December 11, 2023 

Big Ten roundup: Buckeyes outlast Nittany Lions, Jordan Hobbs’ career day for Michigan and Purdue’s crucial error

Conference play begins with some expected — and several unexpected — outcomes

Big Ten play tipped off this weekend with several intriguing matchups, including No. 25 Penn State taking on No. 12 Ohio State and Michigan facing Illinois. Nebraska’s Jaz Shelley also set a Cornhusker record and Indiana’s Sydney Parrish gave Hoosier fans some exciting news.

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Here’s your week five roundup of Big Ten action:

What everybody’s talking about

The only ranked matchup in the opening weekend of conference play lived up to the billing. Penn State dropped 50 points on Ohio State in the first half and led by 10 at the break. The Nittany Lions then overcame an 80-76 deficit with 43 seconds left to force overtime, only to lose 94-84 to the Buckeyes.

Ohio State received stellar contributions from graduate guard Jacy Sheldon (31 points, five rebounds, three assists), sophomore forward Cotie McMahon (27 points, eight rebounds) and graduate guard Celeste Taylor (13 points, 11 rebounds, four assists). The Buckeyes rallied from down double digits to pick up the win at home and improve to 8-1 on the season.

Penn State’s leading scorer, graduate guard Makenna Marisa (28 points), left the game in overtime and did not return.

Entering the week ranked in the top 25 for the first time in nine years, the Nittany Lions lost both of their games, also dropping a road matchup with West Virginia on Monday.

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This caught my attention…

Michigan lost an odd game to Toledo, 69-46, on Wednesday, but turned around and absolutely destroyed Illinois in Champaign on Sunday afternoon. Junior guard Jordan Hobbs turned in a masterful performance against the Illini with a career-best 22 points (8-11 FG, 4-5 3PT), and the Wolverines shot 43.3% from 3-point range as a team in their 36-point win.

Now 8-2 on the season, it’s still not clear which Michigan team is more likely to show up — the one that laid an egg at Toledo or the one that put on an absolute beat down of what should be an NCAA Tournament team on the road. But, if Hobbs can build off of Sunday and become a reliable scoring option beside junior guard Laila Phelia, with Missouri-transfer Lauren Hansen as another threat like she was on Sunday (14 points, five assists), expect to see more performances like Sunday’s and fewer like Wednesday’s from the Wolverines the rest of the season.

Other notable headlines

Purdue loses crushing game to Minnesota

Purdue’s Jeanae Terry quite simply forgot the situation. Locked in a 58-58 tie with three seconds left, the fifth-year guard fouled Minnesota’s Amaya Battle who dribbled the ball in the corner. Battle subsequently sank both free throws, and the Gophers won, 60-58, to improve to a surprising 9-1.

If Terry had just played defense straight up, the game likely would’ve gone to overtime.

Meanwhile, the Dawn Plitzuweit era in Minneapolis continues to get off to an unimaginably good start. The Gophers have now won six in a row. The loss for Purdue halted a four-game win streak.

Jaz Shelley’s triple-double

Nebraska needs a big season from Jaz Shelley if the Cornhuskers want to get back to the NCAA Tournament, and so far, the fifth-year guard has played pretty well, averaging nearly 14 points, five assists and two steals per game. She’s also nearly halved her turnover average from 3.5 per game last year to 1.9 so far this season.

But few performances from Shelley will top what she did on Tuesday against UNC-Wilmington. In her team’s 108-35 win, she turned in her second career triple-double, scoring 19 points with 11 assists and 10 rebounds, becoming the first Cornhusker to ever have multiple triple-doubles in her career. Her first came on Nov. 20, 2021 against North Carolina Central, with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Shelley followed up that milestone with 11 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in the Huskers’ 80-74 road win over Michigan State to open up Big Ten play on Saturday. 

Indiana’s Parrish to return for fifth season

Following the Hoosiers’ 66-56 victory over Rutgers in Piscataway on Saturday, senior guard Sydney Parrish announced that she’d be returning to Bloomington for a fifth year.

Parrish transferred to Indiana before last season after two years at Oregon, and the Fishers, Indiana native played a major role in the Hoosiers winning the Big Ten regular season title in 2022-23. She averaged a career-best 12 points per game and shot nearly 37% from beyond the arc. Although her scoring has taken a bit of a dip so far this season, Parrish has made more of an impact rebounding (6.6 per game, up from 5.4 last year) and setting up her teammates (2.3 assists per game, up from 1.8 last year).

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Notable games coming up this week

  • Wednesday: Rutgers plays Princeton at 7 p.m. ET
  • Sunday: Purdue plays Notre Dame at 12 p.m. ET
  • Sunday: Illinois plays Missouri at 4 p.m. ET
  • Sunday: Rutgers plays Virginia Tech at 5:30 p.m. ET

Written by Eric Rynston-Lobel

Eric Rynston-Lobel has been a contributor to The Next since August 2022. He covered Northwestern women's basketball extensively in his four years as a student there for WNUR and now works as a sports reporter for the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire.

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