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The 2024 Big Ten women’s basketball All-Stars

A check-in with the league’s brightest stars at the midway point.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

We’re quickly approaching the midway point of the college basketball season, and All-Star voting for the NBA is in full swing. What better way to celebrate that than picking Big Ten All-Stars? I did it for the men on Friday. Now, it’s time for the women’s side, which has nine (!) teams in the conference over 13 wins as of Jan. 22.

As a primer (in the other article), I’ll be dividing the teams into the traditional Big Ten East and Big Ten West. It’s 12 players per team: two starting guards and three frontcourt players in the starting lineup, and the same for the bench. The final two players are wildcards, who can come from any position.

Big Ten West (Coach: Lisa Bluder, Iowa)

Starters

G Caitlin Clark, Iowa

Stats: 31 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 7.7 APG, 1.7 SPG, 4.3 TOPG, 48.1% FG%, 40.1 3PT%, 83.2% FT% on 32.9 MPG

Pretty good basketball player.

G Mara Braun, Minnesota

Stats: 18.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.7 TOPG, 39.3% FG%, 36.7% 3PT%, 94.6% (!!) FT% on 33.9 MPG

Braun is at the heart of Minnesota’s remarkable turnaround from an 11-19 2022-23 season. The Golden Gophers are right in the thick of NCAA Tournament contention due to the sophomore’s immense two-way skill. She’s shined on both ends, and his one of the best shooters in the entire conference. Braun’s 33-point game in a double-overtime win over Missouri Valley favorite Drake in which she played 50 (!) minutes was legendary. She’s slowed a bit as Big Ten competition has heated up, but has been terrific overall for a 14-4 Minnesota team.

F Serah Williams, Wisconsin

Stats: 16.7 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.7 SPG, 3.2 BPG, 3.9 TOPG, 48.6% FG%, 78.8% FT% on 29.7 MPG

In her second year of action, Williams has been a double-double machine. She’s met that threshold in seven of her last nine games, and one of those misses came in a 16-point, nine-rebound effort against Nebraska. The sophomore’s signature game came in a victory over Illinois, in which she notched 27 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. Williams is one of the best rebounders and interior defenders in the Big Ten, even for a Badgers team that has struggled.

F Hannah Stuelke, Iowa

Stats: 13.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 64.4% FG%, 59.5 FT% on 21.1 MPG

The reigning Big Ten Sixth Woman of the Year has succeeded Monika Czinano nicely. Stuelke is a versatile player who’s leveraged her size to create mismatches as a small-ball center. Working inside, she complements Clark very well, and she’s stepped up big-time in Iowa’s wins over No. 8 Virginia Tech, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In those first two victories, Stuelke shot a combined 15-of-17 from the field. Her numbers would probably look better with more minutes, which sit at just above 20 because of how soundly the Hawkeyes have often won.

C Alexis Markowski, Nebraska

Stats: 16.8 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 48.1% FG%, 25.5% 3PT%, 69.4% FT% on 27.9 MPG

Markowski has feasted inside, leading the way for a Nebraska team that is primed to make its first NCAA Tournament in three seasons. She’s one of the more accomplished post players in the country, and has made her presence felt against a number of Big Ten opponents. The two-time All-Big Ten honoree has already dropped double-doubles against Penn State, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Maryland and Michigan State.

Reserves

G Genesis Bryant, Illinois

Stats: 14.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 2.4 TOPG, 41.8% FG%, 38.3% 3PT%, 84.5% FT% on 31.9 MPG

Bryant has shown her ability to be a consistent scorer, notching double figures in eight of her last nine games. She can also take over a game, though, which she showed with a 31-point performance against No. 16 Notre Dame in nonconference play. She’s also continued to improve as a perimeter defender.

G Kate Martin, Iowa

Stats: 12.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 54.4% FG%, 36.8% 3PT%, 90.9% FT% on 25.5 MPG

Even with fewer minutes than last year, Martin has taken a significant leap offensively. Shooting over 50% a game as a perimeter player is fantastic. She’s emerged as a key secondary creator alongside Clark, and has grown into a terrific rebounder for her position. Against Indiana, Martin snagged 12 rebounds and picked up a double-double. She grabbed 11 in Iowa’s tight win over Michigan State. Once they get to March, the Hawkeyes will surely rely on No. 20 for a big game or two in their quest for a national title.

F Kendall Bostic, Illinois

Stats: 12.3 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 63.8% FG%, 78.8% FT% on 29.3 MPG

Bostic has been a really consistent contributor for an Illinois team that’s been inconsistent. Her 63.8% field goal percentage ranks 10th in the entire nation. She’s dropped double figures in every game but two. You can’t ask for much more paint offense than that from the Second Team All-Big Ten honoree.

F Mallory Heyer, Minnesota

Stats: 10.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 41.9% FG%, 40% 3PT%, 44.8% FT% on 32.2 MPG

Heyer is another Gopher sophomore who’s taken a jump. She has developed a lethal outside game, and can stretch the floor in a way that most other forwards in the Big Ten cannot. As Minnesota has gotten into Big Ten play, Heyer has emerged as a primary threat alongside Braun. Her 18 points and 15 rebounds fueled a huge double-digit victory over Michigan State on Saturday.

F Natalie Potts, Nebraska

Stats: 11.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 0.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 58% FG%, 19.4% 3PT%, 84.1% FT% on 24.5 MPG

Potts is a first-year, and is already the third-best player on a Nebraska team that’s been resurgent. She’s been the X-factor as a scorer and a rebounder in the Huskers’ big wins, particularly against Maryland, who she dropped 17 points and 13 boards on.

G Abbey Ellis, Purdue

Stats: 13.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.7 SPG, 2.5 TOPG, 42.3% FG%, 30.6% 3PT%, 84.7% FT% on 29 MPG

Once again, Ellis is Purdue’s best offensive player, and she’s made strides on the defensive end. She’s notched three or more steals in a game six times, with five coming against Iowa in one of its sloppiest games.

G Jaz Shelley, Nebraska

Stats: 12.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, 2.3 TOPG, 36.7% FG%, 33.3% 3PT%, 87.7% FT% on 30.6 MPG

Great defense, great passing and solid all-around play. Nebraska’s consistently gotten it from Shelley, and it’s paying off. Look no further than UNL’s 56-48 rock fight win over Illinois, in which the floor general stuffed the stat sheet with a 17-point, five-rebound, six-assist and five-steal line. She also shot 4-of-7 from three, and didn’t attempt a two.

Honorable Mentions: Makira Cook (Illinois), Caileigh Walsh (Northwestern), Melannie Daley (Northwestern)

Big Ten East (Coach: Teri Moren, Indiana)

Starters

G Jacy Sheldon, Ohio State

Stats: 17.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.9 APG, 2.1 SPG, 2.8 TOPG, 51.8% FG%, 36.3% 3PT%, 88.2% FT% on 32.4 MPG

After going cold from three in 2022-23 and missing ample time due to injury, Sheldon’s elite shooting splits are back and better than ever. She was on a ridiculous defensive pace last year, too, averaging 3.5 steals a game in her 13 contests. Maybe those defensive numbers aren’t as good, but she continues to be fantastic on that end. Sheldon won the Buckeyes the Penn State game with her 31 points, and she played a crucial role in Ohio State’s upset over Iowa last weekend. Outside of Clark and Holmes, Sheldon is easily the third-best player in the Big Ten.

G Moira Joiner, Michigan State

Stats: 15.4 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.3 TOPG, 45.5% FG%, 40% 3PT%, 90% FT% on 31.1 MPG

Joiner’s offensive production took a significant jump last year, and she’s made another leap in that area in 2023-24. With the exception of one game (ironically, her last one: a blowout loss to Minnesota), Joiner has scored double figures in every single game. She’s led a Michigan State team that’s ninth in the country in offensive rating, and the fifth-year has also played great perimeter D alongside that. Being part of the 45-40-90 club isn’t too shabby either.

G/F Julia Ayrault, Michigan State

Stats: 14.2 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.1 SPG, 2.3 (!!) BPG, 1 TOPG, 51.9% FG%, 33.3% 3PT%, 83% FT% on... 23 MPG

Those defensive numbers on... 23 minutes a game... that’s a mind-numbingly good line. Ayrault has had to play a lot of undersized center, and she’s fared extremely well. She’s currently second in the Big Ten in blocks per game, and has been one of the best post players in the Big Ten. She was a Clark buzzer-beater away from leading the Spartans to an upset over Iowa with her 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

G/F Taylor Thierry, Ohio State

Stats: 13.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 1.2 TOPG, 62.9% FG%, 45% 3PT%, 75.9% FT% on 27.4 MPG

As she did last year, Thierry is putting together another great two-way campaign. Her shooting splits — even on lower volume — are remarkable. With 20 points and four steals against then-No. 2 UCLA, she nearly catapulted the Buckeyes to an upset over the Bruins in a six-point loss. Thierry is another key piece of a loaded Ohio State team, and she might make the conference’s All-Defensive team when it’s all said and done.

F Mackenzie Holmes, Indiana

Stats: 19.9 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.6 BPG, 2.8 TOPG, 67.6 FG%, 69.7% FT% on 28.4 MPG

Simply put, there are very few frontcourt players in the country, let alone the conference, who are better than Holmes on both ends of the floor. Her field goal percentage is fourth in the nation, and she’s only shot under 50% in a game twice so far. Once again, Holmes is leading the way for a dominant Indiana team that has only fallen to No. 3 Iowa and No. 15 (now No. 8) Stanford.

Reserves

G Sara Scalia, Indiana

Stats: 15.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1 TOPG, 43.9% FG%, 44.8% 3PT%, 87.2% FT% on 31.5 MPG

In her second year as a Hoosier, Scalia has flourished. She’s the second-best shooter in the conference behind Clark, and is one of the country’s best long-range snipers. Shooting 45% on seven three-point attempts a game is incredible, and Scalia complements that strength with solid perimeter defense. The Indiana guard is also playing some of her best ball right now; she’s gone for 42 combined points on 11-of-20 shooting from deep against Purdue and Minnesota in her last two contests.

G Shyanne Sellers, Maryland

Stats: 16.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 3.3 TOPG, 42.6% FG%, 30.4% 3PT%, 88% FT% on 31.8 MPG

While Sellers has had a few off-nights scoring the ball, she’s been a great all-around player. She’s buoyed a Maryland team that’s beginning to find its footing after a rough start. Sellers’ playmaking is fantastic, and she constantly leverages her 6-foot-2 height to create mismatches on smaller guards.

F Cotie McMahon, Ohio State

Stats: 13.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 2.6 TOPG, 45.5% FG%, 22.2% 3PT%, 61.3% FT% on 27.7 MPG

It was a slightly underwhelming year for McMahon compared to her incredible freshman season — at least by her standards — and then she dropped 33 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in 41 minutes of action to take down Iowa. If that doesn’t earn a spot here, I don’t know what does.

G/F Destiny Adams, Rutgers

Stats: 14.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 3.2 TOPG, 52.7% FG%, 69.6% FT% on 29 MPG

Transferring from UNC, Adams has stepped up big-time in Kaylene Smikle’s absence. Even though Rutgers is still winless in conference play, she has erupted as a scorer. The junior poured a ridiculous 33 points and nine rebounds against Penn State, went for 26 points against Illinois and dropped 23 and 13 rebounds on Purdue. At 6-foot-3, Adams can attack the hoop from the perimeter in a unique way for someone her size, and she plays great defense too.

F Ali Brigham, Penn State

Stats: 10.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 58.7% FG%, 71.4% FT% on 24.2 MPG

The crop of forwards in the Big Ten East isn’t especially deep — and Brigham’s stats don’t show it at the surface — but she’s been a really good interior defender. Her best game probably came against Northwestern, when she put up 17 points, four rebounds and five assists in 25 minutes in a 40-point win.

G Shay Ciezki, Penn State

Stats: 14.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 2.1 TOPG, 42.9% FG%, 40.8% 3PT%, 92.1% FT% on 28.4 MPG

Ciezki is a great shooter and a good perimeter defender. As a sophomore, she has come so close to leading Penn State to marquee upsets with her scoring, particularly against Ohio State and USC. As a result, the Lady Lions are on track to go dancing for the first time in a decade.

G Leilani Kapinus, Penn State

Stats: 10.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.2 APG, 2.2 SPG, 1.1 BPG, 2.6 TOPG, 61.3% FG%, 41.4% 3PT%, 59.1% FT% on 23.8 MPG

After averaging an absurd 3.1 steals a game in 2022-23, Kapinus is putting together another All-Defense-worthy season on that end of the floor. To add to that, she’s shooting at a ridiculous clip. Granted, her 61.3% clip from the field is on just 6.6 attempts a game, but that’s still awesome. Kapinus can take over a game in the blink of an eye. Just look at her performances against Northwestern (six steals), Nebraska (four steals and two blocks) and Purdue (three steals and a block)

Honorable Mentions: Sydney Parrish (Indiana), Laila Phelia (Michigan), Celeste Taylor (Ohio State), Makenna Marisa (Penn State), Bri McDaniel (Maryland)