MSU Travels to Penn State Sunday
The Spartans take on the Nittany Lions in the only regular-season meeting.
|Michigan State (14-9, 4-6 B1G) at Penn State (13-10, 4-6 B1G)|
|Date||Sunday, Feb. 4|
|Time||2 p.m. ET|
|Location||University Park, Pa.| Bryce Jordan Center|
|Tickets||Click To Purchase|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network | WJIM-AM 1240|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Penn State|
|Statistics||Michigan State | Penn State|
|Internet Coverage||Live Stats|
|Social Media||@MSU_WBasketball | Facebook | Instagram|
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State will hit the road for a Super Bowl Sunday matchup against Penn State on February 4 at 2 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center. The game will be broadcast on BTN Plus. The Spartans are currently 14-9 this season and 4-6 in league play. The Nittany Lions are 13-10 overall and 4-6 in Big Ten action. The Spartans are looking to snap a four-game losing streak, while PSU has lost two-straight games. It is also National Girls and Women in Sports Day for the Nittany Lions.
• MSU grabbed 14 steals as a team against Iowa on Feb. 1, one steal shy of a season high. The season high for the team is 15 steals set against the College of Charleston on Nov. 19. This is the 10th time this season the team has swiped 10 or more steals. The Spartans were led by a season-high six steals by redshirt-senior Branndais Agee against the Hawkeyes.
• Sidney Cooks is rising up the Michigan State freshman record books. With 254 points this season, breaking into the top 15 in the freshman record books, currently tied with Kelli Roehrig who scored 254 her rookie campaign (2001-02). She collected at team-high 16 points for MSU against Iowa also adding eight boards and one block. Cooks has scored in double figures a team-leading 13 times this year.
• With a 4-6 Big Ten record, the Spartans are currently in a three-way tie for eighth with Penn State and Indiana. Maryland is atop the standing with an 8-1 mark with its only loss coming against Michigan State on Jan. 11.
• 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 Iowa on Feb. 1 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 against Iowa she earned her 55th career start.
Agee made her 13th start of the season and 75th of her career against Ohio State. Allen made her 15th-straight start and 19th of the season as well as the 23rd of her career. Cooks started for the 20th time this season, including the last 18 games. Hollie made her sixth start of the season, all in the last six games.
The Spartans are currently 1-1 in overtime games this season. MSU played its first overtime game of the season with an 83-74 road win over East Tennessee State on Dec. 16. Michigan State lost its second OT game, 71-68 against Iowa on Feb. 1. Last season, the Spartans were 1-2 in overtime games with at home against Western Michigan and road losses to Iowa and Nebraska. Overall, MSU is 33-21 in overtime games.
Redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley injured her knee against Illinois on Jan. 16. Since her injury, the Spartans have been struggling offensively. Since Colley’s injury, MSU is 0-4, averaging only 60.8 points per game, while allowing 73.0 ppg. Michigan State is shooting only 37.4 percent from the field and 23.2 percent from beyond the arc. Freshman forward Sidney Cooks is leading the Spartans in scoring during Colley’s absence, averaging 13.3 ppg.
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 Iowa on Feb. 1, Taryn McCutcheon tied a season-high with 43 minutes.
Overall, McCutcheon leads the team in minutes, averaging 30.9 mpg. In league contests, McCutcheon has been playing 32.6 mpg to lead the Spartans.
A LOOK AT THE STANDINGS
Entering the first weekend of the second half of the B1G ledger, with four weeks to go until the B1G Tournament, Michigan State and Penn State are tied for ninth along with Indiana, all with 4-6 league ledger. Iowa and Rutgers are tied for seventh both at 5-5, while Minnesota and Purdue are tied for fifth with 6-3 marks. Maryland is perched at the top of the league table with an 8-1 mark, half-a-game ahead of Nebraska at 8-2. Michigan is third with an 8-3 record and Ohio State is fourth at 7-3. Below the 4-6 logjam with MSU, PSU and Indiana is Northwestern (2-7), Wisconsin (2-9) and Illinois (0-10). Maryland’s won nine of its last 10 games, while Nebraska has won eight of its last 10 outings, currently on a five-game win streak. On the flip side, Wisconsin has lost eight of its last 10 and Illinois has lost 11 in a row.
LEAVING YOUR MARK
Redshirt senior Branndais Agee is leaving her mark on the Michigan State program. She is now 18th in career rebounds with 640, passing Lil Preston (1980-83), who had 639 during her MSU career. Agee is also 18th in scoring with 1,159 career points, passing former teammate Becca Mills who scored 1,158 points (2011-15). With 56 blocks, she is 16th career blocks, just one shy of Kris Emerson (1983-87) who is 15th with 57. Agee is also tied for 17th career games played with 126.
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 sixth double-digit outing in the last seven games as part of her 13th double-figure scoring game of the season against Iowa on Feb. 1. The Spartans are 4-3 this season when Cooks is top scorer. She is first on the team in scoring with 11.0 ppg. She is also MSU’s leading rebounder with 5.4 rpg.
Cooks is also third in scoring among freshmen 11.0 ppg behind Northwestern’s Lindsey Pulliam (14.2 ppg) and Minnesota’s Destiny Pitts (13.0 ppg). Cooks is tied for third among freshmen in rebounding, averaging 5.4 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 55 games in the Spartan uniform. McCutcheon has 289 career assists for an average of 5.3 assists per game. She passed Carlotta Taylor (1986-90) for 17th in career assists, who had 283 assists in her Spartan career. McCutcheon is now just two assists from tying Spartan great Maxann Reese (1996-00) for 16th with 291 assists.
GETTING THE TAKEAWAYS
The Spartans were one steal shy of their season when they had 14 against Iowa on Feb. 1. The season high for the team is 15 steals set against the College of Charleston on Nov. 19. This was the 10th time this season that Michigan State has had at least 10 steals. Branndais Agee led the way with a season-high six takeaways, while Taryn McCutcheon added three and Lexi Gussert 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 23 games of the season. Sidney Cooks has led the team six 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.
AROUND THE BIG TEN
Sophomore Taryn McCutcheon is third in the Big Ten in assists, averaging 5.5 apg. She is behind Iowa’s Kathleen Doyle and Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell. McCutcheon tied a career high with 12 against Iowa on Feb. 1. 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 10th with 1.8 spg.
MSU is third in the league assists, averaging 18.0 apg. Iowa is first in the conference in assists with 21.7 apg. Michigan State is still third in rebound margin (+7.2) and third in steals (9.4 spg). The Spartans are second in the B1G in defensive rebounding percentage (.710) and second in offensive rebounding percentage (.384).
In league contests, MSU is fifth in scoring defense (65.6) and rebound margin (+2.5). The Spartans are second in assist/turnover ratio (1.2).
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 NITTANY LIONS
Penn State has a 13-10 overall and 4-6 B1G record. The Nittany Lions have lost their last two games, which were both on the road, after winning the previous three games. Last time out, Penn State lost, 94-64, at No. 17/18 Ohio State on Wednesday. Sophomore guard Jaida Travascio-Green led the Nittany Lions with 14 points, netting four 3-pointers. Junior guard Teniya Page added 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Sophomore guard Amari Carter snared a career-best nine boards, adding 12 points and dishing out a team-high three assists.
Penn State head coach Coquese Washington is in her 11th season at the helm of the Nittany Lion program, posting a 195-145 record. Washington is 6-11 vs. Michigan State.
The Nittany Lions are eighth in the B1G in scoring offense (69.8 ppg) and 10th in scoring defense (68.7 ppg), ranking 10th in scoring margin (+1.1). PSU is also seventh in free throw percentage (.725), 13th in field goal percentage (.400) and 10th in 3-point percentage (.333).
Page is tied for eighth in the conference in scoring (17.9 ppg), while Carter is 13th (14.7 ppg) and Travascio-Green is 26th (12.3 ppg). Sophomore forward De’Janae Boykin is tied for sixth in rebounding (8.7 rpg). Defensively, Carter is second in steals (2.6 spg), while junior forward Jaylen Williams is seventh in blocked shots (1.4 bpg). Carter is also fifth in minutes played (35.8 mpg).
LAST TIME VS. PENN STATE
Michigan State women’s basketball overcame a 19-point third-quarter deficit to rally for a 73-64 win over Penn State On Feb. 22, 2017 at the Breslin Center. The comeback victory sparked the Spartans’ celebrations on a successful Senior Night celebration honoring their lone senior, Tori Jankoska.
After Jankoska was held scoreless in the first half, she rallied with 21 second-half points, for a palindromic double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds.
The win was MSU’s third in a row and sixth in the last eight as the Spartans improved to 19-9 overall and 9-6 in Big Ten Conference action.
Penn State holds a 28-17 series lead over Michigan State. The Spartans have won three of the last four meeting, including a 19-point comeback on Senior Day last season in East Lansing. 73-64. The last time the teams met in University Park, MSU defeated PSU, 74-51. All-American Tori Jankoska and Aerial Powers both scored 21 points in the win. Overall the Spartans are 6-16 on the road and 9-10 in East Lansing. The teams are 2-2 on neutral territory.
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.
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 1,120 career points. She is currently sixth in scoring for the Spartans, averaging 7.9 points per game.
BOUNCE BACK ABILITY
In Coach Merchant’s first 11 seasons, the Spartans are 72-29 (71.3%) following a loss.
TAKING ON THE BEST
In the first 23 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 415 and 16th in assists per game, averaging 18.0. The Spartans are also 16th in rebounds with 966. Michigan State is 37th 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 35th in the nation in assists per game (5.5 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 178 games (.955) when leading with five minutes left, including 121 of their last 130. In Coach Merchant’s tenure, Michigan State is 205-13 (.940) when holding a lead with five minutes left. This season, the Spartans are 13-2.
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 5.943 fans per game. They are first in the Big Ten ahead of Purdue (5,937) and Ohio State (5,548). The Spartans had a season-high 11,950 fans on Alumni Day against Indiana on Jan. 20.
LAST TIME OUT
In a back-and-forth game with 13 ties and eight lead changes, Michigan State women’s basketball fell to Iowa, 71-68, in overtime on Thursday at the Breslin Center on National Girls and Women in Sports Day.
Freshman forward Sidney Cooks led the team with 16 points and eight rebounds, earning her 13th double-figure scoring game of the season. Cooks now has 254 points during her rookie campaign which places her 15th among MSU freshmen. Senior-redshirt guard Branndais Agee added 14 points, eight rebounds and a season-high six steals. Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon had her third career double-double with 12 points and tied a career-high with 12 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 taking on Penn State on the road on Feb. 4, the Spartan return to the Breslin Center for four-straight home games. MSU hosts Maryland on Feb. 8 and in-state rival Michigan on Feb. 11. Michigan State will also take on Nebraska on Feb. 14 and conclude the lengthy homestand against Wisconsin on Feb. 21.
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.