Spartans Travel to Ann Arbor for Super Bowl Sunday Matchup
Feb. 3, 2012
AGAINST THE WOLVERINES
AGAINST IN-STATE SCHOOLS
FIRST MEETING (MSU 60, UM 55 - Jan. 4)
Michigan State jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the first three-plus minutes. Michigan would put together a 12-1 run of its own to take a 17-12 lead with just under eight minutes to go in the half. The Spartans would retake a lead on a couple occasions, but went to the break down 27-24. The Wolverines maintained the lead in the opening minutes of the second half, but the Spartans posted an extended 19-5 run over a span of 10:53 to gain a lead it would not relinquish. The run, which brought the score to 48-38 MSU, was capped off by nine unanswered points, including six points and an assist from Hines. Michigan closed within three with 22 seconds left, but Kiana Johnson hit both ends of an 1-and-1 to seal the victory.
LAST TIME OUT (MSU 83, No. 18 PSU 77)
Unlike the last couple games, the Spartans came out with a fast start, jumping to a 10-5 lead in the first three minutes. PSU scored the next six to take its first lead of the game at 11-10. The lead would not last long, as MSU would later go on a 7-0 run to open a 23-15 lead with 10:32 to go. The margin remained at eight (30-22) with 6:28 on the clock, but the Nittany Lions closed the half on an 11-4 run to go, cutting the Spartans' halftime lead to 34-33.
The second half went back-and-forth early, seeing the game tied at 46 with 13:33 remaining. The Spartans would run off six straight points to open up a six-point margin, eventually growing to as much as nine (60-51) with 9:32 to go. Penn State would chip away and take a lead of its own at 72-69 with just under four minutes left. The two teams would match baskets, until a Poole pull up jumper with 1:37 left gave MSU a 76-75 lead which it would relinquish. A Klarissa Bell layup and free throws by Lykendra Johnson and Poole sealed the much-needed victory for the Spartans.
The Spartans' 83 points were the most since the second game of the season (113 vs. North Carolina A&T). It was their most points in a Big Ten game since scoring 86 vs. Michigan on Dec. 31, 2009. MSU shot 50.8% from the floor, its highest in Big Ten play, and its best percentage in a conference game since Feb. 12, 2009 at Indiana.
In Sunday's 83-77 upset over No. 18 Penn State, Poole topped her career high with 32 points. She shot 10-for-15, including going 3-for-4 from behind the arc, and made a career best nine free throws. Poole also matched her career highs in rebounds with six and assists with six in the game, while adding three steals. On Thursday, Poole originally posted a career high point total with 28 points, going 12-for-24 from the field. She also added three assists and three steals, while playing a career high 43 minutes.
AMONG ELITE COMPANY
With a 3-pointer early in the first half (16:23) at Texas on Dec. 10, Lykendra Johnson became the 22nd Spartan in program history to surpass 1,000 career points. She has now totaled 1,119 points in her MSU career, good for 17th place. Johnson will leave as one of the top rebounders in school history, currently second all-time in offensive rebounds (376) and third in rebounds (938). She is also the only Spartan to rank in the top-5 in both career blocks (fourth with 132) and steals (fifth with 213).
Johnson also is among the Michigan State leaders in each shooting category, ranking ninth in free throws made (273), 16th in 3-point field goals (58) and 19th in field goals (394). She is also eighth in career starts (106), 13th with 121 games played and 15th with 3,100 minutes played.
Johnson has scored in double-figures in each of her last three games, averaging 12.8 points during that span. She is third on the team in Big Ten games with a 9.7 average.
Johnson's assist-to-turnover ratio (1.65) is currently the best by a Spartan (with at least 2.0 assists a game) since the 2004-05 season, and ranks as the sixth-best at MSU since turnovers started being recorded in 1984.
Johnson leads the Spartans and is seventh in the Big Ten with 4.1 assists per game, and is third overall with a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio. She has increased her production in conference games, placing third in both assists with 5.1 and assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8. Johnson is second on the team in steals with 1.9 a game, tying for 10th in the Big Ten.
Among freshmen nationally, Johnson is ninth in assists and second in assist-to-turnover ratio. Within the conference freshmen, she is first in assist-to-turnover ratio, second in assists and steals, and fifth in points.
SPLASH IN THE POOLE
Poole has also set career high marks in almost every statistical category so far this season. She has already topped her season high totals in points, rebounds, assists and steals. Poole is also shooting a career best 46.9% from the field, which ranks second on the team and eighth in the Big Ten.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARDS
Johnson moved into the top-10 on the MSU career rebounding list last season and is currently third with 938 rebounds, surpassing both Kris Emerson and Allyssa DeHaan this past week. She is 26 rebounds shy of tying Kristen Rasmussen for second all-time at MSU. In terms of offensive rebounds, she is at an even quicker pace up the Spartan all-time charts. Since the stat began being recorded in 1986-87, Johnson has the second-most offensive rebounds all-time (376) and her 3.1 a game average is second to Liz Shimek (3.4).
In terms of all-time Big Ten rebounders, Johnson is 19th among conference student-athletes since the conference began sponsoring the sport prior to the 1981-82 season.
Earlier this season she set a career-high with 20 on Nov. 15 vs. IPFW. Those 20 rebounds were the seventh most ever by a Spartan and the most since Kristen Rasmussen grabbed 20 on Dec. 30, 1997. They are also the most in the Big Ten since Penn State's Nikki Greene had 20 on Jan. 23, 2011.
Johnson's value on the floor for the Spartans is undeniable. So far this season, MSU is +188 with her on the court, but are -37 when she is sitting on the bench. In Big Ten games last year, the Spartans were +187 with Johnson on the floor, but -49 when she was on the bench.
GETTING TO THE LINE
The Spartans have been 40-4 over the last three seasons when attempting more free throws than their opponent, including a 9-2 mark this season.
CRASHING THE BOARDS
MSU has out-rebounded 42 of its last 48 opponents dating back to last season, and was outrebounded only three this season (at Texas, at Penn State and vs. Indiana). Last season, Michigan State led the Big Ten in rebound margin, offensive rebounds and both rebound percentage categories. MSU was +8.4 in rebound margin, which was also ninth in the nation and broke the school's single-season record. The Spartans also topped the league with 15.5 offensive rebounds a game, which tied the previous record (2005-06).
DEFENDING BIG TEN CHAMPIONS
Michigan State went 13-3 in conference play last year and earned its first outright Big Ten regular season title, winning the conference by two games over Penn State. MSU also shared the Big Ten Regular Season Championship in 1997 and 2005. The Spartans have won at least 10 Big Ten games in nine straight seasons. It is tied for the longest active streak in the conference with Ohio State. MSU is 111-48 (69.8%) in conference play over the last 10 seasons, trailing only OSU in winning percentage.
300 AND 100
In the 31-year history of the Big Ten, Merchant has the 11th-best career winning percentage in conference games, winning 67.1% (53-26), and has the second highest percentage among active coaches.
Merchant claimed her 300th career victory on Nov. 22 at Milwaukee. All-time, Merchant is 309-170 (.645) in her 17 years as a head coach, including stops at Eastern Michigan (1998-07) and Saginaw Valley State (1995-98).
ON THIS DATE
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