Spartans to Battle No. 17 Ohio State on Sunday

Jan. 3, 2009

Michigan State Spartans (9-5, 2-1) at
(17/17) Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2, 2-0)

Date: Sunday, Jan. 4
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Arena: Value City Arena
TV: Big Ten Network (Jenn Hildreth - play-by-play; Stephanie White - analyst)
Radio: WVFN 730 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play)
Internet: Live Stats and Audio at

Game Notes in PDF Format

Statistically Savvy (NCAA Edition)
Entering the week, the Spartans were among the nation's top-50 in eight major statistical categories, including being in the top 25 in six. MSU was seventh in blocked shots (6.7), ninth in field goal percentage defense (33.3%), 11th in rebound margin (+11.3), 17th field goal percentage (45.4%), 24th in scoring margin (+16.9) and 25th in assists (16.8). In addition, the Spartans are 42nd in scoring offense (72.8) and 44th in scoring defense (55.9).

Individually, junior Allyssa DeHaan is third in the country in blocked shots with 3.8 per game.

Statistically Savvy (Big Ten Edition)
Michigan State is among the Big Ten leaders in almost every statistical category. The Spartans are first in field goal percentage defense (33.7%), rebounds (44.6), rebounds allowed (34.0), rebound margin (+10.6), offensive rebounds (15.57), defensive rebounds (29.00) and blocked shots (6.50). They are also second in scoring offense (70.7), scoring defense (56.8), scoring margin (+13.9), 3-point field goal defense (28.3%) and assists (15.93), and third in field goal percentage (43.8%) and turnovers forced (19.1).

Junior Allyssa DeHaan is first in the Big Ten in blocks with 3.79. Also in the conference's top-10 is junior Mandy Piechowski (sixth in 3-point field goal percentage - 41.0%), redshirt junior Aisha Jefferson (ninth in field goal percentage - 49.0% and points - 13.4), redshirt junior Lauren Aitch (sixth in field goal percentage - 51.2% and ninth in free throw percentage - 74.5%), sophomore Kalisha Keane (seventh with 2.14 steals per game) and sophomore Brittney Thomas (ninth with 3.33 assists).



Stepping It Up in Conference Play
Junior Allyssa DeHaan has improved her numbers in Big Ten play, averaging a double-double with 13.3 points and 10.7 rebounds. Her rebounds lead the Big Ten in conference games, while her points are 11th. DeHaan, also leads with 3.33 blocks per game. Meanwhile, sophomore Brittney Thomas is second with 5.0 assists per game and redshirt junior Lauren Aitch is second in field goal percentage (58.8%).

On this Date
Michigan State is 4-3 all-time on January 4.

Defense in the Post
The Michigan State post defenders have done a solid job of late, keeping the opposition below its season averages. The starting post players have been held below their combined season scoring averages in the previous 10 games prior to Thursday's win at Purdue. Most notably, All-America candidate Ta'Shia Phillips of Xavier (14.2 ppg) was held to eight points on 3-of-11 shooting, Old Dominion's combo of Jessica Canady and Tiffany Green (32.3 ppg) managed only 19 points, and most recently, the Indiana pair of Amber Jackson and Whitney Thomas (28.7 ppg) tallied 19 points. For the season, the starting post players have combined to average only 13.6 points per game against the Spartans.

Keys to MSU Success
As we near the midpoint of the 2008-09 season, certain statistical trends have arisen in regard to MSU wins and losses:
- Michigan State is 8-0 when its opponent have been held to 60 points or less and below 31% from the field.
- MSU is 8-1 when it grabs more than 40 rebounds and also 8-1 when it has a plus-5 or better rebound margin.
- The Spartans are 6-1 when they shoot over 43% from the field.
- MSU is 6-0 when it goes to the free throw line more than 20 times and is 6-1 when it attempts more than the opposition.
- The Spartans are 8-0 when they have a higher 3-point field goal percentage and 6-0 when they make more 3-pointers.
- Michigan State is 6-1 when they score more than 70 points.
- MSU is 8-1 when they create more points off turnovers.
- The Spartans are 8-0 when leading at halftime.

Spartans' Dynamic Duo
In their one-plus year on the court together, the Spartans know good things will happen when redshirt junior Aisha Jefferson and Allyssa DeHaan are both playing well. When both score in double-figures, MSU holds a 15-1 record, including a 5-0 mark so far this season.

DeHaan's scoring has shown to be a deciding factor in most Spartan games. When she reaches double-digits, Michigan State is 7-0 this season and are 43-14 in her career. Also, when she leads the team in scoring, MSU is 27-4, including a 4-0 record this season. Meanwhile, MSU is 25-11 when Jefferson tallies double-figures, including a 6-4 mark in 2008-09.

Holding Down the Opposition (First Half Edition)
The Spartans have been especially stingy in the first half of each game this season. Their opponents have combined for only 352 points (25.1 per game).

MSU allowed only 12 points in the first half against Delaware State on Dec. 18 and 13 points to Detroit on Nov. 19. The 12 points against the Lady Hornets tied the previous school record for a first half, set on Jan. 16, 2003 against Indiana.

Welcome Back
Sophomore Brittney Thomas returned to the rotation in the game against Detroit (Nov. 19), after missing the first two games with a broken right hand. Since she has been back, her impact on the floor has been noticeable. With Thomas on the court, the Spartans have outscored their opponents by 104 points (614-510), but when she is sitting, MSU has trailed by six points (187-193).

DeHaan Reaches Milestone...
Junior Allyssa DeHaan became the program's 19th 1,000-point scorer with a basket with 14:48 left in the second half against Quinnipiac. DeHaan has moved into 16th on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,086 points. She also was the fifth fastest to the milestone, needing only 75 games (Mary Kay Itnyre - 65 games, Kris Emerson - 72, Lindsay Bowen - 73, Kisha Kelley - 74).

...And Approaches Another
Already the school's all-time block leader, DeHaan is only 36 blocks shy of the Big Ten career mark. She is currently third all-time with 348, trailing only Ohio State's Jessica Davenport (384) and Michigan's Trish Andrew (367). With her four blocks against Stony Brook (Nov. 16), she became the fastest in conference history to reach the 300-block plateau, needing only 72 games. Nationally, DeHaan is 132 blocks shy of the NCAA record.

New Heights
Michigan State currently have seven players in the regular rotation at or over 6-foot, including four in the starting lineup at times. This size and length has paid dividends this season, as the Spartans hold a 472-284 edge in points in the paint, a 624-476 edge in rebounding and have 91 blocks. MSU leads the Big Ten in both rebound margin and blocks. Those seven players have combined for 758 of the team's 990 points (76.6%).

Shot Blocking Queen
In 28 minutes off the bench at Xavier, junior Allyssa DeHaan tied her own program single-game record with nine blocks, a mark she had previously set on two occasions (Dec. 8, 2007 at Indiana State and Dec. 28, 2006 vs. Indiana). DeHaan now holds the top 10 single-game block totals in MSU history. The nine blocks are also tied for the most in a single game in the country this season.

DeHaan followed the performance up with six blocks in only 18 minutes against Delaware State. The 15 blocks over two games, tied her career high for back-to-back games.

Johnson's Own Milestone
Allyssa DeHaan was not the only Spartan approaching 1,000 career points when the season began. Redshirt senior Mia Johnson has totaled 903 points over her two-plus seasons with the Spartans and freshman campaign at Saint Louis University.

RPI Watch
The Spartans currently have a RPI of 66 according to, with the Big Ten Conference ranking fourth in the nation as a whole. MSU is eighth in the conference, trailing Ohio State (10), Wisconsin (11), Michigan (18), Iowa (22), Indiana (30), Minnesota (52) and Purdue (53). Michigan State's strength of schedule is 65th.

About Ohio State
Ohio State, who was picked to win the Big Ten by media, enter the weekend with a 11-2 record, having won five in a row. The Buckeyes are one of two schools undefeated in the Big Ten at 2-0. They have also played 10 of their 13 games at home, posting a 9-1 record.

The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in scoring offense (72.5), scoring margin (+14.0), field goal percentage (45.2%), 3-point field point percentage (38.9%), assists (16.77) and assist/turnover ratio (0.96). They are also second to the Spartans in rebound margin at +6.1.

Sophomore Jantel Lavender, the defending Big Ten Player of the Year, is leading the Big Ten in both points (22.2) and rebounding (11.3). Freshman Samantha Prahalis paces the Big Ten with 6.23 assists per game, while also adding 10.8 points, good for second on the team and 20th in the conference. Senior Star Allen (58.1%) and Lavender (53.0%) are two-three in the conference in field goal percentage, while senior Ashlee Trebilcock leads the Big Ten with a 55.6% clip from behind the arc.

Against the Buckeyes
Michigan State trails the all-time series, 44-21. In Columbus, the Spartans are 9-17. MSU has won the last two meetings, including the only meeting last season, 60-53 in East Lansing.