Women's Basketball Looking for Season Sweep of Purdue Sunday

Feb. 23, 2008

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MICHIGAN STATE (17-11, 9-7) at PURDUE (14-13, 10-6)

Game Information
When: Sunday, Feb. 24 • 1 p.m.
Where: Mackey Arena • West Lafayette, Ind.

Media Coverage
TV: ESPN2 Announcers: Bob Wischusen (Play-by-Play); Leslie Hill (Analysis)
Radio: WVFN 730 AM and msuspartans.com (Rick Berkey: Play-by-Play)
Live Stats: Gametracker at msuspartans.com

Series History
Overall: Purdue leads, 33-20
Last meeting: @ MSU 56, Purdue 54 (2/11/08)

MSU: Suzy Merchant (Central Michigan, 1991)
Overall: 218-131 (13th year)
At MSU: 17-11 (first year)

PUR: Sharon Versyp (Purdue, 1989)
Overall: 162-84 (eighth year)
At Purdue: 45-19 (second year)

The Michigan State women's basketball team, riding a four-game winning streak, takes on Purdue Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. in Mackey Arena. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

MSU is coming off a 65-40 victory over Northwestern at home Thursday night. The Spartans began their winning streak with a come-from-behind win against Purdue at the Breslin Center on Feb. 11. Down 19-6 in the first half and trailing by as many as nine in the second half, MSU clamped down on defense and edged past the Boilermakers, 56-54, in the first meeting of the season. With the score tied at 54 and 15 seconds remaining, senior guard Courtney Davidson hit two free throws to propel MSU to victory.

After the Purdue win, the Spartans won two straight on the road, topping Indiana, 72-68, and Penn State, 66-50. The win over the Nittany Lions marked MSU's first-ever win at Penn State.

Sophomore center Allyssa DeHaan and freshman point guard Brittney Thomas have been leading the way for the Spartans during the four-game winning streak. DeHaan, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, scored 20 against Northwestern and is averaging 16.8 points during the streak. Thomas is pouring in 10.8 points and grabbing 6.8 rebounds in the past four games.

Sunday's game has significant implications regarding the Big Ten standings. After Thursday's games, MSU is in fifth place with a 9-7 conference record, while Purdue's 72-36 loss at Michigan drops the Boilers to third at 10-6. Fourth-place Minnesota, at 9-6, hosts Wisconsin Saturday afternoon at Williams Arena. The top five teams in the standings receive a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament March 6-9 in Indianapolis. MSU concludes the regular season Thursday, Feb. 28 with a home game against Illinois.

• Sunday's matchup will be the 54th meeting between Michigan State and Purdue.

• The Boilermakers lead the all-time series, 33-20.

• Purdue is 20-4 against MSU in West Lafayette, however, the Spartans won last year's meeting with a stunning 17-point comeback. Mia Johnson hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left to propel the Spartans to victory, 54-52.

• In the first meeting of the season, MSU topped Purdue in East Lansing on Feb. 11, 56-54.

• With two regular-season games remaining, the Spartans are in fifth place with a 9-7 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 host Illinois in the regular-season finale Thursday, Feb. 28.

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

• Michigan State defeated Northwestern, 65-40, Thursday night at the Breslin Center.

Allyssa DeHaan scored 20 points in Thursday's win over Northwestern.

• MSU's win over Northwestern gave it the season sweep over the Wildcats (MSU won, 74-62, in Evanston on Jan. 17)...the win marks the Spartans' ninth straight against Northwestern overall and 12th straight over the Wildcats in East Lansing.

• MSU won its fourth consecutive game, matching its season-high winning streak...the Spartans also won four in a row in late November with wins over Northern Illinois, Kansas State, Delaware State and Clemson...during the current streak, MSU is outscoring its opponents 64.3 to 53.0 (+11.3)...Allyssa DeHaan is averaging 16.8 points and Brittney Thomas is averaging 10.8 points and 6.8 rebounds during the past four games.

• MSU shot 16-for-28 (57.1 percent) in the first half...the Spartans finished the game shooting 26-for-56 (46.4 percent).

Allyssa DeHaan led the Spartans with 20 points, scoring 12 in the first half on 6-for-7 (86 percent) field-goal shooting...she has scored in double-figures 22 times this season and has scored 20 or more in five games ...the Spartans are 11-3 when DeHaan leads the team in scoring.

• Michigan State outscored Northwestern in the paint, 40-18...the Spartans have outscored their opponents in the paint 19 times this season, 12 being by double-digits...over the last three games, MSU is outscoring its opponent by an average of 20.0 points per game in the paint.

Brittney Thomas finished the night with 13 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks...she has led the team in rebounds five times this season, with the Spartans winning all five contests.

Purdue is third in the Big Ten conference standings with a 10-6 league record. The Boilermakers have lost three of their last four, however, falling to Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan with the lone win over Iowa.

The Boilermakers' top two scorers are in the post: juniors Lakisha Freeman and Danielle Campbell average 12.7 and 12.3 points, respectively. Freeman scored 12 points in the first meeting.

Purdue played a difficult non-conference schedule, with losses to Top 25 teams Duke, Old Dominion, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Connecticut.

G - #20 FahKara Malone (So., 5-11, 8.6 ppg)
F - #45 Kalika France (Sr., 5-9, 7.5 ppg)
F - #3 Natasha Bogdanova (R-Jr., 6-4, 7.0 ppg)
F - #24 Lakisha Freeman (R-Jr., 6-1, 12.7 ppg)
C - #15 Danielle Campbell (Jr., 6-4, 12.3 ppg)

• Michigan State defeated Purdue, 56-54, Monday, Feb. 11 before a crowd of 6,218 at the Breslin Center.

Allyssa DeHaan recorded six blocks on the night...she became the first player in Big Ten history to reach 100 blocks in two different seasons, and the sixth to reach the 100-block plateau in a single season. • MSU trailed by as many as 13 in the first half (19-6) and was down nine (47-38) with 10 minutes to play, but the defense stepped up and didn't allow a field goal in the final 7:41 while limiting Purdue to five points.

• On the other end of the court, the Spartans hit clutch shots, led by Courtney Davidson and Lauren Aitch, to close the game on an 18-7 run. Aitch scored six of her eight points in the final six minutes, including a layup that tied the game at 54 with 45 seconds remaining.

Courtney Davidson scored 12 of her team-leading 17 points in the second half, and tied her career high with seven assists...she also tied a career high with 35 minutes...she hit two free throws with 15.6 seconds remaining to give the Spartans the 56-54 lead...she also cut Purdue's lead to one point at 53-52 after hitting a 3-pointer with 1:26 on the clock.

• The win marked the second-largest comeback of the season, behind only the 16-point comeback against Iowa (1/10).

• The Spartans scored 34 of their 56 points in the paint...Purdue finished with 11 points in the paint.

• Michigan State limited Purdue to 11 free-throw attempts, which tied a season low for the Boilermakers.

• The Spartans forced 23 Boilermaker turnovers.

• MSU's bench, led by Davidson, outscored Purdue, 34-11.