Spartans and Wolverines Renew Rivalry on Thursday Night in Ann Arbor
 
 
 
Redshirt junior Lauren Aitch and the Spartans look to go 4-2 in conference play on Thursday.
 
Redshirt junior Lauren Aitch and the Spartans look to go 4-2 in conference play on Thursday.
 
 

Jan. 14, 2009

Michigan State Spartans (10-6, 3-2) at
Michigan Wolverines (9-7, 2-3)

Date: Thursday, Jan. 15
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Ann Arbor, Mich.
Arena: Crisler Arena
TV: none
Radio: WVFN 730 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play)
Internet: Live Stats and Audio at www.msuspartans.com; Live video at BigTenNetwork.com/MSU/live

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Game Notes in PDF Format

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 (34.3%), rebounds (43.9), rebounds allowed (33.8), rebound margin (+10.1), offensive rebounds (15.63), defensive rebounds (28.31) and blocked shots (6.19). They are also second in scoring margin (+11.8) and 3-point field goal defense (28.1%), and third in scoring offense (68.9), scoring defense (57.1), field goal percentage (43.3%), assists (15.69) and turnovers forced (19.1).

Junior Allyssa DeHaan is first in the Big Ten in blocks with 3.63. Also in the conference's top-10 is redshirt junior Lauren Aitch (third in field goal percentage - 51.5%), junior Mandy Piechowski (sixth in 3-point field goal percentage - 41.0%), sophomore Kalisha Keane (seventh with 2.06 steals per game), redshirt junior Aisha Jefferson (10th in field goal percentage - 47.2%) and sophomore Brittney Thomas (ninth with 3.21 assists).

 

 

Stepping It Up in Conference Play
Junior Allyssa DeHaan has improved her numbers in Big Ten play, averaging close to a double-double with 13.0 points and 9.4 rebounds. Her rebounds are tied for second in the Big Ten in conference games, while her points are tied for ninth. DeHaan is also second with 3.00 blocks per game. Meanwhile, redshirt junior Lauren Aitch is tied for fourth in field goal percentage (55.9%), sophomore Kalisha Keane is tied for fourth with 2.40 steals and sophomore Brittney Thomas is fifth with 4.5 assists per game.

Statistically Savvy (NCAA Edition)
Entering the week, the Spartans were among the nation's top-50 in six major statistical categories, including being in the top 25 in three. MSU was eighth in blocked shots (6.2), 10th in rebound margin (+10.1) and 12th in field goal percentage defense (34.3%). In addition, the Spartans are 39th in assists (15.7), 42nd in scoring margin (+11.8) and 45th in field goal percentage (43.3%).

Individually, junior Allyssa DeHaan is fourth in the country in blocked shots with 3.6 per game.

Keys to MSU Success
As we pass the midpoint of the 2008-09 season, certain statistical trends have arisen in regard to MSU wins and losses:
- Michigan State is 9-0 when its opponent have been held to 60 points or less and 8-0 when below 31% from the field.
- MSU is 8-1 when it grabs more than 40 rebounds and also 9-1 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 7-0 when it goes to the free throw line more than 20 times and is 7-1 when it attempts more than the opposition.
- The Spartans are 8-1 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 9-1 when they create more points off turnovers.
- The Spartans are 9-0 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 16-1 record, including a 6-0 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 8-0 this season and are 44-14 in her career. Also, when she leads the team in scoring, MSU is 28-4, including a 5-0 record this season. Meanwhile, MSU is 26-11 when Jefferson tallies double-figures, including a 7-4 mark in 2008-09.

Crashing the Glass
Michigan State has been dominant on the offensive boards this season. The Spartans lead the Big Ten with 15.6 offensive rebounds a game and have grabbed 43.3% of the possible rebounds in the offensive zone (Ohio State is second at 38.8%). Over the last three games, MSU is averaging 18.0 offensive rebounds per game and have grabbed 46.6% of the offensive rebound opportunities.

By contrast, the Spartans have allowed only 13.4 offensive rebounds per game and have allowed the opposition to grab only 32.1% of their possible offensive rebounds.

Spartan Efficiency Per 40 Minutes
The depth of Michigan State so far this season has limited the minutes of its top players, and in turn, lessened their overall production in regard to the Big Ten leaders. Only Aisha Jefferson (11th in scoring) and Allyssa DeHaan (12th in rebounding) are among the conference's top-15. However, when you calculate the production per 40 minutes (with those who have played at least 15.0 minutes per game), fhree Spartans are in the top-15 in both scoring and rebounding.

Jefferson is third in scoring averaging 22.0 points per 40 minutes (trailing only Ohio State's Jantel Lavender - 26.1 and Penn State's Tyra Grant - 24.3). Also, classmate Lauren Aitch is sixth at 19.9 and DeHaan is 11th at 16.9 (Freshman Courtney Schiffauer is 16th at 15.6). In regard to rebounding, DeHaan and redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson are tied for sixth with 11.5 boards per 40 minutes, while Aitch is tied for 11th at 10.5.

In conference games, DeHaan's production per 40 minutes has increased to 17.5 points and 12.7 rebounds.

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 409 points (25.6 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 112 points (694-582), but when she is sitting, MSU has trailed by 20 points (220-240).

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 14th on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,111 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 31 blocks shy of the Big Ten career mark. She is currently third all-time with 353, 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 127 blocks shy of the NCAA record.

Let's Play More Time
The Spartans have relished playing extra time over the past six seasons. MSU is currently riding a 10-game winning streak in overtime games, dating back to the 2003-04 season. Surprisingly, only two of the 10 wins have come at home. This season, the Spartans have knocked off Dartmouth at the TD Banknorth Classic and Purdue in West Lafayette.

On this Date
Michigan State is 7-3 all-time on January 15.

New Heights
Michigan State currently have seven players in the regular rotation at or over 6-foot, including four in the starting lineup. This size and length has paid dividends this season, as the Spartans hold a 530-332 edge in points in the paint, a 703-541 edge in rebounding and have 99 blocks. MSU leads the Big Ten in both rebound margin and blocks. Those seven players have combined for 845 of the team's 1103 points (76.6%).

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 11 of the last 13 games. 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, the Indiana pair of Amber Jackson and Whitney Thomas (28.7 ppg) tallied 19 points, and most recently, Northwestern's Amy Jaeschke (16.9 ppg) was held to seven points. For the season, the starting post players have combined to average only 14.8 points per game against the Spartans.

About Michigan
Michigan enters the game in a three-way tie for seventh in the Big Ten at 2-3. The Wolverines are 9-7 overall, including a 6-1 mark at home. Their home wins include nationally-ranked Notre Dame and Vanderbilt, and Big Ten foes Illinois and Northwestern.

The Wolverines have struggled offensively this season, averaging only 57.4 points per game and shooting just 37.2% from the field, both 10th in the Big Ten. Their offensive heavily revolves on the 3-point field goal, as Michigan leads the conference with 6.38 made 3-point field goals per game, despite hitting only 28.8% of its attempts (10th in the league). On the boards, the Wolverines are also 10th, being outrebounded by 2.6 rebounds per game.

Individually, Michigan has great depth with its five starters all averaging over 7.4 points and 4.1 rebounds. Senior Jessica Minnfield leads the way with 10.6 points and 3.6 assists per game and is second with 4.8 rebounds. Minnfield is also third in the Big Ten with a 82.8 free throw percentage. Classmate Carly Benson, averaging 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds, is second in the conference with 1.94 made 3-pointers a game, while fellow senior Stephany Skrba (9.3 points and 4.3 rebounds) is sixth in the league with a 50.4 field goal percentage.

Against the Wolverines
Michigan State and Michigan meet for the 67th time with MSU holding a 51-15 edge in the all-time series. The Spartans are 20-9 all-time in Ann Arbor. The 50 wins and 66 games played are the most against any school in the history of the program. The Spartans won the last two meetings last season, including a 45-40 overtime win in the WNIT Quarterfinals, after dropping the first meeting in Ann Arbor. Overall, MSU has won 11 of the last 12 meetings. Over those 11 games, the Spartans have held Michigan to 49.0 points per game and have a +17.7 scoring margin.