Spartans Host Northwestern Thursday on Big Ten Network
Feb. 8, 2012
AGAINST THE WILDCATS
LAST TIME OUT (MSU 65, Michigan 63)
In addition to her game-high 23 points, Poole added a career high nine rebounds, a game-high five assists and two steals. L. Johnson added her eighth double-double of the season with 16 points, all in the second half, and 11 rebounds. Klarissa Bell scored a career high 13 points and added a season high six rebounds, five of which were offensive, in a career high 36 minutes. Bell went 3-for-4 from the 3-point line, after coming into the game just 2-for-14 this season.
The Spartans begin the game with the first 11 points, behind three different players hitting a 3-pointer. Michigan responded with a 21-4 run to open up its largest lead of the game at 21-15 with 7:44 to go in the first half. MSU bounced back with a 11-2 spurt of its own to regain the lead and eventually take a 30-28 advantage into the break.
Michigan scored the first six points of the second half, to begin a half that included 10 ties and nine lead changes. The Wolverines led by four (63-59) with 1:58 left, but the Spartans held them scoreless from that point on. Two free throws by Poole and a layup by Lykendra Johnson with 53 seconds left tied that game at 63. A defensive stop by MSU, set up Poole's heroics. As the game clock and shot clock wound down, Poole dribbled right off a high ball screen, stopping at the foul line and hitting a pull-up jumper with 3.9 seconds left. Michigan missed a halfcourt heave at the buzzer, giving MSU the win.
MSU had only one second half turnover and had only 10 turnovers in the game, their lowest total since Jan. 13, 2011 vs. Iowa (9).
Over the last two weeks, Poole leads all Big Ten players with 27.7 points per game and with a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio, while also ranking fourth in assists (4.7) and steals (2.7). She is shooting 55.6% in those three games, good for third in the conference.
Poole scored career high totals in both games (28 vs. Illinois and 32 vs. Penn State) the week prior, both high marks for a Spartan this season. Her 60 points over the two games were the most by a Spartan in consecutive games in program history (previous record was held by Kisha Kelley with 59 points on Feb. 9 and 13, 1994). Her 32 points against Penn State are tied for the eighth most in a single-game and the most by a Spartan since Aisha Jefferson scored 34 at Notre Dame on Nov. 29, 2008. Also it was just the 20th 30-point scoring effort by a Spartan.
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 1,135 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 (380) and third in rebounds (949). 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 (275), 16th in 3-point field goals (58) and 19th in field goals (401). She is also eighth in career starts (107), 13th with 122 games played and 15th with 3,136 minutes played.
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 47.4% from the field, which ranks second on the team and seventh in the Big Ten.
Johnson's assist-to-turnover ratio (1.61) 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 4.0 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 4.9 and assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8. Johnson is second on the team in steals with 1.8 a game, 12th in the Big Ten.
Among freshmen nationally, Johnson is 10th 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.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARDS
Johnson moved into the top-10 on the MSU career rebounding list last season and is currently third with 949 rebounds, surpassing both Kris Emerson and Allyssa DeHaan this past week. She is only 15 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 (380) and her 3.1 a game average is second to Liz Shimek (3.4).
In terms of all-time Big Ten rebounders, Johnson is 18th 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 +194 with her on the court, but are -41 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.
CRASHING THE BOARDS
MSU has out-rebounded 43 of its last 49 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 112-48 (70.0%) 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 67.5% (54-26), and has the second highest percentage among active coaches.
Merchant claimed her 300th career victory on Nov. 22 at Milwaukee. All-time, Merchant is 310-170 (.646) in her 17 years as a head coach, including stops at Eastern Michigan (1998-07) and Saginaw Valley State (1995-98).
FANS CONTINUE TO PACK THE BRESLIN
For the past seven-plus seasons, Michigan State has been one of the top programs in the country in regard to fan support. Last season marked the seventh straight season that the Spartans had been among the nation's top 15 in attendance, averaging 7,388 fans per game, which ranked ninth in the nation and second in the Big Ten. It set a new single-season attendance record, previously 6,787 in 2005-06, and tied for the highest nationally ranking (2006-07).
Michigan State had its first official sellout in program history last season vs. Michigan (Feb. 13) with a crowd of 14,797. It was the first sellout by a Big Ten school since Feb. 29, 2004 (Penn State), and just the ninth by a Big Ten school in their current home venue. With the sellout, the Spartans were the Big Ten Conference winner of the NCAA's Pack the House initiative.
In the 23-year history at Breslin, 1,258,373 fans have watched a MSU women's basketball game.
ON THIS DATE
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