Spartans Remain on the Road at Wisconsin Thursday
Feb. 15, 2012
AGAINST THE BADGERS
BIG TEN UPDATE
LAST TIME OUT (Iowa 74, MSU 56)
Iowa went on a 10-0 run in the opening minutes to open up a 12-2 lead with 15-and-a-half minutes to go in the first half. The Spartans slowly chipped away, eventually taking a three point lead of their own at 26-23 with 5:21 left. Two Iowa free throws late, would bring the halftime score to 30-30. Annalise Pickrel sparked the Spartans in the first half with eight of her season high 12 points.
Michigan State scored the first three points of the second half, but the Hawkeyes posted the next seven to take a lead they would not relinquish. Midway through the half (10:15), the Spartans trailed by only two (45-43), but Iowa blew the game open with a 16-3 run over the next five minutes to take a commanding 61-46 lead. Iowa executed down the stretch to close out the 74-57 win.
Klarissa Bell joined Poole and Pickrel in double figures, adding 10 points and a season high eight rebounds. It was the Spartans' fourth straight loss at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. MSU's 18 offensive rebounds were its third most on the season, and the most since Nov. 27 against Oakland.
She had a streak of four straight games with at least 20 points snapped Sunday, the longest streak by a Spartan since Liz Shimek accomplished the feat from Feb. 23-March 18, 2006. Poole is also just the second Spartan since 1994 to have such a streak.
Poole's five game stretch has included many career highlights. Last Thursday, in addition to her game-high 20 points vs. Northwestern, she dished out a career high seven assists. Two Sundays ago, Poole dropped in the game-winner at Michigan with 3.9 seconds left, capping off a 23-point performance. In what could have been her best all-around game as a Spartan, she also added a career high nine rebounds and a game high five assists (with one turnover).
Two weeks earlier she was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the first time in her career, where she scored career high totals in both games (28 vs. Illinois and 32 vs. Penn State), 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.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARDS
On Sunday, Johnson surpassed Kristen Rasmussen for second place on the Spartan all-time rebound list with 965. In terms of offensive rebounds, she also checks in second all-time, grabbing 385, since the stat began being recorded in 1986-87. In terms of all-time Big Ten rebounders, Johnson is 15th among conference student-athletes since the conference began sponsoring the sport prior to the 1981-82 season. She is only five rebounds away from 13th place in conference history. Johnson has 25 career double-doubles, ranking her eighth on the MSU career list. In addition, she has 37 double-digit rebound games, placing her fifth in Spartan history.
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 +200 with her on the court, but are -49 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.
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 1,154 points in her MSU career, good for 16th place. Johnson will leave as one of the top rebounders in school history, currently second all-time in rebounds (965) and offensive rebounds (385). She is also the only Spartan to rank in the top-5 in both career blocks (third with 135) and steals (fifth with 213).
Johnson also is among the Michigan State leaders in each shooting category, ranking ninth in free throws made (281), 16th in 3-point field goals (59) and 18th in field goals (407). She is also sixth in career starts (109), 12th with 124 games played and 14th with 3,193 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 47.3% from the field, which ranks second on the team and 10th in the Big Ten.
Johnson's assist-to-turnover ratio (1.67) 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 3.9 assists per game, and is third overall with a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio. She has increased her production in conference games, placing second assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.9 and fourth in assists (4.5). Johnson is second on the team in steals with 1.8 a game, 10th in the Big Ten.
Among freshmen nationally, Johnson is 13th in assists and second in assist-to-turnover ratio. Within the conference freshmen, she is first in steals and assist-to-turnover ratio, second in assists, and sixth in points.
In her first start, Bell posted a then-season high seven points, including five key points in the final three minutes, and four rebounds in 30 minutes. Bell followed up that performance with a career day at Michigan, scoring a career high 13 points and grabbing a six rebounds (five on the offensive end) 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 (14.3%) this season and 7-for-48 (14.6%) in her career. On Sunday at Iowa, she again reached double-figures, scoring 10 points and adding a season and game-high eight rebounds.
GETTING TO THE LINE
The Spartans have been 41-4 over the last three seasons when attempting more free throws than their opponent, including a 10-2 mark this season.
CRASHING THE BOARDS
MSU has out-rebounded 44 of its last 51 opponents dating back to last season, and was outrebounded only four times this season (at Texas, at Penn State, vs. Indiana, vs. Northwestern).
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 113-49 (69.8%) 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 67.1% (55-27), and has the second highest percentage among active coaches.
Merchant claimed her 300th career victory on Nov. 22 at Milwaukee. All-time, Merchant is 311-171 (.645) in her 17 years as a head coach, including stops at Eastern Michigan (1998-07) and Saginaw Valley State (1995-98).
BOUNCE BACK ABILITY
ON THIS DATE
at the official