Spartans Continue Road Swing, Take on Minnesota Sunday at Williams Arena

Jan. 26, 2008

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MICHIGAN STATE (12-9, 4-5) at MINNESOTA (14-6, 5-3)

Game Information
When: Sunday, Jan. 27 • 1 p.m. ET
Where: Williams Arena • Minneapolis, Minn.

Media Coverage
TV: Big Ten Network (DirecTV Channel 220)
Announcers: Marney Gellner (Play-by-Play); Stephanie White (Analysis)
Radio: WVFN 730 AM and (Rick Berkey: Play-by-Play)
Live Stats: Gametracker at

Series History
Overall: MSU leads, 31-16
Last meeting: Minnesota 74, @ MSU 63 (12/28/07)

MSU: Suzy Merchant (Central Michigan, 1991)
Overall: 213-129 (13th year)
At MSU: 12-9 (first year)

MINN: Pam Borton (Defiance, 1987)
Overall: 195-101 (10th year)
At Minnesota: 126-55 (sixth year)

Fresh off a 65-62 road victory at Illinois Thursday night, the Michigan State women's basketball team plays at Minnesota Sunday at 1 p.m. for a showdown with the Golden Gophers at Williams Arena. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

The Spartans (12-9, 4-5 Big Ten) are coming off one of their biggest wins of the season after some last-minute heroics lifted them past the Fighting Illini in Champaign. With the score tied at 62, Allyssa DeHaan hit the game-winning shot with 11 seconds remaining, putting MSU up, 64-62. After an Illinois timeout, Kalisha Keane stole the inbounds pass, which led to Brittney Thomas splitting a pair of free throws to give the Spartans a three-point advantage. With just one second left and the length of the court to go, Illinois could not get a shot off to tie the game. Mia Johnson, in her first start of the season, scored a season-high 20 points, including five in the last three minutes of the game.

Minnesota (14-6, 5-3) is also coming off an impressive win, defeating No. 15 Ohio State at home on Thursday, 79-70. The Gophers are in a five-way tie for second place in the Big Ten standings. Leslie Knight, who is second on the team in scoring with 13.4 points a game, poured in 33 against the Buckeyes. Emily Fox leads the team with 17.0 ppg.

Earlier this season, the Gophers defeated Michigan State at the Breslin Center, 74-63, in the Big Ten opener for both teams. Fox led all scorers with 19 points as the Gophers shot 50 percent from the field and limited DeHaan to six points on 3-of-4 shooting.

Michigan State leads the all-time series, 31-16, including a 12-9 record in games played in Minneapolis. The Spartans did not play at Williams Arena last season. In the last matchup between the two schools at Williams Arena, the Gophers topped the Spartans, 71-58, on Jan. 15, 2006. The Gophers snapped a three-game losing streak to MSU with their win earlier this season in East Lansing, 74-63.

Allyssa DeHaan hit the game-winning shot with 11 seconds remaining to give the Michigan State women's basketball team a 65-62 victory over Illinois at Assembly Hall Thursday night. With the score tied at 62, MSU got the ball in the post to DeHaan, who missed her first two shots, but put the third attempt up and in, putting the Spartans up, 64-62.

After an Illinois timeout, Kalisha Keane stole the inbounds pass with three seconds left. Illinois had two fouls to give, and after the third foul, Brittney Thomas hit the front end of a 1-and-1 to give MSU the three-point lead. Illinois did not get a shot off at the end of the game.

Mia Johnson, in her first start of the season, scored a season-high 20 points, including five points in the last three minutes. MSU featured a balanced scoring attack, with four players in double-figures. DeHaan finished with 14 points, while Keane collected a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Brittney Thomas scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting.

"The one thing I've said all along about Mia is that she's a fighter," said MSU head coach Suzy Merchant. "Getting her back in the mix was big for us and she had good shot selection. We were running a few things to post her, and she did a good job of putting the ball in the basket.

"I thought we fought really hard out there," continued Merchant. "Our kids really competed tonight. We had good balance for the first time in a long time with four kids in double-figures, which is something we have to have as we continue to grow as a team. I'm very proud of this road win."

Michigan State scored its most points in a first half this season while taking a 40-33 lead at halftime. MSU shot 63 percent in the first 20 minutes, led by Johnson's 10 points.

Michigan State is the only team in the Big Ten to feature two players ranked among the top 15 in scoring and top 10 in rebounding. Allyssa DeHaan is fourth in the conference in rebounding (8.1 ppg) and fifth in scoring (15.3 rpg), while Kalisha Keane is 11th in scoring (13.3 ppg) and ninth in rebounding (6.9 rpg).

DeHaan and Keane account for 44 percent of the team's points and 40 percent of the team's rebounds. MSU is 8-3 when both DeHaan and Keane score in double-figures.