Winners of Three Straight, Spartans Host Northwestern Thursday Night

Feb. 20, 2008

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MICHIGAN STATE (16-11, 8-7) vs. NORTHWESTERN (4-22, 0-14)

Game Information
When: Thursday, Feb. 21 • 7 p.m.
Where: Breslin Center • East Lansing, Mich.

Media Coverage
TV: No television coverage.
Radio: WVFN 730 AM and (Rick Berkey: Play-by-Play)
Satellite Radio: XM Channel 197.
Live Stats: Gametracker at

Series History
Overall: Michigan State leads, 29-22
Last meeting: MSU 74, @ Northwestern 62 (1/17/08)

MSU: Suzy Merchant (Central Michigan, 1991)
Overall: 217-131 (13th year)
At MSU: 16-11 (first year)

NU: Beth Combs (Illinois, 1992)
Overall: 67-136 (seventh year)
At Northwestern: 23-91 (fourth year)

The Michigan State women's basketball team, riding a three-game winning streak, hosts Northwestern Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Breslin Center. The Spartans topped the Wildcats, 74-62, in the first meeting of the season on Jan. 17 in Evanston.

For the first time in program history, the Spartans (16-11, 8-7 Big Ten) won at Penn State with a 66-50 victory over the Nittany Lions on Sunday. MSU shot 55 percent from the field and outscored Penn State in the paint, 36-12. Michigan State also scored 31 points off 22 Nittany Lion turnovers.

Freshman point guard Brittney Thomas had an outstanding all-around game, scoring 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field. She was 6-for-8 from the free-throw line, collected six rebounds, had five steals, dished out three assists and recorded a block. Allyssa DeHaan also scored 16 points with three blocks and Lauren Aitch was 4-for-4 from the field with 11 points.

The Penn State win capped a 3-0 week for the Spartans. Last Monday at the Breslin Center, MSU came back from a 13-point deficit to beat Purdue, 56-54. On Thursday in Bloomington, the Spartans outlasted Indiana, 72-68, in a game that featured 14 ties and 16 lead changes.

The Spartans will be looking for their ninth straight win over the Wildcats and their 12th consecutive win over NU in East Lansing. MSU is also looking to match its season-high winning streak. The Spartans won four in a row (Northern Illinois, Kansas State, Delaware State, Clemson) back in November.

Northwestern (4-22, 0-14), still searching for its first Big Ten win, fell to Wisconsin Monday at home, 79-65.

After taking on the Wildcats, MSU visits Purdue Sunday, Feb. 24 for a 1 p.m. matchup on ESPN2.

For the third time this season, sophomore center Allyssa DeHaan has been named the Big Ten Player of the Week, the conference office announced Monday, Feb. 18. It marks the fifth time in her career she has earned the award, tying Liz Shimek for the most Big Ten Player of the Week honors in program history.

DeHaan led MSU to three wins last week, with victories over Purdue, Indiana and Penn State. She averaged 15.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.3 blocks and 2.0 assists as the Spartans climbed from eighth to sixth in the Big Ten standings.

DeHaan opened the week with 15 points and six blocks against Purdue, making her the first player in Big Ten history to record 100 blocks in two different seasons.

On the road against Indiana on Thursday, the center recorded a season-high 15 rebounds and a game-high 16 points, converting on her last four field-goal attempts to give MSU key leads late in the game. The double-double was her sixth of the season.

On Sunday, DeHaan helped the Spartans to their first-ever win at Penn State, netting 16 points on .500 shooting and a 6-of-6 performance from the free-throw line. DeHaan finished the week 13-of-14 from the charity stripe.

DeHaan is ranked among the Big Ten leaders in blocks (first - 112), free-throw percentage (fifth - 84.8 percent), rebounding (fifth - 7.9 avg.) and scoring (sixth - 14.9 avg.).

The Grandville, Mich., native was named Big Ten Player of the Week earlier this season on Dec. 3 and Dec. 10. She won the award twice last season as a freshman.

• Thursday's matchup will be the 52nd meeting between Michigan State and Northwestern.

• MSU leads the all-time series, 29-22, including a 17-6 record in games played in East Lansing.

• The Spartans have won eight in a row over Northwestern, dating back to Jan. 2, 2003.

• MSU has won 11 straight over the Wildcats in East Lansing. NU's last win at the Breslin Center was a 109-103 double-overtime victory on March 5, 1993.

• In the first meeting of the season, MSU topped Northwestern in Evanston on Jan. 17, 74-62.

• With three regular-season games remaining, the Spartans are sixth in the Big Ten standings with an 8-7 conference mark.

• The top five teams in the standings will receive a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament, scheduled March 6-9 in Indianapolis at Conseco Fieldhouse.

• The Spartans have two home games (Northwestern, Illinois) and one road game (Purdue) left on the schedule.

• Michigan State has beaten the top three teams in the Big Ten standings, all at home (Iowa, Ohio State and Purdue).

• Following Northwestern, MSU will take on Purdue Sunday, Feb. 24 at Mackey Arena. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 at 1 p.m.

Allyssa DeHaan was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday, marking the third time this season she has earned the award.

• Michigan State recorded its first-ever win at Penn State with a 66-50 victory over the Nittany Lions Sunday, Feb. 17 at the Bryce Jordan Center.

• The Spartans led by as many as 18 points and never trailed in the contest.

• MSU outscored the Nittany Lions in the paint, 36-12, and scored 31 points off 22 Penn State turnovers.

Brittney Thomas had an impressive all-around game, scoring 16 points to go along with six rebounds, five steals and three assists. She was 5-of-6 from the field and 6-of-8 at the free-throw line.

• The Spartans shot 55 percent from the field, the best mark for the team in the conference season.

Allyssa DeHaan scored 16 points and had three blocks for the Spartans.

Lauren Aitch added 11 points, as MSU improved to 7-3 this season when Aitch scores in double-figures.

• Entering Sunday, MSU had lost all 13 of its games at Penn State.

Northwestern, still searching for its first Big Ten win, fell to Wisconsin Monday at home, 79-65.

The Wildcats are 0-14 in Big Ten play at 4-22 overall. NU went 4-8 in the non-conference season, with wins over Dayton, Loyola, Central Michigan and Marquette.

Michigan State defeated Northwestern earlier this season in Evanston on Jan. 17, 74-62.

Center Amy Jaeschke is second among Big Ten freshman in scoring (13.9 avg.) and rebounding (7.2 avg.). She scored 26 points in the first meeting against the Spartans to go along with 10 rebounds.

• Michigan State defeated Northwestern, 74-62, Thursday, Jan. 17 in Evanston, Ill.

• It marked MSU's eighth straight win over the Wildcats and fourth consecutive victory in Evanston.

Kalisha Keane scored a career-high 23 points on 9-of-19 shooting.

Allyssa DeHaan scored 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting.

• The two teams traded leads 12 times in the first half. MSU led 31-29 at the break.

• MSU outscored the Wildcats 43-33 in the second half. The Spartans only committed four turnovers and shot 50 percent (17-for-34) in the final 20 minutes.

• Michigan State swiped a season-high 15 steals. Cetera Washington tied a career high with three steals in just nine minutes of action.

• In her first start of the season, Courtney Davidson scored 10 points and had two steals, two assists and three rebounds. It was Davidson's second career start (first career start came last season at Rutgers).

Lauren Aitch scored 10 points off the bench.