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Big Ten Tournament Updates: Iowa beats Maryland for its first title since 2001

The Hawkeyes took down the Terrapins 90-76 behind Megan Gustafson’s season-high 45 points.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament- Maryland vs Iowa
Megan Gustafson led the Iowa Hawkeyes to the Big Ten tournament title with 45 points in the championship game.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The “Bracket” section of this story has been updated.


After a season punctuated by notable upsets, the Big Ten Tournament’s opening rounds are anything but a competition to see who will lose to the higher-seeded teams.

Just two games separate the fifth-seeded defending-champion Ohio State and eleventh-seeded Purdue, but a handful of teams in this group have wins over the tournament’s top four seeds. If anything, the first two rounds are a battle to see which teams could have the privilege of handing down a late-round upset.

That said, the entrance of Maryland and Iowa in the tournament quarterfinals is cause for excitement. With the Terrapins having played in last season’s title game and looking strong enough to make another — and Iowa center Megan Gustafson now the two-time Big Ten Player of the Year — the later rounds feature plenty of star power.

The Buckeyes — who interrupted Maryland’s three-year reign with last season’s championship — seem unlikely to repeat this season. In spite of a solid effort in conference play, they’re still recovering from the loss of star guard Kelsey Mitchell to the WNBA. Ohio State also spent the season adjusting to the addition of five graduate transfers.

But with second-seeded Iowa not having won a Big Ten Tournament since 2001 (also as the two-seed), all eyes will be on the Hawkeyes with efforts to follow up on an all but assured place in the NCAA Tournament and a notable showing in Indianapolis. With a win this season over tournament favorite Maryland — albeit at home, where they finished the season undefeated — Iowa perhaps has the most to prove of any team here.


Schedule

When: Wednesday, March 6 — Sunday, March 10

Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

How to view: BTN, ESPN2 (final)


Bracket

ROUND 1

Wisconsin made history in the tournament’s very first game as they knocked off Penn State, 65-57, for their first-ever tournament win over the Nittany Lions. The Badgers never trailed after falling behind 3-2 in the opening minute, leading by as many as 12 points. In the day’s second game, Purdue beat Illinois 72-60 thanks in part to a third-quarter surge. The Boilermakers dominated on the glass, 43-25, and were paced by four double-digit scorers.

No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions vs. No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers

Wednesday, March 6, 1:30 p.m. ET, BTN

No. 11 Purdue Boilermakers vs. No. 14 Illinois Fighting Illini

Wednesday, March 6, 4 p.m. ET, BTN

ROUND 2

Michigan State used the strength of four double-digit scorers and 44 percent three-point shooting to dominate Northwestern from start to finish, 68-52. The day’s second game saw the Badgers keep rolling, as Wisconsin completed the 73-63 upset of defending-champion Ohio State.

In the first evening game, defending WNIT champion Indiana avenged its loss to the Golden Gophers from a month ago, beating Minnesota 66-58. The Hoosiers were greatly helped by a hot start, shooting 59 percent in the first half to Minnesota’s 30 percent. Finally, Purdue prevailed in the day’s last game, beating Nebraska 75-71. Although the Cornhuskers mounted a furious fourth-quarter comeback, the Boilermakers’ lead going in was too much to overcome.

No. 8 Northwestern Wildcats vs. No. 9 Michigan State Spartans

Thursday, March 7, 12 p.m. ET, BTN

No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers

Thursday, March 7, 25 minutes after previous game, BTN

No. 7 Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. No. 10 Indiana Hoosiers

Thursday, March 7, 6:30 p.m. ET, BTN

No. 6 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. No. 11 Purdue Boilermakers

Thursday, March 7, 25 minutes after previous game, BTN

QUARTERFINALS

In its first game of the tournament, Maryland held Michigan State to just 18-of-62 shooting from the floor to win, 71-55. The Spartans hung in there in the first half, down just four points at the break, but especially cold shooting late was their demise. The day’s second game saw Wisconsin’s improbable upset run come to an end against Michigan, 73-65. However, the Wolverines needed double overtime to shake the Badgers, who hung in there to force 14 lead changes and 12 ties.

The first evening game featured Iowa avenging its February loss to Indiana, 70-61, to move on to the semifinals. Megan Gustafson scored 30 points and grabbed 17 rebounds as the Hawkeyes held the Hoosiers to just 37 percent shooting. In the last quarterfinal game, Rutgers held off a fatigued Purdue team to grab the 64-49 win. The Scarlet Knights didn’t necessarily shoot well — just under 40 percent — but their constant substitutions wore down the Boilermakers on both ends of the floor.

No. 1 Maryland Terrapins vs. No. 9 Michigan State Spartans

Friday, March 8, 12 p.m. ET, BTN

No. 4 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers

Friday, March 8, 25 minutes after previous game, BTN

No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. No. 10 Indiana Hoosiers

Friday, March 8, 6:30 p.m. ET, BTN

No. 3 Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. No. 11 Purdue Boilermakers

Friday, March 8, 25 minutes after previous game, BTN

SEMIFINALS

It wasn’t easy, but Maryland escaped Michigan, 73-72, to advance to its fifth Big Ten championship game in five years of Big Ten play. The lead changed four times in the last two and a half minutes, with the Wolverines even leading with 21 seconds to go, but a pair of Kaila Charles free throws iced the game for Maryland. This game also marked the Terrapins’ 1,000th win in program history.

Despite being up 20 points late in the game, Iowa had to fend off a Rutgers surge that brought the score within three points in order to get the 72-67 win. The Hawkeyes’ defense stepped up in the final minutes of the game, not allowing the Scarlet Knights an opportunity to take the lead. Iowa now has the chance to capture its first Big Ten tournament title since 2001.

No. 1 Maryland Terrapins vs. No. 4 Michigan Wolverines

Saturday, March 9, 5 p.m. ET, BTN

No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. No. 3 Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Saturday, March 9, 7:30 p.m. ET, BTN

CHAMPIONSHIP

Despite a slow start, Iowa managed to grab a double-digit lead late in the game that they would never relinquish on their way to beating Maryland, 90-76. The Hawkeyes were led by Megan Gustafson’s season-high 45 points and Tania Davis’ 14 points, many of which came on late free throws. It’s Iowa’s first Big Ten tournament title since 2001 and Maryland’s second consecutive loss in the championship game.

No. 1 Maryland Terrapins vs. No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes

Sunday, March 10, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2