STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- No. 9 Penn State rolls into this week's Big Ten tournament with seven straight wins, confident after having secured its first conference crown in eight seasons.
But wrapping up the regular-season title proved to be much more difficult than the tidy two-game cushion the Lady Lions enjoyed in the final standings.
The Big Ten appears tougher than ever this season, with seven teams owning at least 19 victories. And they all have a chance to make the NCAA tournament.
The Lady Lions emerged from a pack that included four teams tied for second in the league with 11-5 records. Penn State didn't wrap the top seed in the Big Ten tournament until last week.
The first round begins Thursday. The top four seeds, including Penn State, get a bye through Friday.