17 Flat in Columbus

The players who dared attend the women’s game the next afternoon found out quickly the price of being Big Ten champions. A few of them tried to watch the first half of the game from the stands, but were swarmed by autograph seekers. They watched the second half from the back of the tunnel leading to the court, where fans weren’t allowed.

All the hassles in the world were worth the opportunity that awaited them that afternoon at the swimming pool, however. The previous year, Keady had promised the players they could throw him in if they won the Big Ten. The win at Michigan State on Thursday night set up the opportunity, but the loss in the final game at Michigan on Saturday ruined it. Co-Big Ten champs or not, Keady was in no mood for a dip the day after losing by 36 points.

This time, there were no obstacles. The title was theirs and theirs alone, and they were coming off a win. The coaches knew what was coming, and wore old sweats they didn’t mind getting wet.

The swimming session started innocently enough. But after a few minutes, Stephens, Mitchell, Lewis and the two Jones’ gathered at the far side of the pool from where the coaches were sitting, obviously discussing some fiendish plot.

They started with Weber, picking him up by his feet and arms and swinging him into the deep end. Reiter went next, then Wood. They headed for Stallings, who was in a glass-enclosed office just off the pool area, but Stallings begged them off.