Aitch Leads Spartans to Season Opening Win Over Niagara, 116-50

Nov. 14, 2008


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EAST LANSING, Mich. - The 2008-09 Michigan State women's basketball season began in record breaking fashion tonight at the Breslin Center, as the Spartans defeated Niagara, 116-50. MSU set new program records in points scored, also a Breslin Center record, and margin of victory.

The Spartans had six players in double-figures, tying a program record last accomplished on Nov. 24, 1990 against Georgetown. Redshirt junior Lauren Aitch led the way with a career-high 25 points in only 21 minutes, shooting 10-of-11 from the field and 5-of-6 from the line, and tying for the team-lead with eight rebounds. Freshman Courtney Schiffauer began her Spartan career in grand fashion, pouring in 21 points and tying Aitch for the team lead with eight boards. Schiffauer, whose 21 points was the most in a Spartan debut since Lindsay Bowen scored 26 back in 2002, was 9-of-12 from the field and sank both of her free throws.

Redshirt junior Aisha Jefferson, junior Allyssa DeHaan, sophomore Kalisha Keane and freshman Porsche Poole rounded out the MSU players in double-figures. Jefferson, in her first regular season game since the end of the 2005-06 season, was a perfect 7-of-7 from the field for 16 points in only 17 minutes, while also adding four rebounds, two assists and two steals. DeHaan had 12 points, six rebounds and four blocks, while Keane and Poole each had 10 points. Keane added four assists and five rebounds.



The Spartans jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the opening three minutes and would never look back. The Purple Eagles closed to six at 12-6 at the 15-minute mark, but MSU would go on a 18-2 run over the next six minutes to open up a 30-8 advantage. The lead continued to grow as intermission approached, ending at 57-22. Schiffauer lead the way in the first half with 15 points.

MSU began the second half similar to the first, as the Spartans opened on a 24-5 spirt over the first seven minutes. From there, they methodically increased their margin until the final horn sounded. Michigan State topped the 100-point barrier with a layup by Schiffauer with 5:23 remaining. Aitch was unstoppable in the second 20 minutes, going 10-of-10 from the field for 23 points in only 14 minutes.

Michigan State dominated every statistical category. The Spartans shot 64.8% (46-of-71) from the field, the highest percentage since they shot 65.3% against Oakland on Dec. 5, 2002, while holding the Purple Eagles to a 29.2% (29-of-65) clip, including a 10.5% (2-of-19) mark from behind the arc. The defensive pressure forced 29 Niagara turnovers, helping MSU to a 40-17 edge in points off turnovers.

Junior Mandy Piechowski, starting at point guard in place of injured Brittney Thomas, dished out a career-high eight assists, while also chipping in eight points and two steals. Redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson filled the stat sheet in her collegiate debut, posting seven points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks.

Michigan State turns around quickly, as they face Stony Brook on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Breslin Center.

NOTES: The Spartans have won the last 10 season openers and are 25-12 all-time ... The previous school records were 108 points scored against Georgetown in the 1990 season opener on Nov. 24, and 61 points margin of victory set on two occasions, most recently on Feb. 3, 2005 against Northwestern, 101-40 - the last time a Spartan team topped the 100-point mark ... Northwestern owned the Breslin Center record, posting 109 points in a double-overtime win over MSU on March 5, 1993 ... The Spartans dominated the paint, outscoring Niagara 76-22, while also holding a 53-25 lead in rebounds ... MSU's bench combined for 65 points, 30 rebounds, 10 assists and nine steals.