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Spartans Look to Enact Revenge Against Indiana on Thursday

Feb. 11, 2009

(rv/-) Michigan State Spartans (17-7, 10-3) at
Indiana Hoosiers (15-7, 8-5)

Date: Thursday, Feb. 12
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Bloomington, Ind.
Arena: Assembly Hall
TV: Big Ten Network (Brent Stover - play-by-play; Brenda VanLengen - color analyst)
Radio: WVFN 730 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play)
Internet: Live Stats and Audio at

Listen | GameTracker
Game Notes in PDF Format
Coach Merchant Weekly Press Conference Video

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 (26.3%), rebound margin (+8.7), rebounds (42.5) and blocked shots (5.50). They are also second in scoring defense (55.2), scoring margin (+10.3) and offensive rebounds (14.79), and third in field goal percentage (42.1%).

Junior Allyssa DeHaan is second in the Big Ten in blocks with 3.00, while redshirt junior Lauren Aitch is sixth in field goal percentage (48.7%) and sophomore Kalisha Keane is sixth with 1.96 steals per game.



In conference games, MSU leads in field goal percentage defense (35.5%), 3-point field goal percentage defense (24.3%), rebound margin (+6.2) and rebounds (40.8), and is second in offensive rebounds (14.46). Individually, DeHaan is second with 2.23 blocks per game. Meanwhile, Keane is fifth with 2.00 steals, Aitch is fifth with a 48.3 field goal percentage, sophomore Brittney Thomas is tied for sixth in assists (3.58) and sixth in minutes played (35.58), and Johnson is sixth in offensive rebounds (2.85).

Statistically Savvy (NCAA Edition)
Entering the week, the Spartans are among the nation's top-50 in seven major statistical categories, including being in the top 15 in four. MSU is eighth in field goal percentage defense (34.2%), 11th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.3%), 12th in rebound margin (+8.7) and 15th in blocked shots (5.5). In addition, the Spartans are 26th in scoring defense (55.3), 44th in scoring margin (+10.3) and 49th in assists (14.9).

Individually, junior Allyssa DeHaan is ninth in the country in blocked shots with 3.0 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 14-0 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 12-1 when it attempts more than the opposition.
- The Spartans are 13-1 when they have a higher 3-point field goal percentage and 9-0 when they make more 3-pointers.
- Michigan State is 7-1 when they score more than 70 points.
- MSU is 14-1 when they create more points off turnovers and 11-1 when they have fewer turnovers than the opponent.
- The Spartans are 11-2 when scoring first and 15-1 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 14-0 this season and are 50-14 in her career. Also, when she leads the team in scoring, MSU is 32-4, including a 9-0 record this season. Meanwhile, MSU is 28-11 when Jefferson tallies double-figures, including a 9-4 mark in 2008-09.

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 594 points (24.8 per game). In the last five games, the opposition have combined for 104 points (20.8 per game), while shooting 33.1% from the field and 15.2% 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.

Defense on the Arc
The Spartans have picked up their defensive prowess on the perimeter. MSU has improved upon its league leading and 11th nationally ranked 3-point field goal percentage defense over the last 10 games. During the span, the Spartans are holding their opponents to a 21.1% (36-of-171) clip, including a season-low 7.1% (1-of-14) by No. 14/12 Ohio State on Sunday, a 12.5% (1-of-8) by Illinois on Thursday and a 17.1% (6-of-35) effort by Michigan (Jan. 15).

Crashing the Glass
Michigan State has been dominant on the offensive boards this season. The Spartans trail Indiana for the Big Ten lead with 14.79 offensive rebounds a game and have grabbed 41.2% of the possible rebounds in the offensive zone (Indiana is second at 38.4%). 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 12.8 offensive rebounds per game and have allowed the opposition to grab only 31.6% of their possible offensive rebounds.

Thomas Out for the Remainder of the Season
Sophomore Brittney Thomas will miss the rest of the 2008-09 season after tearing the ACL in her left knee on Feb. 6. Thomas started her last 19 games at point guard for the Spartans, and leads them with 3.2 assists per game. She is also fifth on the team with 6.0 points, fourth with 4.1 rebounds and second with 1.6 steals per game, while playing a team-best 32.5 minutes.

She returned to the rotation in the game against Detroit (Nov. 19), after missing the first two games with a broken right hand. Since she was back, her impact on the floor was noticeable. With Thomas on the court, the Spartans outscored their opponents by 156 points (1084-928), but when she was sitting, MSU trailed by 11 points (249-260).

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 (14th in rebounding) is 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 19.3 points per 40 minutes (trailing only Ohio State's Jantel Lavender - 24.5 and Penn State's Tyra Grant - 23.6). Also, classmate Lauren Aitch is fourth at 18.9 and DeHaan is eighth at 17.0. In regard to rebounding, redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson is third with 11.4 boards per 40 minutes (behind the Ohio State duo of Lavender - 12.7 and Star Allen - 12.3), while DeHaan is 12th (10.4) and Aitch is 15th (9.7).

Greatest Michigan State Defensive Team of All-Time?
The 2008-09 Michigan State team has a chance to finish the season as one of the greatest defensive teams in program history. Currently this year's team has allowed the fewest points per game (55.2) since 1974-75 and owns the lowest field goal percentage defense (34.2%) since records were kept for the 1976-77 season. Since the addition of the 3-point line to the women's game for the 1987-88 season, the Spartans' 26.3% is second to only the first year of the line. Also, this year's squad has the best rebound margin (+8.7) since opposing rebounds were kept in 1987-88.

Success After the Intermission
Redshirt junior Lauren Aitch has enjoyed much of her offensive success this season in the second half of games. Aitch has scored almost two-thirds of her points this season after halftime. Aitch has totaled 127 points in 223 second half minutes (57.0 field goal percentage) compared to 63 points in 176 first half minutes (37.9%).

New Heights
Michigan State currently have seven players in the regular rotation at or over 6-foot, including the entire starting lineup. This size and length has paid dividends this season, as the Spartans hold a 784-502 edge in points in the paint (+11.8 per game), a 332-219 edge in second chance points (+4.7), a 1021-813 edge in rebounding (+8.7 per game) and have 132 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 1241 of the team's 1574 points (78.8%).

Road Warriors
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
During the last nine games (8-1 record), the Spartans have been going to the line more often. In the nine games, MSU has attempted 19.8 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. Allyssa DeHaan is 24 of her last 28 from the stripe (85.7%) and Aisha Jefferson is 14-of-17 (82.4%) during the last five contests. In addition, Kalisha Keane is 30-of-35 for the season (85.7%).

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), DeHaan (5-of-5) and Keane (4-of-4) were perfect from the charity stripe.

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, third in field goal percentage, fifth in assists and steals, and eighth in scoring. In Big Ten games, Johnson leads in rebounding and blocks, is second in field goal percentage, fourth in scoring and assists, and fifth in steals. Meanwhile, Schiffauer leads in field goal percentage, sixth in rebounding and seventh in blocks. Classmate Porsche Poole is sixth in assists and seventh in steals 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 10th on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,196 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).

DeHaan is also 10th on the Michigan State career rebound list with 673. She is only one of five Spartans to be in the top-10 in both career points and rebounds, joining Liz Shimek, Kristen Rasmussen, Kris Emerson and Kisha Kelley.

...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.

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, MSU has knocked off Dartmouth at the TD Banknorth Classic and Purdue in West Lafayette.

On this Date
Michigan State is 9-3 all-time on February 12, but have not lost since 1988, a span of five games.

RPI Watch
The Spartans currently have a RPI of 43 according to, with the Big Ten Conference ranking fifth in the nation as a whole. MSU is fifth in the conference, trailing Ohio State (12), Purdue (28), Minnesota (30) and Iowa (36). Michigan State's strength of schedule is 59th.

About Indiana
Indiana (15-7) is fifth in the Big Ten at 8-5, having dropped three-in-a-row and four of its last five. The Hoosiers are 7-2 at home this season, including a 5-1 mark in conference play. For the second-straight game, MSU faces the Big Ten's leading scoring offense, as Indiana jumped OSU this weekend at 67.4 points per game. The Hoosiers also lead the league in offensive rebounds (15.18) and are second in turnover margin (+3.86).

Indiana features a balanced attack as five players average over 9.6 points per game. Amber Jackson leads the way with 13.1 points per game, sixth in the conference, while Whitney Thomas is second with 12.6 (10th) and adds a team-best 9.0 rebounds per outing, good for third in the Big Ten. Jackson also leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage at 53.9% and Thomas leads with 3.18 offensive rebounds, while Kim Roberson is third with 2.59 steals.

Team Against the Hoosiers
Michigan State leads the all-time series, 35-22, but lost the meeting earlier this season in Breslin, 62-48 on Dec. 29. The Spartans have won the last five in Assembly Hall and are 15-11 all-time in Bloomington.

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 MSU hosted for the first time in 2007.

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