The Ohio State Buckeyes women’s basketball team is the only remaining undefeated team in the Big Ten and Sunday overcame a big 17-point deficit to beat a surging Illinois Fighting Illini side. That wasn’t the only thing happening in the conference over week nine though.
Here’s what you might have missed across one of the top conferences in NCAA women’s basketball.
Grace Berger Returns
Over the past eight games for the Indiana Hoosiers, they were without a key piece of what makes the team so dangerous — guard Grace Berger. After sustaining a knee injury, a minute into the Indiana Hoosiers’ game against the Auburn Tigers on Nov. 25, Indiana’s made do.
Indiana went 7-1 in that stretch, falling in a conference upset to the Michigan State Spartans but also beating a ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in the ACC/B1G Challenge. Leading the way was forward Makenzie Holmes. The usual star center played even better, averaging 22.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game during the stretch.
Sunday, in a trip to face the Northwestern Wildcats, Berger returned and got off to a great return back. Berger scored a season high 16 points, adding five assists and two steals in the process. The knee looks ok.
Up & in ‼️@grace_berger34 completes the three-point play. #IUWBB pic.twitter.com/pW34whTDAG— Indiana Women’s Basketball (@IndianaWBB) January 8, 2023
When Indiana is healthy, they’re a contender across the nation. When Ohio State travels to Indiana on Jan. 26, having Berger back makes a tough game more difficult.
Hawkeyes take it to Wolverines
On Saturday, the then No. 16 Iowa Hawkeyes and No. 14 Michigan Wolverines played the first college basketball game aired on network Fox. Early on, Wolverines guard Laila Phelia was up to the task.
In the first quarter, Phelia scored 14 points, lifting the Wolverines to a 20-18 first quarter lead, but it wouldn’t last. Iowa hit the pedal in the second quarter and didn’t relent through the final buzzer.
Leading the way for Iowa was of course guard Caitlin Clark. The Naismith Player of the Year finalist from last season improved her career high efficiency, scoring 28 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the field. Clark’s 47.2% is the highest of her NCAA career, making a dangerous player even more so.
Clarks also did it on a big stage, with Fox ratings making it the fourth most watched regular season game in the 22/23 NCAA season.
Invest in women https://t.co/71zJ159E0D— Iowa Women's Basketball (@IowaWBB) January 11, 2023
The Hawkeyes outscored the Wolverines the rest of the way, and withstood a late surge by the Wolverines, beating them 94-85.
Making matters more interesting for the Scarlet & Gray in Jan. is a game against Iowa three days before the Buckeyes’ trip to Bloomington, Indiana. It’s the toughest stretch of the season for Ohio State, until the postseason.
Elsewhere Around the B1G
Some other interesting items to note across the conference:
- The Wisconsin Badgers and Rutgers Scarlet Knights stunned the conference, with Wisconsin beating rival their rivals, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and Rutgers defeating the Nebraska Cornhuskers (holding Cornhusker guard Jaz Shelley to zero points)
- Penn State Nittany Lions continued an up-and-down season, beating the Purdue Boilermakers in their best Big Ten showing of the season
- Diamond Miller and the Maryland Terrapins held off an upset-minded Michigan State Spartans 94-85
B1G WBB Standings
|Position||Team||B1G Record||Overall||Games Back|
|Position||Team||B1G Record||Overall||Games Back|
Standings through Tuesday, Jan. 10
The AP Poll received another Big Ten team after week nine. Illinois joined the top-25 after their 17-point lead was decimated by the Buckeyes Sunday. It’s the Fighting Illini’s first time in the poll since Nov. 28, 2000.
3 - Ohio State (NC)
6 - Indiana (NC)
9 - Maryland (+4)
12 - Iowa (+4)
17 - Michigan (-3)
24 - Illinois (—)
With six teams in the top-25, the Big Ten leads the nation in ranked teams.
Here’s what the rest of the conference schedule looks like in week 10
Tuesday, Jan. 10
- No. 17 Michigan Wolverines at Purdue Boilermakers (80-59 Michigan win)
Wednesday, Jan. 11
- Wisconsin Badgers at Michigan State Spartans - 7:00 p.m. ET
- Northwestern Wildcats at No. 12 Iowa Hawkeyes - 7:30 p.m. ET
- Penn State Nittany Lions at Nebraska Cornhuskers - 8:00 p.m. ET
Thursday, Jan 12
- No. 9 Maryland Terrapins at No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers - 6:30 p.m. ET
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Minnesota Golden Gophers - 8:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, Jan. 14
- Penn State Nittany Lions at No. 12 Iowa Hawkeyes - 12:30 p.m. ET
- Michigan State Spartans at No. 17 Michigan Wolverines - 2:00 p.m. ET
- No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes at Nebraska Cornhuskers - 2:30 p.m. ET
- Purdue Boilermakers at Northwestern Wildcats - 3:00 p.m. ET
Sunday, Jan. 15
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights at No. 9 Maryland Terrapins - 1:00 p.m. ET
- Wisconsin Badgers at No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers - 2:00 p.m. ET
- No. 24 Illinois Fighting Illini at Minnesota Golden Gophers - 3:00 p.m. ET
Indiana and Maryland Incoming
Thursday’s game between the Terrapins and Hoosiers has all the makings for one of the best matchups of the season. Each side’s taken down ranked opponents this year and have done it featuring stars that have made the Big Ten the top conference in the country.
It’s a schedule-clearing game that can’t be missed.