January 7, 2024
Big Ten roundup: Clark’s buzzer beater, Indiana’s red-hot start and more
A number of notable offensive efforts around the conference
Big Ten play kicked into full swing this week, and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark rang in the new year with another jaw-dropping shot. Indiana also thoroughly demolished Michigan and Nebraska, while Ohio State saw six players score in double figures against Northwestern.
Here’s your week nine roundup of Big Ten action:
What everybody’s talking about: Clark’s game-winner…and some controversy
Few teams around the country have surprised more than Michigan State (11-3; 1-2 Big Ten) this season under new head coach Robyn Fralick. While the Spartans went toe-to-toe with the Hawkeyes (15-1; 4-0 Big Ten) on Tuesday night, nothing could stop Clark from draining a logo 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give Iowa the dramatic 76-73 win.
Clark finished the game with 40 points, her second time hitting that mark this season.
But the circumstances that led to Iowa having that specific chance to win the game rightfully came under scrutiny.
With 29.2 seconds left and the score tied at 71, Iowa guard Molly Davis dribbled the ball in front of the Hawkeye bench. Michigan State guard DeeDee Hagemann jumped in the air as Davis faked a shot and then the two collided after Davis had very clearly pulled the ball down and prepared to dribble inside the 3-point line. Just the Spartans’ fourth foul of the quarter, Iowa should’ve simply inbounded the ball again, but Davis was instead awarded three free throws.
She made two of the three to put Iowa in front. Hagemann then raced the ball up the floor for Michigan State and scored on a layup to tie the game at 73 with 23.1, allowing Iowa to hold for the final shot.
There’s no guarantee that the correct call on the Hagemann foul would’ve altered the outcome, but a mistake of that magnitude playing such a large role in changing the trajectory of a well-played basketball game produced justifiable frustration, even if Clark’s game-winning shot served as the latest example of her other-worldly talents.
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This caught my attention: Indiana’s offense starts 15-for-15 from the field
Indiana head coach Teri Moren couldn’t have scripted a better start for the Hoosiers (13-1; 4-0 Big Ten) against Michigan on Thursday. Facing a Wolverines (11-4; 2-1 Big Ten) team less than a week removed from its win over No. 17 Ohio State, Indiana didn’t miss a field goal attempt the entire first quarter. It wasn’t until guard Sara Scalia missed a 3-point attempt 2:02 into the second quarter that the Hoosiers’ insane hot streak to start the game came to an end.
By that point though, Indiana had built a 40-19 lead, on its way to an 80-59 win.
Graduate forward Mackenzie Holmes led the Hoosiers with 20 points and seven rebounds, while Scalia added 16 points and six assists and senior Sydney Parrish had 14, all of them coming in the first quarter.
On Sunday, Indiana followed that up with a dominant 91-69 win on the road over Nebraska (11-4; 3-1 Big Ten), and Parrish continued her exceptional play in first quarters, scoring 12 points on 4-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc over the first 10 minutes. She finished the afternoon with 20 points, while Holmes had 22, Scalia had 19 and senior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil had 16.
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Other notable headlines
Six Buckeyes hit double figures against Northwestern
After uncharacteristic offensive efforts from several key players against Michigan on Dec. 30, including from guard Jacy Sheldon and forward Cotie McMahon, Ohio State (11-3; 2-1 Big Ten) bounced back emphatically with a 90-60 win on the road against a Northwestern (6-9; 1-3 Big Ten) team that’s seemingly provided the cure for any team with offensive struggles this season.
Sheldon (18 points), McMahon (10 points), graduate guard Celeste Taylor (15 points), graduate forward Eboni Walker (11 points), junior guard Taylor Thierry (10 points) and freshman guard Diana Collins (10 points) all hit the double-digit threshold in scoring, presenting a balanced offensive attack.
It was also the second time in three conference games this season that the Buckeyes have scored 90 or more points (the other, against Penn State, came in overtime).
Serah Williams’ return helps Wisconsin beat Illinois
In her second game back after missing two games with an illness, the sophomore forward led the way for the Badgers with 27 points and 15 rebounds in the team’s 67-61 upset over Illinois in Champaign. Williams nearly had a double-double in her first game back as well, with 16 points and nine rebounds in Wisconsin’s loss to Nebraska on Thursday night.
Now 8-6 on the season and 1-3 in Big Ten play, it hasn’t been the perfect start for head coach Marisa Moseley after a promising end to the 2022-23 campaign, but Williams’ return surely improves Wisconsin’s chances of success, and Sunday’s win could spur more confidence in the locker room. Still, with so many young players (five of the seven players to play against the Illini were freshmen or sophomores), the growing pains will likely continue as conference play progresses.
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Maryland-Purdue called off because of leaky roof
With a nor’easter making its way up the East Coast this weekend, intense rain in the Maryland area caused a leak in the roof at the Xfinity Center in College Park. After a 45-minute delay, the program announced the game would be postponed and made up at a later date.
The matchup would’ve shed some light on where Purdue (9-5; 2-1 Big Ten) stands in the conference. After making the NCAA Tournament last year, it’s been an uneven start for the Boilermakers, who survived a last-second shot attempt from Rutgers in a 77-76 win in West Lafayette on Tuesday.
Maryland (10-4; 2-1), meanwhile, hasn’t yet put everything together but still boasts a good deal of talent on its roster led by junior guard Shyanne Sellers.
Both teams face stiff challenges this week, with the Terps playing at Michigan State on Tuesday and the Boilermakers hosting Iowa on Wednesday.
Notable games coming up this week:
- Tuesday: Maryland plays Michigan State at 6 p.m. ET
- Tuesday: Minnesota plays Michigan at 8 p.m. ET
- Wednesday: Penn State plays Indiana at 7 p.m. ET
- Thursday: Illinois plays Nebraska at 8 p.m. ET
- Saturday: Indiana plays Iowa at 8 p.m. ET
- Sunday: Michigan State plays Ohio State at TBA
- Sunday: Nebraska plays Minnesota at 3 p.m.
- Wednesday: Maryland plays Minnesota at 8 p.m. ET
- Thursday: Michigan plays Indiana at 7 p.m. ET
- Saturday: Purdue plays Maryland at 4:30 p.m. ET
- Sunday: Indiana plays Nebraska at 2 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.