Penn State doesn't impress
Sure, there might not be the top tier of teams in the Big Ten as there has been in the past, but after watching Penn State and Purdue in the quarterfinals, I’m just not convinced the Lady Lions are the second best team in the conference.
They took down the Boilermakers, 73-61, in what was a close match for the first 30 minutes, however a sequence of three consecutive 3-pointers jolted the Lady Lions to an 11-point lead they never relinquished.
Maybe it’s because they played the Spartans better than any team — besides Baylor — has this season, or maybe it’s the reputation that follows them, or maybe it’s the fact they are carried by a First Team All-American, but I still believe Ohio State is the most threatening team in this bracket.
Their record against the other Big Ten team was surprisingly poor. I don’t avidly watch Ohio State women’s basketball, but I know they lost senior forward Sarah Schulze and now they start a freshman in her place.
Regardless, they are an experienced group who has shined in the Big Ten Tournament as well as the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans would probably feel a lot better if they were on the opposite side of the bracket.
That’s not taking anything away from the Lady Lions. Head coach Coquese Washington has turned things around and is returning the Penn State squad to dominance. The Lady Lions will take on the winner of Michigan vs. Illinois for a trip to the finals.
However, if met by MSU, Ohio State or Iowa, I don’t believe they have the veteran group to be named Big Ten Tournament champs.
But with only losing one starter, who will quickly be replaced by reigning Big Ten Freshman and Sixth Player of the Year, Maggie Lucas, the Lady Lions have put themselves in prime position for the next two years.