. 22 Nebraska at Drake - 3:00 p.m. ET
Sunday, Nov. 20
Belmont at No. 4 Iowa - 3:00 p.m. ET
No. 19 Maryland at No. 17 Baylor - 3:00 p.m. ET
Next week, LGHL will look at Monday’s game between the Hoosiers and Volunteers, as well as much more. As the season continues, check back in for standings, recruiting news and everything else from around the Big Ten.