MSU Opens Four-Game Homestand With No. 10 Maryland
The Spartans and the Terrapins tangle for the second time this season.
|Michigan State (14-10, 4-7 B1G) vs. No. 10/9 Maryland (20-3, 9-1 B1G)|
|Date||Thursday, Feb. 8|
|Time||7 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 | Maryland|
|Statistics||Michigan State | Maryland|
|Social Media||@MSU_WBasketball | Facebook | Instagram|
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State open the four-game homestand against No. 10/9 Maryland on February 8 at 7 p.m. at the Breslin Center. The game will be broadcast on BTN with Lisa Byington and Christy Winters Scott. The Spartans are currently 14-10 this season and 4-7 in league play. The Terrapins are 20-3 overall and 9-1 in Big Ten action. The Spartans are looking to snap a five-game losing streak.
• 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.
• Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon scored in double figures for the 10th time this season and the 15th time in her career. She ended the game with 18 points and five assists. McCutcheon tied her career high with six 3-pointers made. She also made six against Maryland on Jan. 11, en route to scoring a career-high 25 in the upset.
• With a 4-7 Big Ten record, the Spartans are currently 11th in the conference just a game behind Penn State and Indiana which both hold 5-6 records. Maryland is atop the standing with an 9-1 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 now will play four of their last five games at the friendly confines of the Breslin Center.
The injury-ravaged Spartans have used 10 different starting lineups this season. Against Penn State on Feb. 4 with freshman forward Sidney Cooks, redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee, senior guard/forward Lexi Gussert, sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon and redshirt-sophomore forward Victoria Gaines 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. Against Penn State, she earned her 56th career start.
Agee made her 14th start of the season and 76th of her career against Ohio State. Allen has started 19 games this season 23 for her career. Cooks started for the 21st time this season, including the last 19 games. Hollie has made six starts this year.
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.
PLAYING THE BEST AT HOME
The Spartans are currently 2-4 against ranked teams this season. This week, MSU will take on a pair of ranked teams in No. 10/9 Maryland and No. 20/21 Michigan. The games against the Terrapins and the Wolverines are the first two games against ranked teams that will take place at home. MSU faced South Florida and UConn on neutral ground, while taking on Notre Dame, Maryland and Ohio State on the road.
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 0-5, averaging only 60.4 points per game, while allowing 73.2 ppg. Michigan State is shooting only 37.4 percent from the field and 26.4 percent from beyond the arc. Freshman forward Sidney Cooks is leading the Spartans in scoring during Colley’s absence, averaging 12.6 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 31.3 mpg. In league contests, McCutcheon has been playing 34.4 mpg to lead the Spartans.
MCCUTCHEON FROM BEYOND THE ARC
Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon has been streaky from beyond the arc. Against Penn State on Feb. 4, Michigan State she tied her career high with six 3-pointers. She also hit three treys against Maryland on Jan. 11. McCutcheon has hit at least three 3-pointers eight times this season.
The Spartans have five regular-season games left this season. This week, MSU will take on Maryland (Feb. 8) and Michigan (Feb. 11). Michigan State will then face Nebraska (Feb. 14) and Wisconsin (Feb. 21) both at home. MSU will conclude the regular-season portion of the schedule on the road at Purdue on (Feb. 24).
A LOOK AT THE STANDINGS
With three weeks to go until the B1G Tournament, Michigan State stands 11th with a 4-7 league ledger. The Spartans are a game behind Indiana and Penn State are tied for ninth both at 5-6, while Iowa and Rutgers are tied for seventh with 6-5 marks. Maryland is perched at the top of the league table with an 9-1 mark. Ohio State and Nebraska are tied for second with matching 8-3 records. Purdue is fourth with a 7-3 mark, while Michigan is fifth with an 8-4 record. Maryland’s won 10 of its last 11 games, while Nebraska has won eight of its last 11. On the flip side, Wisconsin has lost eight of its last 10 and Illinois has lost 12 in a row.
LEAVING YOUR MARK
Redshirt senior Branndais Agee is leaving her mark on the Michigan State program. She is now tied for 17th in career rebounds with 648, tying Nanette Gibson (1978-81). She passed Becky Cummings (1997-01), who had 645 during her MSU career. Agee is also 18th in scoring with 1,166 career points, passing former teammate Becca Mills who scored 1,158 points (2011-15). With 57 blocks, she is tied for 15th career blocks, just one shy of Aerial Powers (2014-16) who is 14th with 58. Agee is also tied for 16th career games played with 127.
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 seventh double-digit outing in the last eight games as part of her 14th double-figure scoring game of the season against Penn State on Feb. 4. 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 second-leading rebounder with 5.4 rpg. Cooks is also third in scoring among freshmen 11.0 ppg behind Northwestern’s Lindsey Pulliam (15.0 ppg) and Minnesota’s Destiny Pitts (12.7 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 56 games in the Spartan uniform. McCutcheon has 294 career assists for an average of 5.3 assists per game. She passed Maxann Reese (1996-00) for 16th in career assists. Reese had 291 assists in her Spartan career. McCutcheon is now just six assists from tying Spartan great and current graduate assistant Kalisha Keane (2007-11) for 15th with 300 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 24 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 and Taryn McCutcheon have been the top scorer three 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 5.4 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 fifth in the B1G in steals, averaging 2.2 spg. McCutcheon is tied for 11th with 1.7 spg.
MSU is third in the league assists, averaging 18.0 apg. Iowa is first in the conference in assists with 21.6 apg. Michigan State is still third in rebound margin (+7.2) and third in steals (9.3 spg). The Spartans are second in the B1G in defensive rebounding percentage (.711) and second in offensive rebounding percentage (.384).
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 TERRAPINS
The Terrapins are currently 20-3 overall and 9-1 in league contests. UMD’s only B1G loss this season came against MSU on Jan. 11. The Terps have won five-straight games.
Maryland is currently ranked No. 4 in the country in three-point field goal percentage (.407), No. 5 in scoring margin (+22.3), No. 6 in scoring (84.3) and No. 9 in rebounding margin (+9.7).
Kristen Confroy is No. 2 in the country and leads the Big Ten in three-point FG percentage (.478). Kaila Charles is No. 7 in the B1G in scoring, No. 8 in rebounding and No. 4 in field goal percentage. Channise Lewis averages 5.3 assists, which is fourth in the Big Ten overall and No. 2 among freshmen around the country. Kaila Charles has scored in double figures in 21 of 23 games this season. Confroy has made 195 career threes and moved to No. 2 on Maryland’s all-time list in January. She is also No. 3 in the Maryland record books in career three-point percentage (.406).
LAST TIME VS. MARYLAND
Taryn McCutcheon scored a career-high 25 points, and Michigan State surprised No. 11 Maryland 82-68 on Jan. 11 to end the Terrapins’ 13-game winning streak. The win was the Spartans first-ever over Maryland, as MSU is now 1-10 against the Terps.
The loss was only Maryland’s fourth loss since joining the Big Ten in 2015. The Spartans are only the second team in the B1G to beat Maryland along with Ohio State, which has three wins. Maryland is now 53-4 in league contests.
McCutcheon led all scorers with her first-ever 20-point game, ending with 25 points. She was solid from long range going 6-for-10. Redshirt sophomore Shay Colley had 17 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for Michigan State. Freshman forward Sidney Cooks also scored in double figures, adding 10 points
Michigan State earned its first-ever win against Maryland on Jan. 11 in College Park, 82-68. Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon scored a career-high 25 points in the win. Overall, the Terrapins hold the 10-1 series advantage. Michigan State is 0-2 against Maryland at the Breslin Center. In the last meeting in East Lansing in 2017, the Terps earned the 89-72. In the first meeting at the Breslin Center in 2015, Maryland stopped MSU, 75-69.
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 1,128 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 72-30 (70.6%) following a loss.
TAKING ON THE BEST
In the first 24 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 11th in the nation in assists with 432 and 15th in assists per game, averaging 18.0. The Spartans are also 17th in rebounds with 1,008. Michigan State is 36th in the nation in rebounds per game (42.0) and 35th in rebound margin (+7.2). This week, Taryn McCutcheon is 37th in the nation in assists per game (5.4 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 24 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
Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon scored a game-high 18 points as the Michigan State women’s basketball team fell to Penn State, 74-59, at Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday afternoon.
McCutcheon tied her career high with six made treys, also adding five assists and four rebounds for the Spartans. Freshman forward Sidney Cooks was the other Spartan in double figures with 10 points and four boards. Cooks has now scored in double figures a team-leading 14 times. The Spartans were hampered by 20 turnovers.
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.
The Spartans now return to the Breslin Center for four-straight home games. MSU hosts No. 10/9 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.
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.