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No. 20 Spartans Host Wisconsin on Thursday Night

Jan. 13, 2010

No. 20/23 MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (11-5, 2-3) vs.
rv/rv WISCONSIN BADGERS (13-4, 3-3)

Date: Thursday, Jan. 14
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Arena: Breslin Center
TV: none
Radio: WVFN 730 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play; Mo Gerhardt - analyst)
Internet: Live broadcast on - $2.99 pay-per-view (Jacob Bodnar - play-by-play; Julie Dombroski - analyst); Live audio and stats at
Hometown Day: Taja Wilson
Promotion: $1 Popcorn Night

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Head Coach Suzy Merchant Weekly Press Conference
Allyssa DeHaan | Kalisha Keane | Cetera Washington

The Badgers, who are receiving votes in both national polls, enter the week at 13-4 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten. Wisconsin leads the Big Ten and is 11th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 52.7 points per game. The Badgers are also efficient from the field, ranking third in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (44.0%) and 3-point field goal percentage (35.2%). Individually, Alyssa Karel is the lone Badger in double-figures offensively, ranking ninth in the Big Ten with 14.4 points per game. Tara Steinbauer leads the team on the boards with 6.8 rebounds per game, tying her for seventh in the conference.



Michigan State leads the all-time series, 34-24 with Wisconsin, but the Badgers have won the last three games, including a 62-54 decision on Dec. 28 in Madison. In East Lansing, MSU is 21-5 and have won the last five games at the Breslin Center. In their careers, three current Spartans are averging over 10 points a game against the Badgers - Allyssa DeHaan (13.5), Lykendra Johnson (12.3) and Kalisha Keane (10.2).

The Spartans are second in the Big Ten in RPI this season, ranking 11th according to Ohio State is first at sixth. The MSU schedule is the toughest among conference foes and ranks third nationally, trailing only Stanford and Oklahoma. As a conference, the Big Ten is second in RPI and first in strength of schedule.

Michigan State has been a dangerous team this season against teams ranked in the nation's top-10. Up to this point in the season, MSU is one of two teams (California) to have played four top-10 teams, having gone 2-2. The Spartans knocked off No. 4 North Carolina and No. 8 Xavier, and their two losses (No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 6 Ohio State) have come by a combined four points. In all, teams that have been ranked in the top-10 have had only 14 losses, with two of them coming at the hands of MSU. No. 1 Connecticut has three top-10 wins and No. 2 Stanford also has two.

It was the only the second time in program history that a Spartan team has beaten two Associated Press top-10 teams in the same regular season. The 2002-03 Spartans knocked off No. 7/6 Purdue on Jan. 6 and No. 10 Minnesota on Jan. 23.

MSU has received great production from the center position this season. The duo of seniors Allyssa DeHaan and Lauren Aitch have combined to average 20.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.6 blocks. The pair has been only on the floor together for 30:46 this season.

Juniors Kalisha Keane and Brittney Thomas have seen increased production since the beginning of Big Ten play. Keane leads the Spartans with 11.2 points through the five league games, after scoring 8.2 points in non-conference action. Her shooting percentages have also increased, hitting 47.6% from the floor and 47.4% from behind the arc in Big Ten games, versus 36.3% and 33.3%, respectively in non-conference. Meanwhile, Thomas is averaging 7.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.8 steals in the Big Ten, in comparison to 6.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 0.7 steals in the same amount of non-conference minutes per game.

Senior Allyssa DeHaan is one of only five Spartans to rank in the top-10 in both career points and rebounds. She became the sixth Spartan to score 1,500 career points vs. Ohio State on Saturday and currently has 1,502 points. DeHaan is also sixth all-time with 833 rebounds, fourth with 316 made free throws and sixth with 580 made field goals in MSU career record books.

Senior Allyssa DeHaan entered her senior season on pace to break the NCAA Division I blocked shots record. At Indiana, she moved into second all-time and currently has 452 blocks, needing only 29 to surpass the record held by Sandora Irvin of TCU (2001-05).

DeHaan became the Big Ten's all-time blocked shots leader during MSU's Big Ten Tournament game against Wisconsin on March, 6, 2009. She surpassed Ohio State's Jessica Davenport (384) for the record. In addition, in last season's win over Stony Brook (Nov. 16, 2008), she became the fastest in conference history to reach the 300-block plateau, needing only 72 games.

Michigan State is fourth in the nation in blocked shots this season, averaging 7.2 blocks. Senior Allyssa DeHaan leads the charge, ranking ninth in the nation with 3.1 per game.

The Spartans are also among the nation's top-50 in four other categories, placing 27th in field goal percentage defense (35.2%), 31st in assists (16.3), 33rd in rebound margin (+6.9) and 50th in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.90).

Upon Allyssa DeHaan's arrival to East Lansing, the Spartans have been one of the effective teams in the country in protecting the rim. Since the beginning of the 2006-07 season, MSU is second in the nation with 724 blocks. North Carolina is first with 822, followed by MSU, Duke (708), Baylor (706) and Connecticut (687).

The Spartans had been among the NCAA leaders in blocks each of those three years, finishing the season eighth in 2008-09, 11th in 2007-08 and fourth in 2006-07.

Redshirt senior Aisha Jefferson became the 20th Spartan to score 1,000 career points against Indiana on Dec. 6. Jefferson's milestone point came on a free throw with 7:30 on the clock in the first half. Jefferson is currently 18th all-time with 1,060 points. In addition, she is also climbing the career rebounds list, sitting in 19th-place with 588, and is 14th with 423 made field goals and 20th with 204 made free throws.

Sophomore Lykendra Johnson has improved her outside shooting early in the 2009-10 season, having already matched her made 3-point field goal total from last season. This season, she is 14-of-36 (.389) from the arc, while last year she went 4-of-20 (.200) in 33 games.

Aside from her increased production from 3-point range, Johnson has also been a do-it-all for the Spartans this season. She is among the team leaders in every statistical category - points (second), rebounds (first), assists (fourth), steals (first), blocks (second), field goal percentage (first) and 3-point field goal percentage (first).

The depth of the 2009-10 Spartans has paid dividends this season. The MSU bench is averaging 29.2 points, 18.4 rebounds and 7.0 assists, while playing 83.1 minutes per game, compared the opposition's 14.1 points, 14.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 59.1 minutes. The Spartans have received 20 double-figure scoring efforts off the bench so far this season.

So far this season, the Spartans lead the Big Ten in blocked shots (7.19) and total rebounds (44.4). They are also second in scoring offense (71.4), rebound margin (+6.9) and offensive rebounds (15.69) , and third in scoring margin (+8.6), assists (16.25) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.90).

Individually, redshirt sophomore Lykendra Johnson ranks among the conference leaders in many categories: offensive rebounds (3.8; 1st), rebounds (8.4; 3rd), blocks (9th; 1.4), field goal percentage (7th; .495) and scoring (t-20th; 10.4). Senior Allyssa DeHaan is second in the league in blocks with 3.1, and is also ninth in rebounds (6.7), ninth in free throw percentage (.810) and 14th in scoring (12.8).

In conference games, the Spartans lead the Big Ten in offensive rebounds (16.80), and rank third in scoring offense (63.6), blocks (5.4) and rebound margin (+3.2). Individually, Johnson leads in offensive rebounds with 5.2, and is also tied for third in steals (2.6) and fifth in rebounding (8.2). Keane is fourth in the league in 3-point field goal percentage (.474) and eighth in field goal percentage (.476). Brittney Thomas is tied for sixth in assists (3.6).

The 2009-10 basketball season is the Spartans' 21st inside the Jack Breslin Student Events Center. MSU has an all-time record of 207-77 (.729) at Breslin and have been even more dominant of late in its cozy confines, posting a mark of 73-15 since 2003.

For the past five seasons, Michigan State has been one of the top programs in the country in regard to fan support. In each of the last five years, the Spartans have been among the nation's top 15, averaging over 6,000 fans per game. MSU was ninth in the country in 2006-07, averaging 6,737, while they were 10th in both 2005-06, with a school-record 6,787 average, and 2007-08 (6,317). In 2008-09, the Spartans finished second in the Big Ten and 13th in the country, averaging 6,024 fans.

This season, MSU has averaged 5,880 fans through eight games, to place second in the Big Ten. Saturday's crowd against Ohio State of 12,412 was the third largest crowd in Michigan State women's basketball history.

Michigan State is 3-4 all-time on January 14, including a 1-1 record against Wisconsin.

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