As Fox and Knight shine, McCoy silently does her job

The Minnesota women’s basketball team has been playing some of its best basketball of late, knocking off 15th-ranked Ohio State on Thursday and leading the Big Ten in several offensive categories.

But while senior forward Leslie Knight and junior guard Emily Fox have been leading the team in scoring, ranking second and third in the conference with 17.9 and 17.7 points per game, respectively, sophomore guard Brittany McCoy has been stuck in the shadows.

McCoy’s defensive play, combined with her playmaking abilities, has been a big factor in the Gophers’ success, as Minnesota is currently 13-1 when McCoy scores at least 10 points or dishes out at least five assists.

McCoy held Ohio State scoring threat Marscilla Packer to eight points on 2-12 shooting Thursday while adding seven assists on the other end of the floor. The Gophers will need a repeat of that night this weekend, as they travel to Ohio State to play the conference leaders a second time.

Iowa streaking

Iowa’s four straight wins in the last two weeks have vaulted the Hawkeyes into a tie for second place with the Gophers. Iowa has played impressive defense to help improve its record, as the Hawkeyes’ opponents have averaged just 57 points in the last three wins.

Minnesota and Purdue are two second-place teams that Iowa has already knocked off, and considering junior guard Kristi Smith’s recent scoring, averaging 14.7 points in the last four games, more teams could soon follow.

Iowa’s streak should continue this week, as the Hawkeyes face Northwestern, an 0-8 team, on Thursday.

“We’re playing some of our better basketball of the year,” coach Lisa Bluder said. “They’re enjoying themselves, and we’ve had different people rise to the occasion each game, and we’re looking forward to the upcoming week.”

Alone in first

The Ohio State Buckeyes remain in sole possession of first place despite their loss to the Gophers last Thursday, holding a 7-2 conference record with their only other loss coming to Michigan State early in the season.

With many offensive threats, the Buckeyes have simply outscored many of their opponents; with freshman standout forward Jantel Lavender leading the way. Lavender is averaging 17 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, coming off a 22-point performance against Penn State on Monday.

With such large numbers, Lavender was a shoe-in to be a finalist for this year’s Naismith Trophy, presented annually to the best women’s basketball player in the nation. Lavender is the first Ohio State freshman to be a finalist.