Feb. 1, 2009
Michigan State Spartans (15-6, 8-2) at
Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-6, 6-3)
Date: Monday, Feb. 2
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Minneapolis, Minn.
Arena: Williams Arena
TV: Big Ten Network (Mark Neely - play-by-play; Mary Murphy - color analyst)
Radio: WVFN 730 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play)
Internet: Live Stats and Audio at www.msuspartans.com
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 (27.0%), rebounds (43.5), rebound margin (+9.6), offensive rebounds (15.33), defensive rebounds (28.14) and blocked shots (5.57). They are also second in scoring margin (+11.7), and third in scoring offense (67.4), scoring defense (55.7), field goal percentage (42.4%), assists (15.29), turnovers forced (18.6) and rebounds allowed (33.9).
Junior Allyssa DeHaan is second in the Big Ten in blocks with 3.14, and also sixth with a 47.3 field goal percentage. Also in the conference's top-10 is redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson (sixth in free throw percentage - 78.9%) 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 13.0 points (ninth in the Big Ten) and 7.3 rebounds (11th in the conference). DeHaan is also second with 2.30 blocks per game and eighth with a 47.2 field goal percentage. Meanwhile, redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson is seventh in offensive rebounds (2.80), sophomore Kalisha Keane is sixth with 2.00 steals and sophomore Brittney Thomas is tied for seventh in free throw percentage (80.0%), tied for ninth with 3.40 assists and tied for 10th with 1.50 steals.
As a team, MSU leads in field goal percentage defense (35.5%), 3-point field goal percentage defense (25.4%), rebound margin (+7.4), rebounds (42.3) and offensive rebounds (15.50).
Statistically Savvy (NCAA Edition)
Entering the week, the Spartans are among the nation's top-50 in seven major statistical categories, including being in the top 25 in four. MSU is fifth in field goal percentage defense (34.1%), 10th in rebound margin (+9.6), 14th in blocked shots (5.6) and 24th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (27.0%). In addition, the Spartans are 35th in scoring defense (55.7), 38th in scoring margin (+11.7) and 44th in assists (15.3).
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 14-0 when its opponent have been held to 60 points or less and 10-0 when held below 31% from the field.
- MSU is 11-1 when it grabs more than 40 rebounds and also 13-1 when it has a greater than five rebound margin.
- The Spartans are 7-1 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 12-1 when they create more points off turnovers and 10-1 when they have fewer turnovers than the opponent.
- The Spartans are 10-1 when scoring first and 13-0 when leading at halftime.
Keeping Them Under 60
The Spartans are currently riding a six-game winning streak, the longest in the Big Ten, 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 six-straight Big Ten opponents under 60 points. In all games, it ties the longest streak (having happened on two other occasions - 2001-02 and 2003-04), since MSU held the opponents under 60 in the program's first 32 games, ending on Feb. 8, 1975. Over the six games, the opposition is averaging only 51.3 points, while shooting just 33.8% from the field and 24.1% 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 13-0 this season and are 49-14 in her career. Also, when she leads the team in scoring, MSU is 31-4, including a 8-0 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 15.3 offensive rebounds a game and have grabbed 42.2% of the possible rebounds in the offensive zone (Ohio State is second at 37.8%). MSU set a season-high with 25 offensive rebounds at Northwestern (Jan. 22). 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 31.4% 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 525 points (25.0 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.
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 159 points (977-818), but when she is sitting, MSU has trailed by 11 points (249-260).
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 four games, the turnover number is down to 15.8 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 four, they are +14 in turnover margin and have a 1.00 A:TO ratio.
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).
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 18 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 15.7 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).
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 (13th in scoring) and Allyssa DeHaan (13th 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 20.2 points per 40 minutes (trailing only Ohio State's Jantel Lavender - 25.5 and Penn State's Tyra Grant - 23.7). Also, classmate Lauren Aitch is fifth at 18.6 and DeHaan is eighth at 18.0. In regard to rebounding, redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson is third with 11.5 boards per 40 minutes (behind the Ohio State duo of Lavender - 13.1 and Star Allen - 12.4), while DeHaan is eighth (11.0) and Aitch is 13th (10.2).
In conference games, DeHaan's production per 40 minutes has increased to 19.5 points and 10.9 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 six-game winning streak, the Spartans have been going to the line more often. In the six games, MSU has attempted 22.8 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 20.5 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 six games, Thomas is 13-of-14 (92.9%) over the last four 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 32 of her last 39 (82.1%) 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, fifth in field goal percentage, free throw percentage and steals, sixth in assists and seventh in scoring. In Big Ten games, Johnson leads in rebounding, is third in scoring, assists, blocks and free throw percentage, and fourth in field goal percentage.
Meanwhile, Schiffauer is tied for first in field goal percentage, sixth in rebounding and eighth in scoring. Classmate Porsche Poole is seventh in assists and eighth in steals in overall games, but fourth in steals in conference games.
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 1,176 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 23 blocks shy of the Big Ten career mark. She is currently third all-time with 361, 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 119 blocks shy of the NCAA record.
On this Date
Michigan State is 5-3 all-time on February 2, including a 81-61 win at Minnesota in 1996.
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 698-440 edge in points in the paint (+12.3 per game), a 297-196 edge in second chance points (+4.8), a 913-712 edge in rebounding (+9.6 per game) and have 117 blocks. MSU leads the Big Ten and are top-15 in the nation, in both rebound margin and blocks. Those seven players have combined for 1107 of the team's 1415 points (78.2%).
The Spartans currently have a RPI of 47 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 (25), Purdue (30), Minnesota (39), Wisconsin (40) and Iowa (42). Michigan State's strength of schedule is 65th.
Minnesota has been off its 43-40 win over Northwestern on Jan. 25. The Gophers, who were ranked nationally earlier this season, are 14-6 overall and are fifth in the Big Ten at 6-3. Minnesota is 9-1 at Williams Arena this season, including a 4-0 mark in conference action. The Gophers are in the middle of the pack in scoring offense (64.6; seventh) and scoring defense (58.2; sixth) in the league, but are towards the bottom in field goal percentage (40.3%; ninth) and field goal percentage defense (40.6%; 10th). They have had success from behind the arc, tying for second in the Big Ten with 6.05 made per game and third with a 36.2 percentage, and are also tops in the conference in turnover margin (+3.90).
Three Gophers average in double-figures and rank in the top-20 in the Big Ten, led by senior Emily Fox (12.5 ppg). Fox is also third in the league with 4.20 assists, fifth with 2.25 steals and leads with a 1.62 assist-to-turnover ratio. Junior Ashley Ellis-Milan is second on the team with 11.6 points and leads the team with 8.4 rebounds, good for seventh in the conference. Classmate Katie Ohm is the third in double-digits, averaging 11.1. Ohm leads the Big Ten with 2.8 3-point field goals made and is fourth with a 43.4 3-point field goal percentage.
Against the Gophers
Michigan State leads the all-time series, 32-17, but lost two of the three meetings last season. MSU is 12-10 in Minneapolis, but have not won there since Feb. 10, 2005 (0-2 in that span). Overall, the Spartans have won 10 of the last 13 meetings.
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.