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Spartans Look for Season Sweep Over Penn State on Sunday

Jan. 17, 2009

Michigan State Spartans (11-6, 4-2) vs.
Penn State Lady Lions (7-9, 2-4)

Date: Sunday, Jan. 18
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Arena: Breslin Center
TV: Big Ten Network (Tracy Warren - play-by-play; Stephanie White - analyst)
Radio: WVFN 730 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play)
Internet: Live Stats and Audio at

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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 (33.6%), 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.8%), rebounds (44.0), rebound margin (+10.1), offensive rebounds (15.24), defensive rebounds (28.76) and blocked shots (6.12). They are also second in scoring margin (+11.4) and rebounds allowed (33.9), and third in scoring defense (55.9), field goal percentage (42.9%), assists (15.18) and turnovers forced (18.5).

Junior Allyssa DeHaan is first in the Big Ten in blocks with 3.41. Also in the conference's top-10 is redshirt junior Lauren Aitch (tied for fifth in field goal percentage - 50.0%), junior Mandy Piechowski (sixth in 3-point field goal percentage - 40.0%) and sophomore Kalisha Keane (seventh with 1.94 steals per game).



Stepping It Up in Conference Play
Junior Allyssa DeHaan has improved her numbers in Big Ten play, averaging close to a double-double with 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds. Her rebounds are fourth in the Big Ten in conference games, while her points are 10th. DeHaan is also tied for second with 2.50 blocks per game and tied for sixth with 3.00 offensive rebounds. Meanwhile, redshirt junior Lauren Aitch is seventh in field goal percentage (51.4%), sophomore Kalisha Keane is tied for fifth with 2.00 steals and sophomore Brittney Thomas tied for sixth with 3.67 assists per game.

As a team, MSU leads in field goal percentage defense (34.9%), 3-point field goal percentage defense (24.1%), rebounds (43.0) and rebound margin (+7.5).

Statistically Savvy (NCAA Edition)
Entering the weekend, the Spartans are among the nation's top-50 in seven major statistical categories, including being in the top 15 in three. MSU is seventh in blocked shots (6.2), eighth in field goal percentage defense (33.6%) and 12th in rebound margin (+10.1). In addition, the Spartans are 30th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.8%), 40th in scoring defense (55.9), 44th in scoring margin (+11.4) and 49th in assists (15.2).

Individually, junior Allyssa DeHaan is fifth in the country in blocked shots with 3.4 per game.

Historical Evening
Many people called Thursday's 41-37 Michigan State win over Michigan `ugly', but the game did turn out to have some historical significance. The Spartans' 41 points was the lowest winning point total in a game played by a Big Ten school since the official inception of Big Ten women's basketball for the 1981-82 season. In all, it is the fewest winning points, since Michigan State beat Michigan, 40-33 on Feb. 28, 1975.

In addition, the 37 points allowed were the seventh fewest given up by MSU since the 1974-75 season and the third fewest in Big Ten play, all three occurring against the Wolverines. The Spartans held Michigan to 33 and 34 points during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons respectively. Also, the combined total of 78 points is the third fewest in Michigan State history and the fewest since the aforementioned Spartans' win on Feb. 28, 1975. The lowest combined total came in the first game in program history, a 38-31 loss at Eastern Michigan on Jan. 30, 1973.

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 10-0 when its opponent have been held to 60 points or less and 9-0 when below 31% from the field.
- MSU is 9-1 when it grabs more than 40 rebounds and also 10-1 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 8-1 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 8-1 when scoring first and 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 9-0 this season and are 45-14 in her career. Also, when she leads the team in scoring, MSU is 29-4, including a 6-0 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 15.2 offensive rebounds a game and have grabbed 42.5% of the possible rebounds in the offensive zone (Ohio State is second at 37.5%).

By contrast, the Spartans have allowed only 13.3 offensive rebounds per game and have allowed the opposition to grab only 31.6% of their possible offensive 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 426 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 115 points (725-610), but when she is sitting, MSU has trailed by 19 points (230-249).

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 12 of the last 14 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 14.5 points per game against the Spartans.

...And on the Arc
The Spartans have also picked up their defensive prowess on the perimeter. MSU has improved upon its league leading and 30th nationally ranked 3-point field goal percentage defense over the last four games. During the span, the Spartans are holding their opponents to a 20.2% (17-of-84) clip, capped by the season-low 17.1% (6-of-35) effort by Michigan on Thursday.

On this Date
Michigan State is 6-4 all-time on January 18.

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 1,123 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.

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 554-348 edge in points in the paint, a 748-576 edge in rebounding and have 104 blocks. MSU leads the Big Ten in both rebound margin and blocks. Those seven players have combined for 878 of the team's 1144 points (76.7%).

Breslin Celebrates No. 20
The 2008-09 basketball season will be the Spartans' 20th inside the Jack Breslin Student Events Center. MSU has an all-time record of 193-73 (.726) at Breslin and have been even more dominant of late in its cozy confines, posting a mark of 58-10 since 2003, including a 6-1 record this season.

Fans Continue to Pack the Breslin
For the past four seasons, Michigan State has been one of the top programs in the country in regard to fan support. In the four seasons leading into 2008-09, the Spartans were 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 last season (6,317).

In the early stages of 2008-09, the Spartans are fourth in the Big Ten and 15th in the country, averaging 4,876 fans through seven games.

Michigan State to Host NCAA First and Second Rounds
The MSU Athletics Department will play host to the 2009 NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds at the Breslin Center on March 22 and 24. For ticket information, call 1-800-GO STATE or visit MSU hosted for the first time in 2007.

About Penn State
Penn State enters the weekend 7-9 overall and 2-4 in Big Ten play. The Lady Lions are averaging 66.6 points per game, fifth in the league, but have given up 62.5 per contest, 10th in the Big Ten. PSU has been strong defensively, leading the Big Ten with 9.63 steals and 20.4 turnovers forced per game. They are also second to the Spartans with 14.25 offensive rebounds per contest, but have struggled from the free throw line, hitting only 65.2%, last in the conference. Junior Tyra Grant leads the Lady Lions' offense, averaging 19.3 points, good for second in the Big Ten. Senior Brianne O"Rourke is 14th in the league with 11.5 points, also adding 4.81 assists, second in the conference, and a 1.43 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Against the Nittany Lions
Michigan State trails the all-time series, 23-8, but have won five of the last seven, including a 67-60 win earlier this season in State College. The Spartans have now won two-straight at Penn State, after losing their first 13 attempts. In East Lansing, Penn State holds a 8-5 edge, including a 69-57 win last season.

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