It's time for a new episode of As the Big Ten Turns:
in our last installment,
Penn State was... well, remember when PSU beat Duke?
It seems so long ago: Coquese Washington's team are now under .500
in conference play after the Buckeyes bulldozed
the Lions in Columbus. OSU frosh center Lavender ruled
the paint with 22 and 9.
OSU needed the win after last week's surprising
loss in Minnesota, when Gopher post Leslie Knight found her groove.
The Gophs went on to even more shocking
success on Sunday at home against Michigan State, holding
the Spartans to 33% shooting and preserving a double-digit lead; nearly 10K maroon-and-gold fans watched the win in the Barn,
the first time the Gophs have swept State since 1994.
"It's harder to win the Big Ten than it is getting into the NCAA tournament," coach Borton said afterwards, which-- in a conference that usually sends at least three teams to the Big Dance (though perhaps fewer this year)-- is certainly true.
The pair of wins for the U. made Gopher guard Emmy Fox-- one of very few Big Ten upperclassmen with WNBA potential-- a first time Big
Ten player of the week.
Gopher fans' expectations
-- and, often, their opinions of coach Borton-- have been declining since 2004: should those expectations rise again?
That game left State also under .500
in conference--and, for the first time in donkey's years, left them below the over-.500 Michigan, who have really
climbed out of the basement this season. The 12-7 Wolverines have beaten
an SEC team, an ACC team, and a Pac-10 team that later defeated
Stanford, and they haven't lost a home game yet.
Most of these games we could have seen (but did not see-- we don't spend all
our time watching hoops) on the new Big Ten network,
which looks better all the time. Not only does it show games in HDTV; it also produces features on WCBB players who don't make national headlines. For example, this feature
on OSU three-point threat Marscilla Packer.