Spartan Women Face Road Test at No. 11 Maryland
Michigan State and Maryland clash for the first of two meetings this season.
|Michigan State (12-5, 2-2 B1G) at #11 Maryland (15-2, 4-0 B1G)|
|Date||Thursday, Jan. 11|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Location||College, Md. | XFINITY Center|
|Tickets||Click To Purchase|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network | WJIM-AM 1240|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Maryland|
|Statistics||Michigan State | Maryland|
|Internet Coverage||Live Stats|
|Social Media||@MSU_WBasketball | Facebook | Instagram|
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State continues its three-game road trip, traveling to No. 11/11 Maryland on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. ET. The game is MSU’s second broadcast on the Big Ten Network this season with Lisa Byington and Christy Winters Scott on the call. The Spartans are currently 12-5 this season and 2-2 in league play. The Terrapins are 15-2 overall and a perfect 4-0 in B1G action.
• Redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley leads the team in scoring in Big Ten contests, averaging 12.5 points per game in four league contests. Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee is first on the team and in 17th in the B1G in rebounding, averaging 7.0 rpg.
• Freshman forward Sidney Cooks is third on the team in scoring, averaging 10.4 point per game during her freshman campaign. She has started 14 of MSU’s 17 games this season and has scored in double figures eight times. Cooks is fourth in scoring (10.3 ppg) and tied for third in rebounding (5.2 rpg) in the Big Ten among freshman. She is second in field goal percentage (.532).
• Michigan State is ninth in the nation in assists with 315 and 14th in assists per game, averaging 18.5. MSU is also 18th in the nation in rebounds per game (43.9) and 10th in rebound margin (+10.7). The Spartans are also fifth in the nation in overall rebounds with 746. This week, Taryn McCutcheon is 50th in the nation in assists per game (5.2 apg).
• The Spartans have five players averaging in double figures, led by junior center Jenna Allen who is scoring 11.1 ppg. Shay Colley is second with 10.7 ppg, while Sidney Cooks scores 10.4 ppg. Finally, Branndais Agee averages 10.3 ppg.
GETTING IN THE LINEUP
MSU’s starting line-up of sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon, redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley, redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee, freshman forward Sidney Cooks and junior forward Jenna Allen is now 2-1, as the Spartans have had six different combinations so far this season. The lineup of Colley, McCutcheon, Lexi Gussert, Mardrekia Cook and Allen is 5-0. McCutcheon is the only Spartan to have started all 17 games.
Agee has the most career starts in the Green and White with 71 career starts. McCutcheon has started every game during her two-year Spartan career with 50 starts.
Against Minnesota on Jan. 7, freshman forward Sidney Cooks recorded her first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee and sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon lead the team with two double-doubles apiece. Junior center Jenna Allen, redshirt-sophomore forward Victoria Gaines, freshman forward Sidney Cooks and redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley have all had one double-double this season.
LENDING A HELPING HAND
Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon is approaching the top 20 in career assists after only 50 games in the Spartan uniform. McCutcheon has 2057 career assists for an average of 5.1 assists per game. She needs just 10 assists to tie Jasmine Thomas (2009-13) for 20th on the all-time MSU career list with 267 assists.
For the first time this season, six Spartans scored in double figures against Minnesota on Jan. 7, led by a career-high 14 points from sophomore forward Nia Hollie. Junior center Jenna Allen and sophomores Shay Colley and Taryn McCutcheon both scored 12 points. Freshman forward Sidney Cooks scored 11, while redshirt-sophomore forward Victoria Gaines added 10. This was the first times since Feb. 20, 2014 that six scored in double figures when MSU defeated Wisconsin, 76-66.
GETTING OVER 40
Rebounding has been the key to the Spartans’ success. MSU is 9-2 when getting over 41 boards in a game. Michigan State has had over 56 rebounds three times this season against Oakland, College of Charleston and Detroit Mercy. Overall the Spartans are 11-2 when out-rebounding its opponents.
GETTING TO THE LINE
The Spartans have shown the ability to get to the free throw line this season. Michigan State is 12th in the nation and third in the Big Ten in free throw made with 252. Redshirt-sophomore Shay Colley leads the team going 58-for-81 from the charity stripe. Only Penn State (273) and Minnesota (263) have made more free throws in the Big Ten this season.
LEADING THE STAT LINE
Nine different Spartans have led the team in scoring in the first 17 games of the season. Shay Colley and Sidney Cooks have both led the team in scoring four times. Branndais Agee was the top scorer three times. Taya Reimer, Kennedy Johnson, Mardrekia Cook, Taryn McCutcheon, Jenna Allen and Victoria Gaines have all led the team in scoring.
RISING THE CHARTS
Junior center Jenna Allen has increased her scoring every season that she has been at Michigan State. This season, she is first in scoring, averaging 11.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. As a freshman, Allen scored 4.5 points in 34 games as a rookie. During her sophomore campaign, she averaged 6.9 ppg in an injury-plagued season. Allen has scored in double figures eight times in 16 games this season.
SCOUTING THE TERRAPINS
No. 11/11 Maryland comes into the game against the Spartans with a 15-2 record overall and a perfect 4-0 record in league play. They are one of three B1G teams that are 4-0 along with Rutgers and Ohio State.
Seven Maryland players are scoring in double figures, including Kaila Charles (17.6 ppg), Blair Watson (13.8 ppg), Ieshia Small (12.1 ppg), Stephanie Jones (11.6 ppg), Eleanna Christinaki (11.4 ppg), Kristen Confroy (10.5 ppg) and Brianna Fraser (10.3 ppg). Maryland is the only team in the nation with seven in double figures. Charles is also tied for 10th in the Big Ten in rebounding with 8.3 rebounds per game. Watson is also dangerous from long range, standing second in the league in 3-pointers made per game (3.7).
Maryland is currently ranked fourth in the country in scoring margin (+26.7), and sixth in scoring (87.0) and in offensive rebounds (17.1). Confroy and Blair Watson are first and third in the Big Ten in three-point field goal percentage. Stephanie Jones is No. 3 in the league in field goal percentage (.608).
LAST TIME VS. MARYLAND
Michigan State women’s basketball run in the Big Ten Tournament came to an end when the Spartans fell to No. 4 Maryland, 100-89, in the semifinals, March 4, 2017. Michigan State’s record dropped to 21-11, while Maryland improved to 29-2.
Tori Jankoska netted 31 points, a Michigan State Big Ten Tournament record, including seven three-pointers, and added five rebounds to lead her squad, which fought to keep pace with the Maryland attack. Branndais Agee shot 4-of-6 from beyond the arc to post 24 points, while Taya Reimer added 14 points and Jenna Allen contributed 10 to give MSU four double-figure scorers in every game of the tournament.
The Spartans are in search of their first-ever win against Maryland with the Terrapins holding the series lead 10-0. Last season, the two teams met twice. During the regular season, Maryland stopped MSU, 89-72, in East Lansing. In the loss, Tori Jankoska passed the 2,000-point career mark when she scored 23 points against UMD. The two teams met again in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals with the Terps earning the 100-89 win. The two games last season were two of the highest scoring the series history.
BIG TEN OPENERS
Michigan State is 23-13 in home Big Ten openers in 36 years in the league. This season, the Spartans fell to Rutgers on Dec. 31, 61-58.
Michigan State is 18-18 all-time in Big Ten openers, having won its last five of its last seven ... Under Coach Merchant, the Spartans are 7-4 in Big Ten openers ... MSU earned a dominating 68-46 win over Indiana in Bloomington, 68-46 on Dec. 28 ... This was the first time since the 2011-12 season that the Spartans have opened B1G play with the Hoosiers. MSU captured that game in Bloomington, 63-49.
CAREER VS. THE TERRAPINS
Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee has done well in her career against Maryland. In four career games, ,she is averaging 16.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Last season in the Big Ten Tournament, she scored 24 points, making four treys. In four games, Jenna Allen is averaging 6.5 ppg and 2.3 rpg.
Against East Tennessee State on Dec. 16, Michigan State set a new school record with 15 blocks. The previous record was 13 against Indiana on Dec. 28, 2006. Senior forward Taya Reimer and senior guard Branndais Agee added four blocks each, while freshman forward Sidney Cooks and sophomore forward Victoria Gaines swatted two apiece. Michigan State’s previous high this season was seven blocks against Oakland on Nov. 13.
CAREER NIGHT FOR COLLEY
Sophomore guard Shay Colley’s career-high 27 points against South Florida topped her previous career-best of 16 points against Robert Morris in the season-opener. It was Colley’s second-straight double-figure scoring outing and third in the last four games, along with her fifth of the season.
Colley’s 27 points was the second-highest by a Spartan this season, behind junior forward Jenna Allen’s 28-point outing at Notre Dame, and also marked the third time this season that an MSU player has scored 20+ points in a game, as along with Allen’s 28 points, senior forward Taya Reimer tallied 20 points against Oakland.
REACHING A MILESTONE
Senior forward Taya Reimer reached a milestone, passing the 1,000-career point plateau against UConn on Nov. 25. Between her two seasons at Notre Dame and her two at Michigan State, she now has 1,088 career points. She is currently fifth in scoring for the Spartans, averaging 8.5 points per game.
AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is 28-48 against ranked teams, including 18-14 at home, 6-19 on the road and 4-15 on a neutral court. As a ranked team against fellow ranked team, MSU is 15-22 versus ranked teams. This season, MSU is 1-2 against ranked teams with a loss to No. 1 UConn, 96-62 and a defeat against Notre Dame, 90-59. MSU defeated No. 22 South Florida, 83-73, on Dec. 21.
BOUNCE BACK ABILITY
In Coach Merchant’s first 11 seasons, the Spartans are 71-26 (73.2%) following a loss.
TAKING ON THE BEST
In the first nine games of the season, the Spartans have taken on both the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country. MSU has already faced top-ranked UConn and took on No. 2 Notre Dame on Dec. 6. Last season, Michigan State faced both No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Maryland in one season. The Spartans have never faced the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country in the same season.
AROUND THE BIG TEN
Freshman Sidney Cooks is third on the team in scoring, she also is ninth in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.532).
Sophomore Taryn McCutcheon is fourth in assists behind Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell and Iowa’s Kathleen Doyle, averaging 5.2 apg. She tied a career high with 12 against Notre Dame on Dec. 6 and added 10 assists in overtime against ETSU on Dec. 16. Redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley is 10th in assists with 4.0 per game. Colley is also sixth in the B1G in steals, averaging 2.2 spg.
MSU is second in the league assists, averaging 18.5 apg. Iowa is first in the conference in assists with 22.5 apg. Michigan State is also first in rebound margin (+10.7) and third in steals (10.1 spg).
AROUND THE NATION
The Spartans are still ninth in the nation in assists with 315 and 14th in assists per game, averaging 18.5. The Spartans are also fifth in to rebounds with 746. Michigan State is 18th in the nation in rebounds per game (43.9)and 10th in rebound margin (+10.7). MSU is ranks 12 in the nation in free throws made with 252. This week, Taryn McCutcheon is 50th in the nation in assists per game (5.2 apg).
Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee became the 26th MSU women’s basketball player to reach 1,000 points with 10 points against No. 1 UConn on Nov. 25. Agee started the week by scoring a season-high 17 points in her hometown against Detroit, bringing her career point total to 991 and going over 1,000 against UConn. She now has 1,090 career points in the Green and White. Agee is averaging 10.3 points through the first 17 games of the season, which is second on the team. Tori Jankoska was the last Spartan to reach 1,000 points doing so on Nov. 27, 2015.
CLOSING IT OUT
The Spartans have been extremely effective closing out games over the last couple years, winning 168 of their last 175 games (.960) when leading with five minutes left, including 119 of their last 127. In Coach Merchant’s tenure, Michigan State is 203-12 (.944) when holding a lead with five minutes left. This season, the Spartans are 11-1.
FANS CONTINUE TO PACK THE BRESLIN
Michigan State women’s basketball continues to pack the Breslin Center, finishing the 2016-17 season ninth in the nation and first in the Big Ten home attendance. The Spartans averaged 6,011 fans in 14 home games this season. MSU had a total of 84,152 fans pass through the gates. This is the 13th-straight season that the Spartans have been ranked in the top 15 nationally in attendance. MSU has had a total attendance of at least 80,000 since 2005-06.
This season, Michigan State is 13th in attendance, averaging 5,304 fans per game. They are fourth in the Big Ten behind Purdue (5,855), Ohio State (5,500) and Maryland (5,325).
LAST TIME OUT
Playing in her hometown of Minneapolis, sophomore forward Nia Hollie scored a career-high 14 points as the Michigan State women’s basketball team dropped an 83-77 nailbiter to Minnesota at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Sunday.
The Spartans fall to 12-5 overall and 2-2 in Big Ten play. The Golden Gophers improve to 13-4 overall and 2-2 in league contests.
For the first time this season, six Spartans scored in double figures led by Hollie’s 14. Freshman forward Sidney Cooks recorded her first collegiate double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. A trio of players scored 12 points in junior center Jenna Allen, redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley and sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon. Off the bench, redshirt-sophomore forward Victoria Gaines added 10.
AGEE NAMED TO WATCH LIST
Michigan State redshirt-senior Branndais Agee was named to the watch list for the inaugural Cheryl Miller Award, which will be awarded to the top small forward women’s basketball; it was announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
She is one of five players from the Big Ten to be named to the watch list along with Indiana’s Amanda Cahill, Maryland’s Brianna Fraser, Ohio State’s Stephanie Mavunga and Wisconsin’s Cayla McMorris. Agee has already garnered preseason All-Big Ten honors by the coaches. Last season, Agee earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors along with fellow senior Taya Reimer and sophomore Taryn McCutcheon.
The Michigan State Athletics Department officially opened the Gilbert Pavilion and the Tom Izzo Hall of History on Friday afternoon in a ceremony at the Breslin Center. The addition features the Tom Izzo Hall of History features a locker room and interactive areas that enhance the fan experience for the more than 500,000 people attending events each year.
The Spartans welcome to their staff three former Michigan State players. Former Big Ten Player of the Year Kalisha Keane and All-Big Ten honorees Jasmine Hines and Annalise Pickrel are all graduate assistants with the Spartans this season.
Michigan State continues its three-game road trip at No. 11/11 Maryland on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. (ET) and at Illinois on Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 9 p.m. (ET). The Spartans will then finally return home to face Indiana for the second time this season on Sat., Jan. 20 at 4 p.m. All three games will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
In head coach Suzy Merchant’s tenure, when two numbers on the scoreboard were achieved it typically has been a sign of a MSU win. Overall, MSU has scored at least 70 points nine times overall this season. MSU has won 116 of its last 127 games when scoring at least 70 points, and MSU is 133-18 under head coach Suzy Merchant when hanging at least 70 points on the scoreboard. This year, MSU is 10-1 when scoring at least 70.
PK80 INVITATIONAL RECAP
Michigan State celebrated Thanksgiving weekend at the PK80 Invitational in honor of Phil Knight’s 80th birthday. The Spartans attended a Nike event before watching the MSU men’s team take on DePaul on Thanksgiving day. Michigan State fell to No. 1 UConn, 96-62, on Saturday, Nov. 25 in Eugene at Matthew Knight Arena. In the other game, Oregon defeated Oklahoma.
AGEE EARNS PRESEASON HONOR
The Big Ten Conference released the Preseason Coaches and Media Polls, in addition to the 10-member preseason All-Big Ten team on Monday. Michigan State redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee was named to the Preseason All-Big Ten team by the coaches. Reigning Big Ten co-champion Ohio State, which was the No. 1 pick in both the coaches and the media poll. Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell was named Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year in both polls.
MEET THE 2018-19 SIGNEES
Michigan State women’s basketball head coach Suzy Merchant announced the signing of three National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, including Nia Clouden (Owing Mills, Maryland/St. Frances), Tory Ozment (Buford, Georgia/Buford) and Kayla Belles (Ithaca, Michigan/Ithaca).
Clouden is a 5-8 point guard who plays for head coach Jerome Shelton at St. Frances Academy. She is currently ranked No. 43 overall and No. 13 at her position by ESPN HoopGurlz. Last March, Clouden was named Maryland Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year, becoming the third Baltimore-area player to win the award in 11 years. She was also the USA Today Maryland Player of the Year last season. She is a two-time captain, who averaged 14.2 points and 4.7 assists per game as a junior. Last season, the Panthers captured their second-straight IAAM Championship. St. Frances also advanced to the semifinals of the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals, falling in overtime. Clouden has also earned first-team Baltimore Sun honor in both 2016 and 2017.
Ozment is a 6-1 guard/forward who plays for head coach Gene Durden at Buford High School. Durden has captured five state championships during time at Buford. She is currently ranked No. 14 at her position by ESPN HoopGurlz. Last season, Ozment was named the AAAAA State Player of the Year as well as being named to the Georgia Athletic Coaches Associations All-State squad. Ozment earned Atlanta Tipoff Club and Atlanta Journal Constitution All-Metro team. Last season, she averaged 13.4 points and 3.8 assists per game, leading Buford on a run to the Class AAAAA State Championship. As a sophomore, she guided Buford to the AAAA Final Four, averaging 11.1 points and 3.5 assists per game.
Belles is a 6-3 forward who plays for head coach Ty Warczinksy at Ithaca High School. As a junior, Belles averaged 19.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, 3.4 blocked shots and 2.6 steals per game, earning Associated Press Class B all-state honors. She led the Yellowjackets to three-straight Tri-Valley Conference West Division titles, which included a run to the Class C Final Four during her sophomore campaign. She garnered first-team all-state honors three-straight seasons, averaging a double-double the last two seasons. She is a multi-sport athlete, who earned all-state honors in both basketball and volleyball. Belles will miss her senior year of high school after tearing her ACL over the summer.
BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE
Michigan State played in the 11th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge, falling to Miami, 67-57. The ACC captured this year’s Challenge title by a 10-4 count. Last season, Maryland, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue registered wins for the Big Ten. Michigan State lost to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome last season, 75-64. Overall, MSU is 5-6 in the Challenge.
B1G/ACC Challenge History
2017 - Miami 67, MSU 57
2016 - Syracuse 75, MSU 64
2015 - Louisville 85, MSU 78
2014 - MSU 79, Georgia Tech 73 (OT)
2013 - Florida State 60, MSU 58
2012 - MSU 68, N.C. State 51
2011 - Miami 76, MSU 60
2010 - MSU 72, Florida State 64
2009 - MSU 72, North Carolina 66
2008 - Georgia Tech 57, MSU 50
2007 - MSU 68, Clemson 51
Bold = home games