Spartans Host Iowa on National Girls and Women in Sports Day
MSU returns home for five of the final seven regular-season games.
|Michigan State (14-8, 4-5 B1G) vs. Iowa (16-6, 4-5 B1G)|
|Date||Thursday, Feb. 1|
|Time||6 p.m. ET|
|Location||East Lansing, Mich. | Breslin Center | Bag Policy|
|Tickets||Click To Purchase|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network | WJIM-AM 1240|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Iowa|
|Statistics||Michigan State | Iowa|
|Promotions||National Girls and Women in Sports Day|
|Social Media||@MSU_WBasketball | Facebook | Instagram|
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State returns home to open the final month of the regular season, taking on Iowa on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on BTN with Chris Vosters and Vera Jones on the call. The Spartans are currently 14-8 this season and 4-5 in league play. The Hawkeyes are 16-6 overall and 4-5 in Big Ten action. The Spartans are looking to snap a three-game losing streak.
• Michigan State will celebrate the annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day against Iowa on Feb. 1. This year marks the 32nd year of the event that is national observance celebrating the extraordinary achievements of women and girls in sports. MSU’s women’s programs will be honored at halftime.
• Sidney Cooks is rising up the Michigan State freshman record books. With 238 points this season, she is just 16 points from breaking the top 15 in the freshman record books, currently held by Kelli Roehrig who scored 254 her rookie campaign (2001-02).
• Nine different Spartans have led the team in scoring in the first 22 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 Jenna Allen has led the team three times. Taryn McCutcheon has been the team’s leader two times. Taya Reimer, Kennedy Johnson, Mardrekia Cook and Victoria Gaines have all led the team in scoring.
• After playing only two home games in the month of January, the Spartans will play five of their final seven regular-season games at the friendly confines of the Breslin Center.
The injury-ravaged Spartans have used nine different starting lineups this season. Against Ohio State on Jan. 27 with freshman forward Sidney Cooks, redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee, sophomore forward/guard Nia Hollie, sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon and junior center Jenna Allen all earned starts.
After starting the first 20 games of 2017-18, sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon did not start for the first time this season against Michigan on Jan. 23, snapping her streak of starting in all 53 games of her Spartan career. She returned to the lineup against Ohio State for her 54th career start.
Agee made her 12th start of the season and 74th of her career against Ohio State. Allen made her 14th-straight start and 19th of the season as well as the 22nd of her career. Cooks started for the 19th time this season, including the last 17 games. Hollie made her fifth start of the season, all in the last five games.
In the last five games as injuries have mounted for the Spartans, Sidney Cooks and Branndais Agee have stood out as offensive threats. Cooks has averaged 12.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game over the last five contests. Agee has averaged 11.0 points and 6.0 boards per game. Cooks has scored in double figures in four of the last five games, including 17 against Michigan on Jan. 23.
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. Against Ohio State on Jan. 27, Taryn McCutcheon tied a season-high with 39 minutes.
Overall, McCutcheon leads the team in minutes, averaging 30.3 mpg. In league contests, McCutcheon has been playing 32.6 mpg to lead the Spartans.
A LOOK AT THE STANDINGS
Just past the midpoint of conference play, the Spartans sit tied for eighth with Iowa and Penn State, all sitting at 4-5, just behind Rutgers at 5-4, while Minnesota and Purdue are both 5-3. Maryland sits atop the standings at 7-1, followed by Michigan (8-2), Nebraska (7-2) and Ohio State (6-3). Below the logjam at 4-5 is Indiana (4-6), Northwestern (2-7), Wisconsin (2-8) and Illinois (0-9). Maryland has won nine of its last 10 games, while Michigan has won six in a row as part of eight of its last 10. On the flip side, Wisconsin has lost eight of its last 10 and Illinois has lost 10 in a row.
LEAVING YOUR MARK
Redshirt senior Branndais Agee is leaving her mark on the Michigan State program. Agee entered the career record books with 632 rebounds. She is now 20th, passing current Michigan State graduate assistant Kalisha Keane, who had 624 during her MSU career (2007-11). Agee is also 20th in scoring with 1,145 career points. With 56 blocks, she is 16th career blocks, just one shy of Kris Emerson (1983-87) who is 15th with 57. Agee is also 19th career games played with 125.
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 fifth double-digit outing in the last six games as part of her 12th double-figure scoring game of the season against Ohio State on Jan. 27. The Spartans are 4-2 this season when Cooks is top scorer. She is tied for the team lead in scoring with 10.8 ppg. She is also MSU’s leading rebounder with 5.3 rpg.
Cooks is also third in scoring among freshmen 10.8 ppg behind Northwestern’s Lindsey Pulliam (14.2 ppg) and Minnesota’s Destiny Pitts (13.6 ppg). Cooks is fourth among freshmen in rebounding, averaging 5.3 rpg.
DID YOU KNOW?
Michigan State has faced six ranked teams, standing 2-4 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 54 games in the Spartan uniform. McCutcheon has 277 career assists for an average of 5.1 assists per game. She passed All-American Aerial Powers (2014-16) for 19th in career assists, who had 276 assists in three seasons. McCutcheon is now just three assists from tying Cheri Euler (1993-97) for 18th with 280 assists.
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 22 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. Jenna Allen has been the top scorer three times. Taryn McCutcheon was 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 first in scoring, averaging 10.8 points and 5.2 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 13th with 1.7 spg.
MSU is third in the league assists, averaging 17.9 apg. Iowa is first in the conference in assists with 21.7 apg. Michigan State is now third in rebound margin (+8.1) and third in steals (9.2 spg). The Spartans are second in the B1G in defensive rebounding percentage (.712) and second in offensive rebounding percentage (.392).
In league contests, MSU is fourth in scoring defense (65.0) and rebound margin (+4.3).
AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is 29-50 against ranked teams, including 18-14 at home, 7-21 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 2-4 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, while falling to No. 12 OSU, 78-62 on Jan. 27.
SCOUTING THE HAWKEYES
Iowa comes to East Lansing with a 16-6 overall record. The Hawkeyes and the Spartans are tied for eighth in the league standings with matching 4-5 records. Penn State also stands 4-5. Iowa has lost four of its last five games with an upset win over Ohio State, 103-89, on Jan. 25. UI also has conference wins over Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois.
Iowa is first in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.486) and free throw percentage (.770). The Hawkeyes are also first in assists (21.7 apg) and blocked shots (5.8 bpg). In league contests, Iowa is third in field goal percentage (.447) and free throw percentage (.791), as well as first in assists (18.7).
Megan Gustafson is second in the conference in scoring, averaging 24.0 ppg, while standing first in rebounds with 12.3 rpg. Kathleen Doyle is second on the team in scoring and 29th in scoring 11.7 ppg. Gustafson also leads the league in field goal percentage (.663). Doyle is second in assists (6.4 apg). Gustafson’s 37 points against Purdue tied for the most in Big Ten play this year.
LAST TIME VS. IOWA
In just their second overtime game of the season, Michigan State women’s basketball dropped a hard-fought overtime battle with Iowa, 87-83, in Iowa City on Feb. 9. 2017.
Despite a slow start, senior guard Tori Jankoska led all scorers with 32 points. She is now just six points away from becoming the first Spartan to reach the 2,000 point mark. She also had her fourth-straight double-double with 11 rebounds. Senior forward Taya Reimer added 14 points and six boards for the Spartans.
Iowa had five players in double figures led by 25 points from Ally Disterhoft, who also added 12 rebounds for the double-double.
Iowa leads the all-time season series 36-28. The teams met once last season in Iowa City with the Hawkeyes edging out the Spartans, 87-83. Michigan State has captured eight of the last nine meeting in East Lansing. Overall, MSU is 15-14 all-time against Iowa at home. The last time the teams met at the Breslin Center, MSU came out on top 80-73 on Jan. 16, 2016.
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 72-28 (72.0%) following a loss.
TAKING ON THE BEST
In the first 22 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 12th in the nation in assists with 394 and 16th in assists per game, averaging 17.9. The Spartans are also 16th in rebounds with 928. Michigan State is 34th in the nation in rebounds per game (42.2) and 27th in rebound margin (+8.1). MSU is ranks 33rd in the nation in free throws made with 305. 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 22 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 (5,937) and Ohio State (5,557). The Spartans had a season-high 11,950 fans on Alumni Day against Indiana on Jan. 20.
LAST TIME OUT
A fourth-quarter surge by No. 12 Ohio State pushed the Buckeyes passed the Michigan State women’s basketball team, 78-62, on Saturday afternoon at OSU’s Value Center Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Junior center Jenna Allen led the Spartans in scoring with 16 points and added five rebounds. Freshman forward Sidney Cooks recorded 14 points and six boards. MSU welcomed back sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon, who missed one game due to injury, and senior guard/forward Lexi Gussert, who missed five games due to injury. McCutcheon added nine points and six assists.
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. The Spartans will then travel to Penn State on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 2 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.
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.