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2016-’17 Week 6 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Power Rankings: Purdue Rises With 5-Game Winning Streak

Check out BT’s first women’s basketball power rankings of the season.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Iowa at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Finals week is winding down on college campuses, which can only mean that Big Ten women’s basketball returns to the hardwood this weekend.

The Lady Boilermakers are beginning to catch fire as the team is now in the midst of a five-game winning streak. The No. 4 Terrapins are rolling in College Park, Maryland, and Northwestern have also solidified the Wildcat program as one of the top contenders in the Big Ten this season.

On the contrary, don’t get too comfortable with these power rankings, as conference play is right around the corner. It is safe to say that things are about to get interesting in the Big Ten conference.

Take a look at BT Powerhouse’s first power rankings for women’s basketball in the 2016-2017 season.

* Point system for power rankings calculated by the following equation:

90 + {(winning percentage) x (games played) x (10/games won in last 10) +(games won out of 10 – games lost out of 10) +/- winning streak

Big Ten Women’s Basketball Week 6 Power Rankings:

#1 - Maryland (11-0) - 117 points

It’s hard not to ignore the powerhouse that Maryland has become in women’s basketball. Led by senior center Brionna Jones, who is currently netting 17.3 points per game while grabbing 9.5 boards per contest, the Terrapins are having no problem running through their non-conference schedule.

Most recently, Maryland traveled down the road to visit the Loyola Greyhounds in Baltimore and came away with a convincing 79-60 win. Head coach Brenda Frese and her squad will continue their road trip next Wednesday at Duquesne prior to hosting the one and only UConn Huskies December 29th.

The Terrapins will be tested in the final week and a half of non-conference play.

#2 - Northwestern (9-1) – 113 points

Women’s basketball followers knew that the Wildcats were going to return for the 2016-2017 campaign meaning business, and they sure have so far.

Returning first-team All-Big Ten selection in senior forward Nia Coffey, and an honorable mention selection in senior guard Ashley Deary, Northwestern has the ideal one-two punch and give opponents immense amounts of pressure when they are on the defensive end.

Coffey leads the team in points and rebounds averaging a double-double with 21.1 points per game and 11.5 rebounds per game. On the other hand of the tandem, Deary dishes out an average of 6.3 assists per game, and 4.3 steals per game as well.

This Northwestern team heads out west to wrap up their non-conference match-ups as they pay visits to Santa Clara and Gonzaga before heading back to Evanston, Illinois.

#3 - Purdue (8-4) – 111 points

The Lady Boilermakers are the surprise in the first women’s basketball power rankings as they are sitting at the third spot with four losses to account for. However, a couple of their losses have been to tough opponents like Villanova and Stanford. Not to mention, each of those losses were by a margin of 14 or less.

Senior guard Ashley Morrissette is currently averaging 15 points per game and is only six points shy of becoming the 30th player in the program's history to eclipse the 1,000-career point mark. The Twinsburg, Ohio native had ice in her veins this season knocking down game-winning shots versus Dayton and at Michigan, and continues to shine in the gold and black uniform.

Next up for Purdue is Eastern Michigan at home this upcoming Sunday. Watch out for the Boilermakers to be a sleeper this year.

#4 - Michigan State (9-2) – 110 points

The Spartans lost Aerial Powers to the WNBA draft last season, forcing them to search for a new offensive identity. Senior guard Tori Jankoska, who is known throughout the conference as a 3-point threat, is taking over the lead role as she currently averages 22.3 points per game.

Michigan State looks to continue their winning streak on Sunday as they host Northeastern. Before the Spartans kick-off the conference schedule, they will have a tall task with the No. 2 team in the country, Notre Dame, coming into town.

Let’s see if the Spartans are as good as they seem.

#5 - Penn State (8-2) – 110 points

The Nittany Lions crack the top five thanks to the four-game winning streak that they are currently on, and look to head into their first Big Ten match-up, with Indiana, on a good note as American and Iona visit Happy Valley within the next five days.

Sophomore guard Teniya Page is the edge that Penn State needs to compete in the Big Ten. Page is dropping 19.6 points per game with a respectable .440 shooting percentage.

Penn State is extremely young compared to other teams in the conference, however, the Nittany Lions have a ton of potential to be a tournament level team.

#6 - Michigan (9-3) – 108 points

The Wolverines took their most recent loss to No. 9 UCLA this past Sunday before taking down Ohio University at home, but Michigan is a team that has the opportunity to rise throughout the rest of the season.

Michigan hosts Vermont and American before the start of conference competition, and the Wolverines begin their conference schedule with a struggling Rutgers team.

Junior guard Katelynn Flaherty is the one to watch on the Wolverine roster as she is already averaging 20.0 points per game through the first 12 games.

#7 - Ohio State (8-3) - 108 points

Despite the Buckeyes being ranked No. 12 in the country, they are having a difficult time gelling on the offensive end.

With all of the talent in junior guard Kelsey Mitchell, and senior forward Shayla Cooper, Ohio State has a ton of different options that it is almost overwhelming.

Last time out, the Buckeyes have taken care of business against smaller teams like Canisius and Southern, however, they have had their troubles with other ranked teams such as Miami and South Carolina.

Following the home match-up with Alabama State Friday evening, the Buckeyes will travel to Storrs, Connecticut to take on the Huskies. This game will naturally be OSU’s biggest test before Big Ten play.

#8 - Iowa (8-3) – 107 points

The Hawkeyes will be returning to the court after nine days of rest when they visit Drake in Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday.

Iowa has been following senior guard Ally Disterhoft while she averages 17.3 points per game, not to mention her .500 shooting percentage from behind the arc. Disterhoft was named to the second team All-Big Ten squad in her junior campaign along with a plethora of other achievements.

Iowa tends to struggle in conference play, going 8-10 last year, but with the shooters that they have acquired, anything is possible for this Hawkeye roster.

#9 - Indiana (7-3) – 107 points

Indiana is a team that got dealt a relatively easy non-conference schedule, which may affect them in the near future when they participate in the Florida Sunshine Classic with Florida and Stony Brook. Then, we will be able to capture a clear preview on how the Lady Hoosiers will match-up against teams like Ohio State and Maryland.

Penn State is Indiana’s first Big Ten game of the 2016-2017 season and that is not until Wednesday, December 28th in University Park, Pennsylvania.

#10 - Minnesota (7-4) – 103 points

Minnesota is in a similar situation as Michigan State after losing a scoring machine in Rachel Banham to the WNBA draft. Banham finished her career with 3,093 career points, which made her sixth all-time in the NCAA. However, that was last year.

This season the Gophers have been dependent in junior guard Carlie Wagner. The 5-foot-10 guard is averaging 19.1 points per game through the first 12 games.

Minnesota has a tough start to conference play, traveling to Columbus, Ohio to take on the Buckeyes, but the Gophers will have a warm-up game with Kent State prior.

#11 - Illinois (4-6) – 99 points

The Fighting Illini is the first of four teams in the Big Ten with records below a .500 winning percentage as of right now, however, they are sitting on a one-game winning streak.

Illinois looks to snag three wins to enter the conference schedule one game above the .500 winning percentage mark. The team faces Florida Gulf Coast, Central Michigan and Ohio University in the trio of games.

#12 - Nebraska (4-6) - 99 points

Before earning the W last week against San Jose State, the Huskers were on a whopping five-game losing streak that seemed like wasn’t going to be snapped.

If the Huskers don’t improve their play before conference play, it may be an ugly rest of the season for them. Not to mention Nebraska is hosting UConn before their first Big Ten game against Northwestern.

#13 - Wisconsin (4-8) - 99 points

The Wisconsin women’s team is coming off of a loss to Marquette and will visit Green Bay tonight. This game is vital for the Badgers before their 16-day break from games.

After the break, Wisconsin will host the Michigan Wolverines on New Years Day for their first Big Ten match-up.

#14 - Rutgers (3-9) – 97 points

Before Rutgers pulled out a win against Seton Hall, the Scarlet Knights were previously on a three-game losing streak that truly didn’t help their cause when it came to the power rankings.

Just like Wisconsin, the Scarlet Knights open up their Big Ten schedule visiting Ann Arbor, Michigan to challenge the Wolverines.