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An upset, a nailbiter as Big Ten season in women's basketball opens

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:

ROUGH OPENER

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.

MARYLAND DOMINATES

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.

MARQUE GAME

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.

OTHER GAMES

* 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.


 

NCAA volleyball: It's Big Ten vs. Big 12 in Final Four

That was a late Saturday night shocker from the West Coast. Kansas, the No. 9 overall seed, vanquished top-seeded Southern Cal in five sets in the Elite Eight, winning 25-18, 25-21, 22-25, 19-25, 15-13.

The ending especially was crazy for the Jayhawks, who were down 13-9 in the fifth set but got the last six points to advance.

So here are your Final Four pairings:

The Gophers, 30-4, the Big Ten champs, and No. 2 overall seed, vs. Texas, 29-2, the Big 12 champs, and No. 3 seed in Thursday's first match. ... This is the favorite, Minnesota, vs. the team that's always there in Final Four in recent years.

Then Nebraska, 30-2, the Big Ten runner-ups, and No. 4 seed, vs. Kansas, 30-2, the Big 12 runners-up, and No. 9 seed. ... This is the home state favorite vs. the tournament Cinderalla.

KANSAS' UPSET

Kelsie Payne had 18 kills to lead the Jayhawks over USC, although she hit only .159. Three teammates had 10 kills apiece: Janae Hall, Madison Rigdon and Taylor Soucie. Kansas was in its first regional final and now is in its first Final Four.

Ainise Havili, Kansas' setter, was named the regional's outstanding player. She had 48 assists and 22 digs.

USC finishes 33-3. Samantha Bricio, named the nation's best player by ESPNW, led USC with 25 kills and had 12 digs but she did not get off to a good start and hit only .184. She had 11 attack errors in  76 attempts.

LONGHORNS SURVIVE

Texas got to play at home, in Austin, in its regional. Still Florida gave the Longhorns trouble -- their match went five sets. Texas won 22-25, 25-22, 25-19, 20-25, 17-15.

Fourteen Big 12 teams have gone to Final Four. Only once before were two there, that was Nebraska and Texas in 2008.

Texas has won one national title, in 2012. Nebraska two as a Big 12 team, in 2000 and 2006. The Huskers second title came in Omaha, in the CenturyLink Arena where this year's event will be held, too.

The Big 12 is 9-3 in this NCAA tournament. The Big 10, which had nine teams in the field, is 19-7.

Texas has reached the NCAA semifinals seven times in the past eight years. The seniors on the team did it all four years. But only one Texas team has won a title, the 2012 team when the present seniors were freshmen.

Against the Gators, junior outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame had 18 kills, junior middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogo had 15 kills and hit .462 and Molly McCage and Amy Neal each had 13 kills and McCage hit .591.

As a team, Texas hit .279, Flordia .230.

NEBRASKA STAR

Kadie Rolfzen had 20 kills, 15 digs and hit .472 in the Huskers' win over Washington. She was named the Lexington, Ky., regional's most outstanding player. It was the ninth postseason match in a row she has had a double-double.

Nebraska's winning set scores were 25-17, 21-25, 25-20, 25-21.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Gophers women's basketball at Northwestern

    2 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • New Orleans at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Dallas at Wild

    7 pm on NBCSN, 100.3-FM

  • Toronto at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Michigan at Gophers men's basketball

    8 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Nebraska at Gophers women's basketball

    7 pm on 1500-AM

  • Washington at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers men's hockey at Ohio State

    5:30 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Minnesota Duluth

    7:07 pm

  • Boston at Wild

    1 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Minnesota Duluth

    4:07 pm

  • Gophers men's hockey at Ohio State

    6 pm on 1500-AM

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