Following Indiana women’s basketball’s loss to UConn in the NCAA Tournament, head coach Teri Moren was asked if she feels her team is given the respect it deserves.
But that’s an issue that goes deeper for Moren than just Indiana. She firmly believes the Big Ten as a whole hasn’t gotten the respect it’s due, and took the question as an opportunity to say as much.
“I think the Big Ten lacks the respect nationally that the league deserves, and I don’t want to talk about individuals because you guys — we talk about the Kate Clarks and the Naz — because there’s so many great players. I could go down every team in the Big, and we could talk about the kids that they have, those players,” Moren said. “Even though we came up short again tonight against UConn, we were prepared for these moments, this moment today because of our conference, the Iowas, the Marylands, the Ohio States, the Michigans. They prepare us for these moments.”
When it comes to the Big Ten, everyone wants to talk about Caitlin Clark. It makes sense, she’s an all-time talent and and score from just about anywhere during any given game, but you’re just scratching the surface of the Big Ten if all you talk about is Caitlin Clark.
Just like Moren said, go up and down the rosters of Big Ten squads and you’ll find some ballers.
For Nebraska? Alexis Markowski is an absolute force. The Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year hauled in 8 rebounds per game and was a massive factor in the Huskers’ win over the Hoosiers in Lincoln last season.
Iowa doesn’t just have Clark. Monika Czinano is an unsung force for the Hawkeyes, dominating the paint while Clark makes 3-pointers from wayyyyy downtown.
Michigan State had Nia Clouden, a first round WNBA Draft pick.
Michigan had an All-Big Ten Forward in Naz Hillmon, the only player in the history of Michigan Basketball (men’s and women’s) with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Maryland had an all-star squad with forces like Ashley Owusu and Angel Reese.
Ohio State had a nightmarish offense that made the team an absolute force throughout both the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.
Northwestern had Veronica Burton, one of the greatest guards the conference (and the country) has ever had to deal with.
The list just keeps going on and on. This conference is absolutely full of incredible talent, but whenever you see highlights it’s usually just Caitlin Clark. Is it good for the game that a player is getting that much attention? Yes, but you’ve gotta go deeper and you’ll see that this isn’t just Clark’s league, there’s too many stars that go unappreciated.
There’s coaches too. Indiana obviously has Moren, Maryland has Brenda Frese, Iowa has Lisa Bluder and Purdue’s Katie Gearlds has the Boilermakers trending in the right direction. All of the above lead successful programs, but they don’t get the attention of coaches like Geno Auriemma and Dawn Staley.
Is it because the latter two win titles? Oh yeah, but college basketball is all about the coaches, and you don’t hear nearly enough about the women’s side.
Moren is right, the Big Ten is a bastion of talent in the women’s game that largely goes unsung as many in the media landscape trumpet programs like UConn and South Carolina.
It’s a great thing that women’s programs are getting that attention, but we need to expand that to the sport as a whole rather than a few stars.