Spartans Welcome No. 12/14 Ohio State to Breslin on Sunday
The battle of the top two teams in the Big Ten will tip at 2 p.m. on ESPN2.
Feb. 7, 2009
Michigan State Spartans (16-7, 9-3) vs.
No. 14/12 Ohio State (19-3, 10-1)
Date: Sunday, Feb. 8
Time: 2 p.m. ET
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Arena: Breslin Center
TV: ESPN2 (Eric Collins - play-by-play; Candace Parker - 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 (34.2%), 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.9%), rebound margin (+8.9), rebounds (42.8) and blocked shots (5.61). They are also second in scoring margin (+10.5) and offensive rebounds (15.04), and third in scoring defense (55.7).
Junior Allyssa DeHaan is second in the Big Ten in blocks with 3.13, while redshirt junior Lauren Aitch is seventh in field goal percentage (48.3%), sophomore Kalisha Keane is sixth with 1.96 steals per game, redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson is eighth in free throw percentage (77.8%) and sophomore Brittney Thomas is 10th with 3.24 assists.
In conference games, MSU leads in 3-point field goal percentage defense (25.5%) and rebounds (41.2), and is second in field goal percentage defense (35.5%), rebounds margin (+6.5) and offensive rebounds (14.92). Individually, DeHaan is 10th with 7.0 rebounds and is also second with 2.42 blocks per game. Meanwhile, Thomas is fifth in assists (3.58) and sixth in minutes played (35.58), Johnson is sixth in offensive rebounds (2.75), Keane is sixth with 2.00 steals and Aitch is eighth with a 47.6 field goal percentage.
Statistically Savvy (NCAA Edition)
Entering the weekend, the Spartans are among the nation's top-50 in seven major statistical categories, including being in the top 25 in four. MSU is sixth in field goal percentage defense (34.2%), 12th in rebound margin (+8.9), 13th in blocked shots (5.6) and 20th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.9%). In addition, the Spartans are 33rd in scoring defense (55.7), 44th in scoring margin (+10.5) and 42nd in assists (15.3).
Individually, junior Allyssa DeHaan is eighth in the country in blocked shots with 3.1 per game.
Keys to MSU Success
As approach the end 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 less than 60 and 10-0 when held below 31% from the field.
- MSU is 11-2 when it grabs more than 40 rebounds and also 13-2 when it has a greater than five rebound margin.
- The Spartans are 8-1 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 12-1 when they have a higher 3-point field goal percentage and 8-0 when they make more 3-pointers.
- Michigan State is 7-1 when they score more than 70 points.
- MSU is 13-1 when they create more points off turnovers and 11-1 when they have fewer turnovers than the opponent.
- The Spartans are 10-2 when scoring first and 14-1 when leading at halftime.
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 28-11 when Jefferson tallies double-figures, including a 9-4 mark in 2008-09.
Crashing the Glass
Michigan State has been dominant on the offensive boards this season. The Spartans trail Indiana for the Big Ten lead by one one-hundredth with 15.04 offensive rebounds a game and have grabbed 41.7% of the possible rebounds in the offensive zone (Indiana is second at 38.3%). 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 31.7% 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 569 points (24.7 per game). In the last four games, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois have combined for 79 points (19.8 per game), while shooting 31.2% from the field and 16.0% from behind the arc.
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 156 points (1084-928), but when she is sitting, MSU has trailed by 11 points (249-260).
Defense on the Arc
The Spartans have picked up their defensive prowess on the perimeter. MSU has improved upon its league leading and 20th nationally ranked 3-point field goal percentage defense over the last nine games. During the span, the Spartans are holding their opponents to a 22.3% (35-of-157) clip, including a season-low 12.5% (1-of-8) by Illinois on Thursday and a 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 Allyssa DeHaan (13th in rebounding) and Aisha Jefferson (15th in scoring) 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 19.8 points per 40 minutes (trailing only Ohio State's Jantel Lavender - 24.8 and Penn State's Tyra Grant - 24.0). Also, classmate Lauren Aitch is fourth at 19.3 and DeHaan is eighth at 16.8. In regard to rebounding, redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson is fourth with 11.3 boards per 40 minutes (behind the Ohio State duo of Lavender - 12.9 and Star Allen - 12.5), while DeHaan is seventh (10.7) and Aitch is 15th (9.8).
Keeping Them Under 60
During the Spartans' six-game winning streak that was snapped at Minnesota on Monday, MSU 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 averaged only 51.3 points, while shooting just 33.8% from the field and 24.1% from behind the arc.
Success After the Intermission
Redshirt junior Lauren Aitch and redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson have enjoyed much of their offensive success this season in the second half of games. Both Aitch and Johnson have scored almost two-thirds of their points this season after halftime. Aitch has totaled 123 points in 210 second half minutes (56.6 field goal percentage) compared to 61 points in 169 first half minutes (37.5%). For Johnson, she has 88 points in 244 second half minutes (45.8%) and 45 first half points in 195 minutes (37.5%).
Making a Splash
Freshman Porsche Poole has seen increased playing time as the season as progressed, topped by a season-high 21 minutes in Thursday's win at Illinois. Poole scored nine points, her highest point total since scoring 10 points in her collegiate debut, on 4-of-5 shooting, and dished out a season-best three assists. With Poole on the court, the Spartans were plus-15, compared to being minus-2 with her on the bench.
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 196-73 (.729) at Breslin and have been even more dominant of late in its cozy confines, posting a mark of 61-10 since 2003, including a 9-1 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 5,528 fans through 10 games. On Jan. 25, MSU hosted 10,489 fans, the seventh most in program history, in its game against Wisconsin.
After losing all four of their non-conference road games, the Spartans have bounced back to win five of their first seven road Big Ten games this season. The five wins ties for the fourth most conference road wins in program history. The 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2006-07 teams went 6-2, while the 1987-88 and 1990-91 squads also posted five wins. Four 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, 12-16 at Northwestern and 10-15 at Illinois.
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).
Taking Advantage of Freebies
The Spartans set a season-high at the free throw line on Jan. 22 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 last seven games (7-1 record), the Spartans have been going to the line more often. In the six games, MSU has attempted 20.1 free throws per game, in comparison, in the first four conference games (2-2 record), they went to the line an average of 14.0 times per game.
Multiple Spartans have increased their success from the free throw line of late. DeHaan is 22 of her last 26 from the stripe (84.6%), Thomas is 15-of-16 (93.8%) over the last six and Aisha Jefferson is 12-of-14 (85.7%) during the last four contests. In addition, Johnson had a streak of 15-in-a-row snapped against Wisconsin, but has hit 36 of her last 45 (80.0%) 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, and the increased playing time of Porsche Poole.
Among fellow freshmen in the conference, Johnson ranks in the top-10 almost every statistical category. Johnson leads in blocked shots, is second in rebounds, fourth in steals, fifth in field goal percentage, sixth in assists and seventh in scoring. In Big Ten games, Johnson leads in rebounding and blocks, is third in scoring and field goal percentage, and fourth in assists and steals. Meanwhile, Schiffauer is second in field goal percentage, sixth in rebounding and seventh in blocks. Classmate Porsche Poole is fourth in assists in overall 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 1,180 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 17 blocks shy of the Big Ten career mark. She is currently tied for second all-time at 367 with Michigan's Trish Andrew, trailing only Ohio State's Jessica Davenport (384). 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 113 blocks shy of the NCAA record.
On this Date
Michigan State is 6-4 all-time on February 8.
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 754-478 edge in points in the paint (+12.0 per game), a 323-213 edge in second chance points (+4.8), a 985-780 edge in rebounding (+8.9 per game) and have 129 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 1192 of the team's 1522 points (78.3%).
Let's Play More Time
The Spartans have relished playing extra time over the past six seasons. MSU is currently riding a 10-game winning streak in overtime games, dating back to the 2003-04 season. Surprisingly, only two of the 10 wins have come at home. This season, the Spartans have knocked off Dartmouth at the TD Banknorth Classic and Purdue in West Lafayette.
The Spartans currently have a RPI of 57 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 (9), Purdue (30), Minnesota (32), Indiana (33), Iowa (35) and Wisconsin (50). Michigan State's strength of schedule is 77th.
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 Ohio State
Ohio State comes to the Breslin with a game and a half lead on the Spartans for the Big Ten lead at 10-1. The Buckeyes, who are 19-3 overall and have won five straight, are ranked No. 12 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll and No. 14 by the AP. OSU is 6-1 on the road this season, including a 5-0 mark in conference games. Ohio State leads the Big Ten in scoring offense (68.0), scoring defense (54.5), scoring margin (+13.5) and field goal percentage (43.4%), and are second to MSU in field goal percentage defense (35.0%) and rebounding margin (+6.3).
Sophomore Jantel Lavender is the only player in the country to rank among the nation's top-15 in both points (21.0) and rebounds (11.0), leading the conference in both. Lavender, who surpassed the 1,000 point mark in her last game, is also second in the league in field goal percentage (53.2%), fourth in offensive rebounds (3.09) and sixth in free throw percentage (78.5%). Freshman Samantha Prahalis leads the Big Ten with 5.86 assists and is second on the team with 9.8 points per game. Meanwhile, senior Ashlee Trebilcock is the conference leader in 3-point field goal percentage (49.1%) and junior Shavelle Little is second in the league with 2.71 steals.
Against the Buckeyes
Michigan State trails the all-time series, 45-21. MSU had a two-game winning streak against the Buckeyes snapped earlier this season in Columbus, 67-49. In East Lansing, OSU leads 19-7, but MSU has won five of the last seven games in Breslin.