Spartans and Hawkeyes Meet for the Only Time This Season
 
 
 
Sophomore Kalisha Keane has averaged 14.0 points and 4.0 assists over her last three games.
 
Sophomore Kalisha Keane has averaged 14.0 points and 4.0 assists over her last three games.
 
 

Jan. 28, 2009

Michigan State Spartans (14-6, 7-2) vs.
Iowa Hawkeyes (12-7, 5-3)

Date: Thursday, Jan. 29
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Arena: Breslin Center
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

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Head Coach Suzy Merchant Weekly Press Conference (Video | Audio)

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Allyssa DeHaan | Courtney Schiffauer

Michigan State to Celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day
During Thursday game, the Michigan State athletic department will host its annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Each Spartan women's team will be present on the concourse prior to the game, interacting with the their fans, and will be honored on the court at halftime. NGWSD, which will be celebrated nationally on Feb. 4, is a special day for girls and women to celebrate their participation in sports and athletics.

 

 

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 (34.1%), 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.5%), rebounds (43.5), rebound margin (+9.6), offensive rebounds (15.20), defensive rebounds (28.35) and blocked shots (5.65). They are also second in scoring margin (+11.6), and third in scoring offense (67.3), scoring defense (55.7), assists (15.40), turnovers forced (18.6) and rebounds allowed (34.0).

Junior Allyssa DeHaan is second in the Big Ten in blocks with 3.15, and also eighth with a 47.3 field goal percentage. Also in the conference's top-10 is redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson (seventh in free throw percentage - 78.2%) and sophomore Kalisha Keane (sixth with 1.95 steals per game).

Stepping It Up in Conference Play
Junior Allyssa DeHaan has improved her numbers in Big Ten play, averaging 12.9 points and 7.7 rebounds, both tied for ninth in the conference. DeHaan is also second with 2.22 blocks per game and eighth with a 47.3 field goal percentage. Meanwhile, redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson is ninth in offensive rebounds (2.75), sophomore Kalisha Keane is sixth with 2.00 steals and sophomore Brittney Thomas is tied for seventh with 3.56 assists per game.

As a team, MSU leads in 3-point field goal percentage defense (24.1%), rebound margin (+7.2), rebounds (42.3) and offensive rebounds (15.22). They are also second in field goal percentage defense (35.6%).

Statistically Savvy (NCAA Edition)
Entering the week, the Spartans are among the nation's top-40 in seven major statistical categories, including being in the top 20 in four. MSU is sixth in field goal percentage defense (34.1%), 11th in rebound margin (+9.6), 13th in blocked shots (5.7) and 18th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.5%). In addition, the Spartans are 35th in scoring defense (55.7), 36th in assists (15.4) and 39th in scoring margin (+11.7).

Individually, junior Allyssa DeHaan is tied for sixth in the country in blocked shots with 3.2 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 13-0 when its opponent have been held to 60 points or less and 10-0 when below 31% from the field.
- MSU is 10-1 when it grabs more than 40 rebounds and also 12-1 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 10-0 when it goes to the free throw line 20 or more times and is 11-1 when it attempts more than the opposition.
- The Spartans are 11-1 when they have a higher 3-point field goal percentage and 7-0 when they make more 3-pointers.
- Michigan State is 7-1 when they score more than 70 points.
- MSU is 11-1 when they create more points off turnovers.
- The Spartans are 10-1 when scoring first and 12-0 when leading at halftime.

Keeping Them Under 60
The Spartans are currently riding a five-game winning streak, dating back to the win against Northwestern on Jan. 8. During the stretch, MSU has held each opponent under 60 points. It is the first time in program history that they have held five-straight Big Ten opponents under 60 points. Over the five games, the opposition is averaging only 50.4 points, while shooting just 33.5% from the field and 21.6% from behind the arc.

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 17-1 record, including a 7-0 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 12-0 this season and are 48-14 in her career. Also, when she leads the team in scoring, MSU is 30-4, including a 7-0 record this season. Meanwhile, MSU is 27-11 when Jefferson tallies double-figures, including a 8-4 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 41.9% of the possible rebounds in the offensive zone (Ohio State is second at 37.9%). MSU set a season-high with 25 offensive rebounds last Thursday at Northwestern. It was the most offensive rebounds in a game by MSU since the Spartans grabbed 27 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 19, 2004.

By contrast, the Spartans have allowed only 12.9 offensive rebounds per game and have allowed the opposition to grab only 31.2% of their possible offensive rebounds. During the five-game winning streak, MSU had allowed only 10.6 offensive rebounds per game, including a season-low four to Penn State on Sunday, and allowed the opposition to grab only 27.7%.

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 506 points (25.3 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 153 points (915-762), but when she is sitting, MSU has trailed by 17 points (243-260).

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 13 of the last 17 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 in the first meeting. For the season, the starting post players have combined to average only 15.2 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 18th nationally ranked 3-point field goal percentage defense over the last seven games. During the span, the Spartans are holding their opponents to a 21.5% (28-of-130) clip, including a season-low 17.1% (6-of-35) effort by Michigan (Jan. 15).

Limiting the Mistakes
Michigan State struggled with turnovers in the first half of the season. Through 17 games, the Spartans were averaging a league-worst 21.4 turnovers per game, but over the last three games, the turnover number is down to 15.7 per game. In addition, through the first 17, MSU was -50 in turnover margin and had a 0.71 assist to turnover margin, but over the last three, they are +12 in turnover margin and have a 1.06 A:TO ratio.

Road Warriors
After losing all four of their non-conference road games, the Spartans have bounced back to win four of their first five road Big Ten games this season. The four wins ties for the sixth most conference road wins in program history. The 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2006-07 teams won six game, while the 1987-88 and 1990-91 squads posted five wins. Three of those wins came in places where MSU has historically struggled; the Spartans entered the games 1-13 at Penn State, 4-21 at Purdue and 12-16 at Northwestern.

Success in the Classroom
Michigan State has not just had success this season on the court. The Spartans also posted a team grade point average of 3.00 for the fall semester. In addition, five members of the team were named to the Dean's List - junior Mandy Piechowski (3.88 GPA), sophomore Brittney Thomas (3.88), freshman Taylor Alton (3.75), redshirt senior Mia Johnson (3.57) and junior Allyssa DeHaan (3.54).

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 195-73 (.728) at Breslin and have been even more dominant of late in its cozy confines, posting a mark of 60-10 since 2003, including a 8-1 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 second in the Big Ten and 13th in the country, averaging 5,634 fans through nine games. On Sunday, MSU hosted 10,489 fans, the seventh most in program history, in its game against Wisconsin.

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 (12th 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), three Spartans are in the top-10 in scoring and three are among the top-15 rebounders.

Jefferson is third in scoring averaging 20.7 points per 40 minutes (trailing only Ohio State's Jantel Lavender - 26.0 and Penn State's Tyra Grant - 24.0). Also, classmate Lauren Aitch is fourth at 18.8 and DeHaan is ninth at 17.7. In regard to rebounding, redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson is third with 11.3 boards per 40 minutes (behind the Ohio State duo of Lavender - 13.3 and Star Allen - 12.7), while DeHaan is seventh (11.0) and Aitch is 12th (10.2).

In conference games, DeHaan's production per 40 minutes has increased to 18.9 points and 11.2 rebounds.

Taking Advantage of Freebies
The Spartans set a season-high at the free throw line on Sunday at Northwestern, hitting 22-of-24 (91.7%), including a perfect 14-of-14 in the second half. It was the best percentage by MSU since Nov. 26, 2007 at Delaware State, when the Spartans went 16-of-17 (94.1%). The combination of Brittney Thomas (6-of-6), Lykendra Johnson (6-of-6), Allyssa DeHaan (5-of-5) and Kalisha Keane (4-of-4) were perfect from the charity stripe.

During the five-game winning streak, the Spartans have been going to the line more often. In the five games, MSU has attempted 24.4 free throws per game, in comparison, in the first four conference games, they went to the line an average of 14.0 times per game. For the season, Michigan State has attempted 20.8 per game, most in the Big Ten.

Multiple Spartans have increased their success from the free throw line of late. DeHaan is 20 of her last 24 from the stripe (83.3%) over her last five games, Thomas is 11-of-12 (91.7%) over the last three and Aisha Jefferson is 7-of-8 (87.5%) during the last two contests. In addition, Johnson had a streak of 15-in-a-row snapped on Sunday, but has hit 30 of her last 37 (81.1%) and Keane is 29-of-33 for the season (87.9%).

Among Big Ten Freshmen
The Spartans have received contributions from their four newcomers throughout the season, especially now with the addition of Lykendra Johnson and Courtney Schiffauer into the starting lineup.

Among fellow freshmen in the conference, both Johnson and Schiffauer rank in the top-10 almost every statistical category. Johnson leads in blocked shots, is second in rebounds, third in free throw percentage, fourth in field goal percentage, fifth in steals, and seventh in scoring and assists. In Big Ten games, Johnson leads in rebounding, is second in scoring, and is third in field goal percentage, free throw percentage, assists and blocks.

Meanwhile, Schiffauer is second in field goal percentage, seventh in rebounding and eighth in scoring. Classmate Porsche Poole is sixth in assists and eighth in steals in overall games, but third in steals and fourth in assists in conference games. Over the past six games, Poole is averaging 1.8 assists and 1.2 steals in only 10.2 minutes, having averaged 1.0 assists and 0.4 steals in her first 10 games (9.7 mpg).

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 13th on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,162 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 26 blocks shy of the Big Ten career mark. She is currently third all-time with 358, 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 122 blocks shy of the NCAA record.

On this Date
Michigan State is 6-3 all-time on January 29.

RPI Watch
The Spartans currently have a RPI of 55 according to CollegeRPI.com, with the Big Ten Conference ranking fifth in the nation as a whole. MSU is seventh in the conference, trailing Ohio State (12), Indiana (24), Purdue (34), Wisconsin (36), Iowa (38) and Minnesota (40). Michigan State's strength of schedule is 66th.

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 www.msuspartans.com. MSU hosted for the first time in 2007.

About Iowa
Iowa, with its 77-69 win over Michigan on Monday night, is riding a four-game conference winning streak to improve to 12-7 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes are 3-4 on the road this season, including a 2-2 mark in league play. Iowa features a balanced offensive attack, with three players in double-figures and five averaging more than 8.3 points. Megan Skouby leads the way at 13.5 points, good for sixth in the Big Ten, followed closely by Kristi Smith (12.1) and Wendy Ausdemore (10.4). Two Hawkeyes are in the top-15 in rebounding with Kachine Alexander averaging 7.9 boards and JoAnn Hamlin gathering 7.2. Alexander is also one of three Hawkeyes in the top-15 in assists, leading the team and sixth in the Big Ten with 3.8 assists per game. As a team, Iowa is fourth in the Big Ten, averaging 66.1 points per game, but allows 60.5, ninth in the conference. The Hawkeyes are tops in the league in free throw percentage (78.7%) and 3-point field goal percentage (36.3%), and are second in field goal percentage (43.4%).

Against the Hawkeyes
Michigan State trails the all-time series, 30-22, but have won eight of the last 10 meetings. The two schools split their games last season, each winning on their home court. MSU is 11-13 all-time in East Lansing against Iowa.