Enough already with nonconference games.
Big Ten Conference basketball season began Thursday on the women's side with all 14 teams playing. Four home teams won, three lost. Here are the highlights:
The Gophers fell at Rutgers 66-55. Carlie Wagner had 22 points and Rachel Banham 17 but nobody else had more than four for Minnesota. Still the score was tied at 49 before the Scarlet Knights went on a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter.
Of course, those two took 45 shots combined, the other nine players for Minnesota took 21. Maybe not quite the balance you need.
Somebody in the Big Ten has to beat Brenda Frese's Terps someday, right? But not quite yet. No. 6 Maryland won 79-63 at Illinois to improve to 12-1. It was the 31st consecutive win for the Terps against a Big Ten team, going back to 2007. (Maryland has been in conference only since last season, when it went 18-0. Before that the Terps were in the ACC).
Sophomore Kristen Confrey had 17 points while 6-3 junior Brionna Jones had 16 points and 19 rebounds.
Maryland outrebounded the Illini 55-26 and had a 21-4 dominance in points in the paint.
BIGGEST UPSET -- NITTANY LIONS
Penn State (6-6) beat visiting and No. 14-ranked Northwestern 70-73 behind Teniya Page's 27 points and Brianna Banks' 25. PSU outscored the Wildcats 27-18 in the fourth quarter and had five players in double figures. Former Hopkins star Nia Coffey, a junior forward, led Northwestern (11-2) with 20 points and 12 rebounds -- her eighth double-double of the year, while Ashley Deary had 12 points and 10 assists.
The Gophers host Penn State on Sunday.
BEST FINISH -- PURDUE
Junior Ashley Morrissette made a three-pointer with seven seconds left to give Purdue a 65-63 win at Michigan. But wait? Wolverines freshman Boogie Brozoski gets fouled on a three with 0.3 seconds left -- with the score 65-62 Boilermakers -- and has a chance to tie the score but makes only one of three free throws.
She was 1 of 5 at the foul line, the Wolverines 12 of 21 as a team. Morrissette lead Purdue with 15 points; sophomore Katelynn Flaherty scores 19 for Michigan.
No. 9 Ohio State edges No. 24 Michigan State 85-80 in Columbus. Both teams are now 9-3. Kelsey Mitchell has 25 points to lead the Buckeyes. She is 13 of 13 on free throws but 0 for 10 on three-point shots. Teammate Ameryst Alston scores 23 points. Aerial Powers leads the Spartans with 23 points. ... Four Spartans foul out, leaving Suzy Merchant unhappy about the officiating.
* Wisconsin beats Indiana 73-69 at the Kohl Center as 5-10 senior guard Nicole Bauman scores 24 points, 12 in the fourth quarter, and 5-8 sophomore guard Dakota Whyte scores 17. Badgers commit only nine turnovers to Hoosiers' 16.
* Iowa beats Nebraska 74-68 in Lincoln to improve to 11-2. Huskers fall to 9-3 before big crowd of 7,329. Hawkeyes dominate 51-28 on the boards and 18-2 in bench points. Ally Disterhoft leads Iowa with 17 points, eight rebounds. Freshman phenom Jessica Shepard scores 28 points for the Huskers.