Spartans Tangle With No. 12 Buckeyes Saturday
MSU women's basketball concludes road swing at Ohio State.
|Michigan State (14-7, 4-4 B1G) at #12/14 Ohio State (16-5, 5-3 B1G)|
|Date||Saturday, Jan. 27|
|Time||12 p.m. ET|
|Location||Columbus, Ohio | Value City Arena|
|Tickets||Click To Purchase|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network | WJIM-AM 1240|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Ohio State|
|Statistics||Michigan State | Ohio State|
|Internet Coverage||Live Stats|
|Social Media||@MSU_WBasketball | Facebook | Instagram|
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State concludes it two game-road swing at No. 12/14 Ohio State on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 12 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU with Sam Gore and Mike Thibault on the call. The Spartans are currently 14-7 this season and 4-4 in league play. The Buckeyes are 16-5 overall and 5-3 in Big Ten action. Both teams are trying to snap losing streaks. OSU has lost three-straight, while MSU has lost two in a row.
Freshman forward Sidney Cooks continues to have a stellar rookie campaign, averaging 10.7 ppg to lead the team. She has started 18 of MSU’s 21 games this season and has scored in double figures 11 times. Cooks is tied for fourth in scoring (10.7 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (5.3 rpg) in the Big Ten among freshmen.
• Sidney Cooks is rising up the Michigan State freshman record books. With 224 points this season, she is just 30 points shy of cracking the top 15, as Kelli Roehrig is 15th in points scored with 254 during her rookie campaign (2001-02). Her 20 blocks are one shy of tying Aerial Powers’ 21 in 2013-14, which was fifth amongst freshmen.
• Nine different Spartans have led the team in scoring in the first 21 games of the season. Sidney Cooks has led the team in scoring five times. Shay Colley and Branndais Agee both all led the team in scoring four times, while Taryn McCutcheon and Jenna Allen have led the team twice. Taya Reimer, Kennedy Johnson, Mardrekia Cook and Victoria Gaines have all led the team in scoring.
• Against Indiana on Alumni Day, 11,950 fans packed the Breslin Center, which is the 11th-largest in school history. It was the most since 14,181 against Ohio State in 2012. The Spartans honored their alumni, with every decade of MSU women’s basketball represented, as far back as the 1970s.
The injury-ravaged Spartans started their ninth different starting lineup against Michigan on Jan. 23 with freshman forward Sidney Cooks, redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee, sophomore forward/guard Nia Hollie, redshirt-sophomore forward Victoria Gaines and junior forward Jenna Allen.
After starting the first 20 games of 2017-18, sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon did not start for the first time this season, snapping her streak of starting in all 53 games of her Spartan career. McCutcheon missed Tuesday’s game due to injury.
Agee made her 11th start of the season and 73rd of her career against Michigan. Allen made her 13th-straight start and 18th of the season as well as the 21st of her career. Cooks started for the 18th time this season, including the last 16 games. Hollie made her fourth start of the season, all in the last four games.
GETTING IN THE GAME
In the loss to Indiana on Jan. 20, several Spartans set highs in minutes played. Junior center Jenna Allen played a season-high 32 minutes, tying her career-high. Redshirt-sophomore forward Victoria Gaines played a career-high 37 minutes, while redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee played a season-high minutes with 38. Sophomore guard Nia Hollie tied her career-high with 31 minutes against Michigan on Jan. 23
Overall, McCutcheon leads the team in minutes, averaging 29.9 mpg. In league contests, McCutcheon has been playing 31.7 mpg to lead the Spartans.
The Spartans have reached the half-way point of Big Ten play with a 4-4 record. Last season at this point, Michigan State was also 4-4, standing 3-1 at home and 1-3 on the road. This season has only played three games at home in league play with a 1-2 record. The Spartans are 3-2 on the road. Last season, MSU scored 72.8 ppg, while allowing 66.5 ppg. In 2017-18, the Spartans are scoring 68.2 ppg, while only allowing 63.4 ppg.
Last season, MSU was led by Tori Jankoska who averaged 22.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game through the first eight league contests. Branndais Agee also averaged in double-figures with 10.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg. This season through eight contests, three players are in double figures, led by Shay Colley’s 11.5 ppg. Agee is second with 11.0 ppg, while Sidney Cooks adds 10.4 ppg.
ANATOMY OF AN UPSET
On Jan. 11, Michigan State earned its first-ever win against Maryland. The Spartans are now 1-10 against the Terps. MSU is just the second team to earn a Big Ten win against Maryland, along with Ohio State which has three wins against UMD. Maryland joined the league in 2015.
Freshman forward Sidney Cooks posted her fourth double-digit outing in the last five games as part of her 11th double-figure scoring game of the season against Michigan on Jan. 23. Cooks led MSU in scoring with 17 points, marking her team-leading sixth game leading MSU in scoring. The Spartans are now 4-2 this season when Cooks is top scorer. Cooks’ 17 points and her seven field goals were both highs for Big Ten games, one shy in both categories of her season-bests. The freshman leads the Spartans in scoring with 10.7 ppg. She is also MSU’s leading rebounder with 5.3 rpg.
DID YOU KNOW?
Michigan State has faced five ranked teams, standing 2-3 in those contests. The Spartans have risen to the occasion with several players setting career highs against ranked foes. Against No. 2 Notre Dame, junior center Jenna Allen set a new career high with 28 points, the most on the team this season. Against No. 22 South Florida, redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley added a career-high with 27 points. Finally, against No. 11 Maryland, sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon set a new high with 25 points. Against No. 16 Michigan, Sidney Cooks was one point shy of tying her season high when she scored 17 points.
BREAKING INTO THE RECORD BOOK
Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon has cracked the top 20 in career assists after only 53 games in the Spartan uniform. McCutcheon has 271 career assists for an average of 5.1 assists per game. She passed Jasmine Thomas (2009-13) for 20th on the all-time MSU career list with 268 assists. She is just five assists away from tying All-American Aerial Powers (2014-16) for 19th in career assists with 276.
GETTING THE TAKEAWAYS
With 10 steals against Maryland on Jan. 11, the Spartans have had three-straight games in double-digits. This was the ninth time this season that Michigan State has had at least 10 steals. McCutcheon led the way with four takeaways, while Nia Hollie and Shay Colley added two. Last season, the Spartans had only three games with double-digit steals. During 2016-17, MSU’s season-high in steals was 12 against Wyoming on Nov. 13 and Quinnipiac on Dec. 6.
LEADING THE STAT LINE
Nine different Spartans have led the team in scoring in the first 21 games of the season. Sidney Cooks has led the team five times. Shay Colley, Branndais Agee and have both led the team in scoring four times. Taryn McCutcheon and Jenna Allen were the top scorer two times. Taya Reimer, Kennedy Johnson, Mardrekia Cook 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 tied for second in scoring, averaging 10.6 points and 4.7 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 nine times in 21 games this season.
AROUND THE BIG TEN
Sophomore Taryn McCutcheon is tied for fourth in assists with Nebraska’s Hannah Whitish. They are both behind Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell, Iowa’s Kathleen Doyle and Maryland’s Channise Lewis, averaging 5.1 apg. McCutcheon 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 tied for eighth in assists with 4.3 per game. Colley is also sixth in the B1G in steals, averaging 2.2 spg. McCutcheon is tied for 12th with 1.8 spg.
MSU is second in the league assists, averaging 18.1 apg. Iowa is first in the conference in assists with 22.0 apg. Michigan State is now third in rebound margin (+8.4) and third in steals (9.4 spg). The Spartans are third in the B1G in defensive rebounding percentage (.708) and second in offensive rebounding percentage (.398).
In league contests, MSU is fourth in scoring defense (63.4) and rebound margin (+4.5).
AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is 29-49 against ranked teams, including 18-14 at home, 7-20 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 2-3 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 and upset No. 11 Maryland on the road, 82-68. On Jan. 23, MSU fell to No. 16 Michigan, 74-48.
SCOUTING THE BUCKEYES
For the first time this season, Ohio State has lost three-straight games, falling to Michigan, Maryland and Iowa. All three teams are ranked. OSU fell on the road to Iowa on Jan. 25, 103-89. This was the first time that Ohio State had allowed 100 points this season. Overall, the Buckeyes are 16-5 overall and 5-3 in league contests.
Ohio State is first in the Big Ten in scoring offense with 86.9 points per game, while allowing 74.0 which is 14th in the B1G. On the defensive side, OSU is fourth in the league in steals, averaging 9.0 spg.
Senior Kelsey Mitchell continues to dominate, leading the league in scoring with 25.9 ppg. Against Iowa, she scored 27 point to lead OSU. She is also eighth in the league in assists with 4.3 apg. Stephanie Mavunga is third in the conference in rebounds with 11.0 rpg. She is one of only three players in the Big Ten to averaged over 10.0 rpg.
LAST TIME VS. OHIO STATE
Tori Jankoska scored 42 points, breaking Michigan State’s single-game and all-time scoring record in a 94-75 win over No. 11 Ohio State on January, 10, 2017.
The 5-foot-8 senior guard started the night six points away from Aerial Powers’ scoring record of 1,817 and needed just a few minutes to surpass her with two 3-pointers and a layup.
She scored her final point on a free throw with 3:34 left, breaking Maxann Reese’s mark of 41 points on Jan. 29, 1999, against Iowa.
Jankoska was given a rousing ovation when she was taken out of the game, for the first time, with 1:06 left and 1,853 points.
Ohio State leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 53-28. The Spartans have had success lately against the Buckeyes, winning the last three. The teams met only once last season with All-American Tori Jankoska scoring a MSU record 42 points in the 94-75 win. The last time the two teams met in Columbus was a New Year’s Eve battle that saw OSU come out on top, 85-80 in 2015. The teams are 5-5 in their last five meetings.
AGAINST IN-STATE SCHOOLS
Michigan State has had great success against other collegiate programs in the state of Michigan over the past 15 seasons. Since the beginning of the 2002-03 season, the Spartans are 54-5 (.915) against in-state rivals, including a 39-5 (.886) mark under Coach Merchant. All-time, Michigan State is 187-60 (.757) against other Michigan schools.
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.
MCCUTCHEON EARNS B1G HONOR
Michigan State sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon was named Big Ten Women’s Basketball Co-Player of the Week on Jan. 15 after guiding the Spartans to their first-ever win over No. 11 Maryland last week. She shares the honor with Iowa’s Megan Gustafson, who scored a career-high 37 points on 17-of-23 field goals against Purdue.
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 1,116 career points. She is currently fifth in scoring for the Spartans, averaging 8.2 points per game.
BOUNCE BACK ABILITY
In Coach Merchant’s first 11 seasons, the Spartans are 72-27 (72.7%) following a loss.
TAKING ON THE BEST
In the first 21 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 NATION
The Spartans are 10th in the nation in assists with 381 and 15th in assists per game, averaging 18.1. The Spartans are also 10th in rebounds with 887. Michigan State is 35th in the nation in rebounds per game (42.2) and 26th in rebound margin (+8.4). MSU is ranks 20th in the nation in free throws made with 298. This week, Taryn McCutcheon is 50th in the nation in assists per game (5.1 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 10.5 points through the first 21 games of the season, which is fourth 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 170 of their last 177 games (.960) when leading with five minutes left, including 121 of their last 129. In Coach Merchant’s tenure, Michigan State is 205-12 (.945) when holding a lead with five minutes left. This season, the Spartans are 13-1.
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 still eighth in attendance, averaging 6,042 fans per game. They are now first in the Big Ten ahead of Purdue (5,843) and Ohio State (5,428). The Spartans had a season-high 11,950 fans on Alumni Day against Indiana on Jan. 20.
LAST TIME OUT
Michigan State lost at No. 16/16 Michigan, 74-48, Tuesday night at UM’s Crisler Center, as the short-handed Spartans battled the Wolverines resolutely, but suffered defeat.
The Spartans were playing short handed due to injuries, with all eight players that dressed getting playing time.
With the loss, MSU falls to 14-7 overall and 4-4 in Big Ten play, while Michigan improves to 18-4, 7-2 in league contests.
Freshman forward Sidney Cooks netted a team-best 17 points, one shy of her career-best and the most in a Big Ten contest. Redshirt-senior Branndais Agee added 12 points and pulled down a team-leading eight rebounds.
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 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.
After playing five of the last six games on the road, Michigan State returns home for five of the next six at the Breslin Center. MSU will host Iowa on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m.
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 12 times overall this season. MSU has won 117 of its last 128 games when scoring at least 70 points, and MSU is 134-18 under head coach Suzy Merchant when hanging at least 70 points on the scoreboard. This year, MSU is 11-1 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.
Ozment is a 6-1 guard/forward who plays for head coach Gene Durden at Buford High SchoolDurden 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.
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.
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