It’s always tough to get to the top, or even close to it. But it’s very easy to slide down.
After moving into both the AP and the USA Today/WBCA Coaches polls, the Knights (17-5, 5-3 B1G) have lost three of four games and fallen out of both. They did receive three votes in the AP.
They have an important game on Saturday at Indiana. It’s important not because they’re playing a top team but rather because they need to re-establish themselves as a functioning team. Against Nebraska, Rutgers shot 29% and allowed the Huskers to hit at an almost 47% clip. Against Penn State they shot 48% while PSU shot 40....and still lost.
In a week, they face Maryland on the road. The Terps are in first place in the conference and are 16-3, 6-1 B1G and ranked 16th in the AP and 13th by USA Today/WBCA. The Knights need to get things squared away now. They also face Maryland ten days later at the RAC.
First, though, is Indiana on Saturday (BTN, 1:00 pm). The Hoosiers are 10-12, 3-6 B1G and on a two game losing streak. They’re led by Tyra Buss (20.3 ppg) and Amanda Cahill (14.5 ppg). Buss has been the leading scorer in 15 of their 22 games, scoring 28 points in three contests. They don’t out-rebound the opposition much, they turn the ball over more than their opponents, and they don’t have a lot of steals. This is a game a solid team needs to win. It is a game that Rutgers needs to win.
Big Ten Weekly Women’s Basketball Awards
Co-Player of the Week: Katelynn Flaherty, Michigan G – Sr. – Point Pleasant, N.J. – Metuchen
- Averaged 24.0 points, 5.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game with a .563 three-point percentage last week, helping No. 19/18 Michigan to a pair of Big Ten victories
- Scored 21 points in the Wolverines’ win at No. 8 Ohio State last Tuesday, including 18 in the second half as Michigan earned its first road victory over a top-10 opponent since 2009
- Added 27 points, eight assists and a career-high four steals in last Saturday’s win over Illinois, becoming the seventh Big Ten student to score 2,500 career points
- Garnered Academic All-Big Ten accolades in 2016 and 2017
Co-Player of the Week: Kenisha Bell, Minnesota G – Jr.
- Averaged 22.5 points, 7.5 assists, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game last week in leading the Golden Gophers to two conference wins
- Registered 21 points, a season-high 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals on Sunday in Minnesota’s win over No. 20 Iowa, recording her team-leading fifth double-double of the season
- Scored 24 points and added eight assists and three steals in last Thursday’s victory over Wisconsin
Big Ten Women’s Basketball Weekly Honor Roll
Hannah Whitish, So., G, NEB: Averaged 13.5 points and 5.0 assists per game with a .556 three-point percentage last week as Nebraska defeated a pair of ranked Big Ten opponents in No. 20 Iowa and No. 25/21 Rutgers
Teniya Page, Jr., G, PSU: Scored a season-high 34 points on 12-of-19 shooting and made 4-of-5 free throws with :01 left in the Lady Lions’ 70-67 win over No. 25/21 Rutgers last Thursday
Dominique Oden, So., G, PUR: Posted a career-high 26 points, including 5-of-5 three-pointers, and grabbed five rebounds last Thursday to help Purdue defeat Northwestern
Freshman of the Week: Jaelynn Penn, Indiana G
- Averaged 15.5 points per game last week and shot .458 from the field, as well as .727 from three-point range, as part of Indiana’s 1-1 week in Big Ten play
- Scored 18 points and made 5-of-8 three-point attempts in the Hoosiers’ four-point loss at No. 14 Maryland last Tuesday
- Added 13 points, including a perfect 3-of-3 from the three-point line, in Indiana’s win at Michigan State last Saturday