Spartans to Wear Pink Thursday for Annual PinkZone Game
 
 
 
Senior Mandy Piechowski will celebrate her Hometown Day on Thursday, during the Spartans' PinkZone game.
 
Senior Mandy Piechowski will celebrate her Hometown Day on Thursday, during the Spartans' PinkZone game.
 
 

Feb. 17, 2010

rv/rv MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (17-8, 8-6) vs.
ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI (13-12, 5-10)

Date: Thursday, Feb. 18
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Arena: Breslin Center
Radio: WVFN 730 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play; Mo Gerhardt - analyst)
Internet: Live broadcast on BigTenNetwork.com (Lisa Byington - play-by-play; Julie Dombroski - analyst); Live audio and stats at MSUSpartans.com
TV: Big Ten Network (tape delayed) - Sat., Feb. 20 - 9 a.m. ET
Hometown Day: Mandy Piechowski
Promotions: WBCA PinkZone Game, $1 Popcorn Night

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Head Coach Suzy Merchant Weekly Press Conference
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WBCA PINK ZONE
The WBCA (Women's Basketball Coaches Association) Pink Zone initiative is a global, unified effort for the WBCA's nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. Throughout the WBCA Pink Zone week, women's basketball teams and supporters across the nation will dedicate one game to raise breast cancer awareness and funding. Teams, fans and arenas will be decked out in pink, survivors will be honored at games, referees will blow pink whistles, donations will be collected, and much more. For more information on the WBCA's effort, visit their website at www.wbca.org.

 

 

Michigan State has partnered with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Mid-Michigan affiliate for this event. The MSU Fastbreak Club has been selling pink t-shirts throughout the season with $5 going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and in addition representatives from both groups will be in attendance on Thursday to help collect donations. For more information on the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Mid-Michigan affiliate, visit its web site at www.komenmidmichigan.org.

ABOUT ILLINOIS
The Fighting Illini come to Breslin Center with a 13-12 overall record and a 5-10 mark in the Big Ten. Illinois is 1-6 in the road in conference play and are coming off a 77-67 loss at Iowa on Sunday. Jenna Smith leads the Illini offense, having scored her 2,000th career point on Sunday. Smith is third in the conference with 18.2 points and leads the Big Ten with 10.9 rebounds per outing. She also is second in the league in both field goal (.502) and free throw (.863) percentages. Lacey Simpson leads the conference with 2.96 steals per game, and also leads the Illini and is fifth in the Big Ten in assists with 3.96. As a team, Illinois is third in the Big Ten in scoring defense (59.8), but is ninth in scoring offense (62.2). They are also second in the conference, behind MSU, in blocked shots with 6.00 per game.

AGAINST THE FIGHTING ILLINI
Michigan State leads the all-time series, 32-26, and is 18-8 all-time in East Lansing. MSU won the last meeting and has won 10 of the last 12 games. At Breslin Center, the Spartans have won four-in-a-row.

SWATTING HER WAY INTO THE NCAA RECORD BOOKS
Senior Allyssa DeHaan entered her senior season on pace to break the NCAA Division I blocked shots record. At Michigan last Thursday, she tied the established record of 480 blocks set by TCU's Sandora Irvin (2001-05). Later that night, Louella Tomlinson, a junior at St. Mary's (CA), surpassed both DeHaan and Irvin, and currently holds the record at 486. DeHaan (484) posted four blocks on Sunday against Northwestern and needs three rejections on Thursday to surpass Tomlinson's current record.

DeHaan became the Big Ten's all-time blocked shots leader during MSU's Big Ten Tournament game against Wisconsin on March, 6, 2009. She surpassed Ohio State's Jessica Davenport (384) for the record. In addition, in last season's win over Stony Brook (Nov. 16, 2008), she became the fastest in conference history to reach the 300-block plateau, needing only 72 games.

DeHAAN'S BLOCKS BY THE NUMBERS
With Allyssa DeHaan having the opportunity to reclaim the NCAA block record on Thursday, it is a good time to again take a look at her potential accomplishment numerically.

267 - different players blocked by DeHaan.
254 - career blocks in the Breslin Center.
247 - career blocks on layups. She has 227 blocks on jump shots and 10 on 3-point attempts.
245 - career blocks in the second half. She has 235 in the first half, three in first overtime and one in second OT.
150 - blocks during the 2007-08 season, the MSU and Big Ten single-season record.
120 - career games that DeHaan has led MSU in blocks.
113 - career blocks in December, her most in any month. She also had 111 in November, 101 in January, 92 in February, 57 in March and 10 in April.
34 - career blocks against Indiana, her most against an opposing team. Penn State (30), Minnesota (28), Northwestern (26) and Purdue (26) round out the top-5.
21 - career blocks at the Big Ten Tournament, three shy of tying the tournament record.
17 - career blocks at Indiana's Assembly Hall, her most in a Big Ten arena.
14 - career blocks against Xavier, her most against a non-conference opponent.
10 - career blocks against Minnesota's Zoe Harper and Illinois' Jenna Smith, her most against an individual.
9 - blocks against Indiana on Dec. 28, 2006, Indiana St. on Dec. 8, 2007 and Xavier on Dec. 14, 2008, the top single-game block performances in MSU history.
7 - blocks against Indiana's Whitney Thomas on Dec. 28, 2006, her most against an individual in a single-game.

DeHAAN's MILESTONE BLOCKS
Also, with the chance of another historic block for DeHaan on Thursday, here is a look at some of her most note-worthy blocks in her career.

No. 1 - Nov. 17, 2006 (Lindsey Hollobaugh, Bucknell) - 8:53 left in first half
No. 40 (broke MSU freshman record) - Dec. 17, 2006 (Sylvia Fowles, LSU) - 12:07 left in second half
No. 58 (broke MSU single-season record) - Dec. 28, 2006 (Whitney Thomas, Indiana) - 17:39 left in second half
No. 60 (broke the MSU single-game record with 9) - Dec. 28, 2006 (Whitney Thomas, Indiana) - 7:00 left in second half
No. 100 - Feb. 1, 2007 (Tyra Grant, Penn State) - 13:18 left in second half
No. 120 (broke the NCAA freshman record) - Feb. 22, 2007 (Jenna Smith, Illinois) - 12:34 left in first half
No. 136 (broke Big Ten single-season record) - March 4, 2007 (Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, Purdue) - 15:33 left in first half
No. 200 - Dec. 20, 2007 (Shantee Darrian of Providence) - 19:32 left in first half
No. 291 (broke her own MSU and Big Ten single-season record) - March 5, 2008 (Angel Robinson, Marquette) - 7:12 left in first half
No. 300 - Nov. 16, 2008 (Kirsten Jeter, Stony Brook) - 8:52 left in first half
No. 385 (broke the Big Ten career record) - March 6, 2009 (Teah Gant, Wisconsin) - 6:59 left in first half
No. 400 - March 28, 2009 (Toccara Ross, Iowa State) - 5:10 left in first half
No. 448 (moved into second on NCAA career list) - Jan. 3, 2010 (Jori Davis, Indiana) - 5:18 left in first half
No. 480 (tied established NCAA career record) - Feb. 11, 2020 (Krista Phillips, Michigan) - 19:47 in second half

HOW THE COMPUTERS RANK MSU
The Spartans are second in the Big Ten, behind Ohio State, in RPI this season, ranking 16th in the NCAA RPI, 17th according to CollegeRPI.com and 21st by RealTimeRPI.com. The MSU schedule is the toughest among conference foes and ranks 10th nationally, by both CollegeRPI.com and RealTimeRPI.com. In non-conference action, CollegeRPI.com has MSU fourth nationally in RPI. As a conference, the Big Ten is fourth in RPI overall, and in the non-conference schedule was second in both RPI and strength of schedule according to CollegeRPI.com.

LOCKING DOWN THE OPPOSITION
Michigan State has held 10 of its last 11 opponents below 40% from the field, vaulting them into the Big Ten lead in field goal percentage defense. Over the last 11 games, MSU has held its opponents to 33.4% from the field, improving its season mark to 34.9%, which is currently 19th in the nation.

In four of the last five games, the Spartans have held its opposition to under 23% from 3-point range. For the stretch, the five teams have combined to shoot 22.2% and make only 18 shots. MSU now leads the conference in Big Ten play, holding teams to 27.7% from long range and is third in overall games at 29.6%.

PRODUCTION OFF THE BENCH
The depth of the 2009-10 Spartans has paid dividends this season. The MSU bench is averaging 28.9 points, 17.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists, while playing 80.7 minutes per game, compared the opposition's 13.3 points, 13.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 55.0 minutes. MSU's 28.9 points off the bench lead the Big Ten, by 10 points per game, as Purdue is second in the conference at 18.9 points. In conference games, MSU leads with 25.4 points (Purdue - 19.3). The Spartans have received 31 double-figure scoring efforts off the bench this season, including the leading scorer 10 times.

TOP-10 SPOILER
Michigan State has been a dangerous team this season against teams ranked in the nation's top-10. Up to this point in the season, MSU is one of 10 teams (California, Clemson, Connecticut, DePaul, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Rutgers, South Carolina, Vanderbilt) to have played at least four top-10 teams, having gone 2-2. The Spartans knocked off No. 4 North Carolina and No. 8 Xavier, and their two losses (No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 6 Ohio State) have come by a combined four points.

In all, MSU is one of five teams in the country with at least two top-10 wins, as No. 1 Connecticut has five top-10 wins, No. 4 Nebraska has three, and No. 2 Stanford and No. 10 Oklahoma State each also have two.

It was the only the second time in program history that a Spartan team has beaten two Associated Press top-10 teams in the same regular season. The 2002-03 Spartans knocked off No. 7/6 Purdue on Jan. 6 and No. 10 Minnesota on Jan. 23.

HISTORIC COMPANY
Senior Allyssa DeHaan is now one of only three Spartans (Liz Shimek, Kris Emerson) to rank in the top-5 in both career points and rebounds. She moved into fourth place all-time at MSU in scoring on Sunday, totaling 1,595. Kisha Kelley (1991-95) is third with 1,668.

DeHaan moved into fourth all-time at MSU in rebounds at Northwestern on Jan. 28, and currently has 883. Kris Emerson is third with 933. In addition, she is third with both 335 made free throws and 615 made field goals in MSU career record books.

AMONG THE NATION'S BEST
Michigan State is fourth in the nation in blocked shots this season, averaging 6.7 blocks. Senior Allyssa DeHaan leads the charge, ranking fourth in the nation with 3.3 per game.

The Spartans are also among the nation's top-50 in three other categories, placing 19th in field goal percentage defense (34.9%), 26th in rebound margin (+5.9) and 29th in assists (15.6).

THREE-PLUS YEARS OF SWATTING
Upon Allyssa DeHaan's arrival to East Lansing, the Spartans have been one of the effective teams in the country in protecting the rim. Since the beginning of the 2006-07 season, MSU is second in the nation with 777 blocks. North Carolina is first with 867, followed by MSU, Baylor (772), Duke (760), Connecticut (746) and St. Mary's (717).

The Spartans had been among the NCAA leaders in blocks each of those three years, finishing the season eighth in 2008-09, 11th in 2007-08 and fourth in 2006-07.

11th TO 1,000 AND 600
Redshirt senior Aisha Jefferson became 11th Spartan to total 1,000 points and 600 rebounds in their career. She is currently 15th all-time with both 1,117 points and 627 rebounds. On Dec. 6 against Indiana, Jefferson became the 20th 1,000 point scorer in MSU history, knocking in a free throw with 7:30 on the clock in the first half. In addition, she is 12th with 445 made field goals and 17th with 215 made free throws.

THOMAS SPREADING THE WEALTH
At Iowa on Feb. 7, junior Brittney Thomas set a career high with 10 assists. It was the most assists by a Spartan this season and the most since Kristin Haynie had 10 against Vanderbilt on March 27, 2005. Thomas has increased her distribution in Big Ten play, averaging 3.9 assists per game through 14 conference games, ranking her fifth in the Big Ten, in comparison to 2.7 assists in 11 non-conference contests.

NEW LEADER EVERY NIGHT
Each night, a different Spartan has stepped up as the offensive leader, as nine different players have led MSU in scoring. Porsche Poole became the ninth Spartan on Sunday against Northwestern. Through 14 conference games, eight different Spartans have paced the team offensively. It doesn't stop there as 11 different Spartans have led the team in assists this season and seven different have paced the team in rebounds.

In all, nine different Spartans have scored in double-figures in a game this season, including a school-record six in the win over Florida Gulf Coast. The last time a MSU team had six players in double-digits was Feb. 18, 1996 vs. Michigan.

AMONG BIG TEN LEADERS
The Spartans lead the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (.349), blocked shots (6.72), offensive rebounds (14.60) and total rebounds (42.7). They are also second in scoring margin (+7.4) and rebound margin (+5.9), and third in scoring offense (67.6), assists (15.60), assist-to-turnover ratio (0.88) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.296).

Individually, redshirt sophomore Lykendra Johnson ranks among the conference leaders in many categories: offensive rebounds (3.2; 1st), rebounds (8.2; 3rd), blocks (11th; 1.12), steals (13th, 1.56) and scoring (29th; 8.8). Senior Allyssa DeHaan is second in the league in blocks with 3.3, and is also 10th in rebounds (6.3), eighth in free throw percentage (.824), 12th in field goal percentage (.440) and 17th in scoring (11.9). Junior Brittney Thomas has moved up to eighth in assists with 3.36.

In conference games, the Spartans lead the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (.349), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.277) and offensive rebounds (14.14), and rank second in scoring margin (+4.0), scoring defense (57.9) rebound margin (+3.8) and blocks (5.71). Individually, Johnson leads in offensive rebounds with 3.4, and is also fourth in rebounds (7.9) and sixth in steals (1.86). DeHaan is tied for first in blocks with 2.86 and Brittney Thomas is fifth in assists (3.86). Kalisha Keane has been efficient from behind the arc, ranking seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (.404).

THEY ALL CAN KNOCK IT DOWN
With Lauren Aitch's 3-pointer on Feb. 4 against Penn State last Thursday, she became the 12th Spartan to knock down a trey this season, the most in the Big Ten. Michigan has had 10 different players hit a 3-pointer.

SPARTANS' DYNAMIC DUO
In their two-plus years on the court together, the Spartans know good things will happen when seniors Aisha Jefferson and Allyssa DeHaan are both playing well. When both score in double-figures, MSU holds a 20-4 record, including a 2-2 record this season.

DeHaan's scoring has shown to be a deciding factor in most Spartan games. When she reaches double-digits, Michigan State is 64-21 in her career. Also, when she leads the team in scoring, MSU is 40-8. Meanwhile, MSU is 35-16 when Jefferson tallies double-figures.

CENTER OF ATTENTION
MSU has received great production from the center position this season. The duo of seniors Allyssa DeHaan and Lauren Aitch have combined to average 19.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.6 blocks. The pair has been only on the floor together for 47:30 this season.

IMPROVEMENTS FROM BEHIND THE ARC
Sophomore Lykendra Johnson has improved her outside shooting early in the 2009-10 season, having already matched her made 3-point field goal total from last season. This season, she is 19-of-59 (.322) from the arc, while last year she went 4-of-20 (.200) in 33 games.

Aside from her increased production from 3-point range, Johnson has also been a do-it-all for the Spartans this season. She is among the team leaders in every statistical category - points (third), rebounds (first), assists (fourth), steals (first), blocks (second), field goal percentage (second) and 3-point field goal percentage (second).

HOLDING THEM UNDER 50
With its 48-45 loss to Wisconsin on Jan, 14, Michigan State snapped a string of 87-consecutive wins when holding its opponent under 50 points. MSU's last loss came on Feb. 16, 1979 (48-42 to Indiana). All-time, the Spartans are 128-4 when keeping the opposition below 50 points, including their last two wins - Feb. 4's 65-44 win over Penn State and Thursday's 50-45 win at Michigan.

LET'S PLAY MORE TIME
The Spartans have relished playing extra time over the past seven seasons. With its 93-90 double overtime win over Oklahoma State on Nov. 28, MSU won its 12th straight overtime game, dating back to the 2003-04 season. The streak is the longest such run among Big Ten schools. Surprisingly, only two of the 12 wins have come at home. MSU's last overtime loss came on Feb. 28, 2002 against Ohio State, 89-82, in the Big Ten Tournament.

The win was also MSU's first double overtime victory since Jan. 15, 1995 vs. Iowa (71-70). The Spartans had lost their previous three double overtime contest.

HOME COOKING
The 2009-10 basketball season is the Spartans' 21st inside the Jack Breslin Student Events Center. MSU has an all-time record of 210-78 (.729) at Breslin and have been even more dominant of late in its cozy confines, posting a mark of 76-16 (.826) since 2003.

FANS CONTINUE TO PACK THE BRESLIN
For the past five seasons, Michigan State has been one of the top programs in the country in regard to fan support. In each of the last five years, the Spartans have been 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 2007-08 (6,317). In 2008-09, the Spartans finished second in the Big Ten and 13th in the country, averaging 6,024 fans.

This season, MSU has averaged 6,031 fans through 13 games, to place second in the Big Ten and 11th in the nation. The Ohio State crowd of 12,412 was the third largest crowd in MSU program history.

WINNING NO. 250
Head coach Suzy Merchant won her 250th career game against Oklahoma State on Nov. 28. In her 14th season as head coach, Merchant has compiled a career record of 263-153 between Michigan State, Eastern Michigan and Saginaw Valley State. In addition, MSU's upset over No. 4 North Carolina was her 50th win as a Spartan and her first career win over a top-5 team.

INCOMING SPARTAN MADISON WILLIAMS NAMED McDONALD'S ALL-AMERICAN
Recent Michigan State women's basketball signee Madison Williams was selected to play in the 2010 McDonald's All-American Game, as announced Thursday night on ESPNU. Williams will become the second Spartan to compete in the prestigious game, which will be held on March 31 at 5:30 p.m. ET in Columbus, Ohio on ESPNU. Williams, a 6-7 senior center from Detroit Country Day, was one of 24 high school girls picked and will compete for the West team. In the nine years of the event for the girls, Williams joins Tiffanie Shives (2005) as the only other incoming Spartan to have been selected to the game.

ON THIS DATE
Michigan State is 8-2 all-time on February 18.