MSU Concludes Regular Season at Purdue
The Spartans take on the Boilermakers for the first time this season.
|Michigan State (16-12, 6-9 B1G) at Purdue (18-11, 9-6 B1G)|
|Date||Saturday, Feb. 24|
|Time||2 p.m. ET|
|Location||West Lafayette, Ind.| Mackey Arena|
|Tickets||Click To Purchase|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network | WJIM-AM 1240|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Purdue|
|Statistics||Michigan State | Purdue|
|Internet Coverage||Live Stats|
|Social Media||@MSU_WBasketball | Facebook | Instagram|
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State women’s basketball will conclude the regular season on the road at Purdue on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. The game will be televised on BTN with Keaton Gillogly and Christy Winters Scott on the call. Michigan State enters the finale with a 16-12 overall record and 6-9 in league contests, while Purdue is 18-11 and 9-6 in the B1G.
Against Wisconsin on Feb. 21, senior guard/forward Lexi Gussert, sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon, senior guard Branndais Agee, senior forward Kennedy Johnson and senior forward Taya Reimer earned starts for the Spartans in the win. This was the Spartans’ 13th different starting lineup this season.
• Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon now has 148 assists this season, moving to a tie for No. 6 on MSU’s single-season assists list with Deb Traxinger (1979-80). She added a game-high six assists against Wisconsin on Feb. 21. McCutcheon already has the No. 4 spot on the list with 169 helpers from last season as a freshman.
• Freshman forward Sidney Cooks leads the team in points scored this season with 277 points. She is currently 12th in the Michigan State freshman record book, passing Brittney Thomas, who scored 272 points during her rookie season in 2007-08. Cooks is just one point from tying Nanette Gibson (1978-79) for 11th.
• Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee became the 14th Spartan women’s basketball player to reach the 1,200 point plateau, now with 1,204 points, moving up to No. 14 on MSU’s career points list.
The injury-ravaged Spartans have used 13 different starting lineups this season. Against Wisconsin on Senior Night on Feb. 21, senior forward Taya Reimer, sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon, senior guard Branndais Agee, senior guard/forward Lexi Gussert and senior forward Kennedy Johnson all earned starts.
McCutcheon made her team-leading 27th start of the season, as part of her 60th of her career. Agee made her 18th start of the season and 80th of her career against Wisconsin. Allen has started 20 games this season and 23 for her career. Cooks has started for the 22 of MSU’s 27 games this season. Gussert has made 11 starts this year.
LENDING A HELPING HAND
Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon continues to climb up the single-season assists charts with 148 helpers this season. The sophomore is currently tied for eighth with Deb Traxinger (1979-80). She is 12 assists from tying All-American Tori Jankoska, who had 160 assists during the 2016-17 season. As a freshman, McCutcheon was had 169 helpers, which was fourth all-time in a single season.
SENIOR DAY NOTES
Following the game against Wisconsin, the Spartans celebrated five seniors: forward Taya Reimer, Kennedy Johnson, guard/forward Lexi Gussert, guard Kiara Carter and guard Branndais Agee. Both Reimer and Agee have reached the 1,000-point mark during their Spartan careers. All five were honored along with their families following the game against the Badgers.
Against the Badgers, four of the seniors started, including Gussert, Agee, Reimer and Johnson. Reimer started for the eighth time this season and 41st of her career ... Gussert made her 11th start this season and 27th of her career ... Johnson started for the second time of both this season and her career.
WELCOME BACK COLLEY
After missing the previous seven games due to injury, redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley returned to action on Feb. 14 against Nebraska, checking in part way through the first quarter. Colley played 24 minutes and tallied 15 points, five assists, four rebounds and one steal in her first action since Jan. 16 at Illinois. Colley’s 15 points is her fifth double-digit scoring outing in the last six games played as part of her 11th this season. Colley has dished out five or more helpers in each of the last five games played as part of nine games this season. Colley was 1-6, averaging only 62.3 points per game, while allowing 71.9 ppg, while the guard was out.
SCOUTING THE BOILERMAKERS
Purdue is 18-11 overall and 9-6 in B1G play entering Saturday’s regular-season finale and the only meeting this season with MSU. The Boilermakers are on a loss-win pattern in their last four games, having won five of their last eight games overall. Last time out, Purdue beat Illinois, 64-51, on Wednesday, behind sophomore guard Dominique Oden’s 25 points, her fifth 20-point outing of the season. Senior guard Andreona Keys added 14 points, while freshman guard Karissa McLaughlin tallied 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Sophomore forward Ae’Rianna Harris pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds, leading Purdue to a 42-31 rebounding advantage. Leading 11-10 after the first quarter, the Boilermakers pulled away in the second stanza, outscoring Illinois, 21-11, to take a 32-21 lead at intermission and didn’t look back.
Sharon Versyp is in her 12th season guiding the Boilermakers, posting a 255-144 mark, and is the winningest coach in Purdue women’s basketball history. Versyp is in her 18th season as a head coach, amassing a 372-209 overall record.
The Boilermakers are second in the B1G in scoring defense, holding the opposition to just 62.0 ppg, while ranking 10th in scoring offense (66.2 ppg), to rank ninth in scoring margin (+4.2). Purdue is also third in the league in free throw percentage (.755), along with fifth in both field goal percentage (.442) and 3-point field goal percentage (.358). The Boilermaker defense is also second in the B1G and 19th in the NCAA in blocked shots (147), ranking third in the league and 26th in the nation in blocked shots per game (5.1 bpg).
Keys is 18th in the conference in scoring (13.5 ppg), while Oden is 21st (13.0 ppg) and Harris is 25th (12.2 ppg). Harris is also second in the league in blocked shots (3.1 bpg), as well as fourth in field goal percentage (.533) and sixth in rebounding (8.8 rpg).
LAST TIME VS. PURDUE
Michigan State women’s basketball lost to Purdue on Jan. 22, 2017 on Alumni Day, 76-66 in front of a season-high 9,808 fans at the Breslin Center.
The Spartans have now lost three-straight games for the first time since the 2014-15 season. MSU is now 13-7 overall and 3-4 in Big Ten action. Purdue improves to 13-8 overall and 4-3 in league play. Senior guard Tori Jankoska became the first Michigan State women’s basketball player to reach the 1,900-point mark with a team leading 16 points.
GETTING OVER 40
Rebounding has been the key to the Spartans’ success. MSU is 14-7 when getting over 40 boards in a game. Michigan State has had over 56 rebounds three times this season against Oakland, College of Charleston and Detroit Mercy. Overall the Spartans are 13-5 when out-rebounding its opponents.
Entering the lone regular-season meeting between the Spartans and Boilermakers, Purdue holds a 40-31 advantage over Michigan State in the all-time series record. The Boilermakers have won the last two meetings after the Spartans had won the previous four and five of the previous six. MSU is 8-23 at West Lafayette, but has won four of its last six trips there, splitting the last two, falling, 66-54, last season on Jan. 4, 2017, but winning the previous visit, 61-56, on Feb. 28, 2015. Under head coach Suzy Merchant, the Spartans are 12-7 against the Boilermakers.
LEAVING YOUR MARK
Redshirt senior Branndais Agee is leaving her mark on the Michigan State program. With a season-high 14 rebounds against Wisconsin on Feb. 21, Agee now has 675 career rebounds, moving up to No. 15 on the Spartans’ career rebounds list. She is now just two rebounds shy of tying current Director of Operations and Technology, Julie (Pagel) Dombroski who had 677 in her career (2000-04). Agee is also tied for 16th in scoring with 1,191 career points, passing Victoria Lucas-Perry (2003-07), who had 1,182 career points. Agee is three points away from tying Jefferson, who had 1,194 points. With 57 blocks, she is tied for 15th in career blocks, just one shy of Aerial Powers (2014-16) who is 14th with 58. Agee is 14th in career games played with 130.
THE FRIENDLY CONFINES
This season, the Spartans are 9999-5 at the friendly confines of the Breslin Center. MSU was a perfect 6-0 in non-conference action and 3-5 in league play. At home, MSU is averaging 76.2 points per game, while allowing 60.6. Two Spartans score in double figures at home, led by redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley, who averages 12.9 ppg. Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee (11.3 ppg) has scored in double digits. MSU dominates the boards at home with a rebound margin +9.1.
ANATOMY OF AN UPSET
On Jan. 11, Michigan State earned its first-ever win against Maryland. The Spartans are now 1-10 against the Terps. MSU is just the second team to earn a Big Ten win against Maryland, along with Ohio State which has three wins against UMD. Maryland joined the league in 2015.
GUSSERT’S GRAND GAME
Senior guard/forward Lexi Gussert tied her season-high with 14 points against Michigan on Feb. 11, marking her fourth double-figure scoring game this season and ninth of her career. Sunday was the first game this season that Gussert led the Spartans in scoring and was the second time of her career leading the team in points. With her first time topping the team in scoring this season, 11 different Spartans have led the team in scoring through the 26 games. Gussert’s 14 points Sunday gives her 129 this season, as she has topped the 120 point mark for the third time in her career.
LEADING THE STAT LINE
Eleven different Spartans have led the team in scoring in the first 28 games of the season. Sidney Cooks has led the team six times. Shay Colley has been the leader five times, while Branndais Agee and Taryn McCutcheon has led the team in scoring four times. Jenna Allen has been the top scorer three times. Taya Reimer, Kennedy Johnson, Mardrekia Cook, Lexi Gussert and Victoria Gaines have all led the team in scoring.
A LOOK AT THE STANDINGS
Entering the final weekend of B1G regular-season play before the B1G Tournament, Michigan State and Penn State are tied for 10th with 6-9 ledgers, with Penn State holding the tiebreaker via beating MSU on Feb. 4, and sit a game back of Rutgers in ninth at 7-8. Ohio State has secured at least a share of the Big Ten regular-season title, holding a one-game lead over Maryland, and the Buckeyes can clinch the B1G title outright with a win Sunday at Penn State. Maryland and Nebraska are tied for second with 11-4 marks, while Iowa and Minnesota are tied for fourth with 10-5 records. Michigan is sitting at sixth with a 10-6 record, having completed its regular-season action. Purdue and Indiana are tied for seventh with 9-6 marks. Below Rutgers, Michigan State and Penn State, Northwestern is 12th at 3-12, followed by Wisconsin at 2-14 and Illinois at 0-15. Indiana is the hottest team in the league, winning eight in a row, while Ohio State and Maryland have both won seven of their last 10, but Ohio State has won its last three contests, while Maryland has lost its last three games. On the flip side, Wisconsin has lost eight of its last 10, Northwestern has dropped nine of its last 10, and Illinois has lost 16 in a row.
The Spartans are currently 1-1 in overtime games this season. MSU played its first overtime game of the season with an 83-74 road win over East Tennessee State on Dec. 16. Michigan State lost its second OT game, 71-68 against Iowa on Feb. 1. Last season, the Spartans were 1-2 in overtime games with at home against Western Michigan and road losses to Iowa and Nebraska. Overall, MSU is 33-21 in overtime games.
AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is 30-51 against ranked teams, including 19-15 at home, 7-21 on the road and 4-15 on a neutral court. As a ranked team against fellow ranked team, MSU is 15-22 versus ranked teams. This season, MSU is 3-5 against ranked teams with a loss to No. 1 UConn, 96-62, and a defeat against Notre Dame, 90-59. MSU defeated No. 22 South Florida, 83-73, on Dec. 21 and upset No. 11 Maryland on the road, 82-68. On Jan. 23, MSU fell to No. 16 Michigan, 74-48, while falling to No. 12 OSU, 78-62 on Jan. 27. On Feb. 8, MSU fell to No. 10 Maryland, 76-68, while defeating No. 21/20 Michigan on Feb. 11, 66-61.
AROUND THE BIG TEN
Sophomore Taryn McCutcheon is third in the Big Ten in assists, averaging 5.5 apg. She is behind Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell and Iowa’s Kathleen Doyle. McCutcheon tied a career high with 12 against Iowa on Feb. 1. Redshirt-sophomore Shay Colley is ninth in assists (4.3 spg). Colley is tied for fourth in steals with 2.0 spg, while McCutcheon is tied for ninth with 1.8 spg.
MSU is tied for second in the league assists, averaging 17.8 apg. Iowa is first in the conference in assists with 21.6 apg. Michigan State is fourth in rebound margin (+5.9) and third in steals (9.0 spg). The Spartans are second in the B1G in defensive rebounding percentage (.704) and fourth in offensive rebounding percentage (.378).
COOKS ROOKIE CAMPAIGN
Freshman forward Sidney Cooks posted her seventh double-digit outing in the last 11 games as part of her 14th double-figure scoring game of the season against Penn State on Feb. 4. Cooks has been in a bit of a scoring drought of late with only 13 points in the last four games. She is still averaging 9.9 ppg, which is fourth on the team in scoring.
Cooks is also tied for seventh in the Big Ten in scoring among freshmen 9.9 ppg. Northwestern’s Lindsey Pulliam is first among freshmen with 14.3 ppg. She is fifth among freshmen in rebounding, averaging 5.0 rpg.
DID YOU KNOW?
Michigan State has faced eight ranked teams, standing 3-5 in those contests. The Spartans have risen to the occasion with several players setting career highs against ranked foes. Against No. 2 Notre Dame, junior center Jenna Allen set a new career high with 28 points, the most on the team this season. Against No. 22 South Florida, redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley added a career-high with 27 points. Finally, against No. 11 Maryland, sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon set a new high with 25 points. Against No. 16 Michigan, Sidney Cooks was one point shy of tying her season high when she scored 17 points. Redshirt-sophomore Victoria Gaines had a season-high 16 points against Maryland on Feb. 8. In a win against Michigan on Feb. 11, senior guard/forward Lexi Gussert tied her season-high with 14 points.
BREAKING INTO THE RECORD BOOK
Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon has cracked the top 20 in career assists after only 60 games in the Spartan uniform. McCutcheon has 317 career assists for an average of 5.3 assists per game. She passed Spartan great and current graduate assistant Kalisha Keane (2007-11) for 15th with 300 assists. She is now just five assists from 14th. Rene Haynes (2003-07) had 322 career assists.
BIG TEN OPENERS
Michigan State is 23-13 in home Big Ten openers in 36 years in the league. This season, the Spartans fell to Rutgers on Dec. 31, 61-58.
Michigan State is 18-18 all-time in Big Ten openers, having won its last five of its last seven ... Under Coach Merchant, the Spartans are 7-4 in Big Ten openers ... MSU earned a dominating 68-46 win over Indiana in Bloomington, 68-46 on Dec. 28 ... This was the first time since the 2011-12 season that the Spartans have opened B1G play with the Hoosiers. MSU captured that game in Bloomington, 63-49.
REACHING A MILESTONE
Senior forward Taya Reimer reached a milestone, passing the 1,000-career point plateau against UConn on Nov. 25. Between her two seasons at Notre Dame and her two at Michigan State, she now has 1,148 career points. She is currently sixth in scoring for the Spartans, averaging 8.0 points per game.
BOUNCE BACK ABILITY
In Coach Merchant’s first 11 seasons, the Spartans are 74-31 (70.5%) following a loss.
AROUND THE NATION
The Spartans are 12th in the nation in assists with 498 and 14th in assists per game, averaging 17.8. The Spartans are also 29th in rebounds with 1,148. Michigan State is 51st in the nation in rebounds per game (41.0) and 50th in rebound margin (+5.9). This week, Taryn McCutcheon is 31st in the nation in assists per game (5.5 apg).
Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee became the 26th MSU women’s basketball player to reach 1,000 points with 10 points against No. 1 UConn on Nov. 25. Agee started the week by scoring a season-high 17 points in her hometown against Detroit, bringing her career point total to 991 and going over 1,000 against UConn. She now has 1,204 career points in the Green and White. Agee is averaging 10.3 points through the first 28 games of the season. Tori Jankoska was the last Spartan to reach 1,000 points doing so on Nov. 27, 2015.
CLOSING IT OUT
The Spartans have been extremely effective closing out games over the last couple years, winning 171 of their last 179 games (.955) when leading with five minutes left, including 122 of their last 131. In Coach Merchant’s tenure, Michigan State is 206-14 (.936) when holding a lead with five minutes left. This season, the Spartans are 15-2.
FANS CONTINUE TO PACK THE BRESLIN
Michigan State women’s basketball continues to pack the Breslin Center, finishing the 2016-17 season ninth in the nation and first in the Big Ten home attendance. The Spartans averaged 6,011 fans in 14 home games this season. MSU had a total of 84,152 fans pass through the gates. This was the 13th-straight season that the Spartans have been ranked in the top 15 nationally in attendance. MSU has had a total attendance of at least 80,000 since 2005-06.
This season, Michigan State is still eighth in attendance, averaging 6,227 fans per game. They are first in the Big Ten ahead of Purdue (5,985) and Ohio State (5,596). The Spartans had a season-high 12,434 fans against Michigan in the annual Pink Game on Feb. 11.
LAST TIME OUT
In a game with 10 lead changes, the Michigan State women’s basketball team stopped Wisconsin, 69-61, on Senior Night Wednesday at the Breslin Center.
Michigan State celebrated a quintet of seniors Branndais Agee, Kiara Carter, Lexi Gussert, Kennedy Johnson and Taya Reimer.
The Spartans improve to 16-12 overall and 6-9 in league contests, while Wisconsin falls to 9-20 overall and 2-14 in Big Ten play.
The Spartans welcome to their staff three former Michigan State players. Former Big Ten Player of the Year Kalisha Keane and All-Big Ten honorees Jasmine Hines and Annalise Pickrel are all graduate assistants with the Spartans this season.
The Spartans will now prepare for the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, Feb. 28 -March 4.
In head coach Suzy Merchant’s tenure, when two numbers on the scoreboard were achieved it typically has been a sign of a MSU win. Overall, MSU has scored at least 70 points 12 times overall this season. MSU has won 117 of its last 128 games when scoring at least 70 points, and MSU is 134-18 under head coach Suzy Merchant when hanging at least 70 points on the scoreboard. This year, MSU is 11-1 when scoring at least 70.
MEET THE 2018-19 SIGNEES
Michigan State women’s basketball head coach Suzy Merchant announced the signing of three National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, including Nia Clouden (Owing Mills, Maryland/St. Frances), Tory Ozment (Buford, Georgia/Buford) and Kayla Belles (Ithaca, Michigan/Ithaca).
Clouden is a 5-8 point guard who plays for head coach Jerome Shelton at St. Frances Academy. She is currently ranked No. 43 overall and No. 13 at her position by ESPN HoopGurlz. Last March, Clouden was named Maryland Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year, becoming the third Baltimore-area player to win the award in 11 years. She was also the USA Today Maryland Player of the Year last season. She is a two-time captain, who averaged 14.2 points and 4.7 assists per game as a junior.
Ozment is a 6-1 guard/forward who plays for head coach Gene Durden at Buford High SchoolDurden has captured five state championships during time at Buford. She is currently ranked No. 14 at her position by ESPN HoopGurlz. Last season, Ozment was named the AAAAA State Player of the Year as well as being named to the Georgia Athletic Coaches Associations All-State squad. Ozment earned Atlanta Tipoff Club and Atlanta Journal Constitution All-Metro team. Last season, she averaged 13.4 points and 3.8 assists per game, leading Buford on a run to the Class AAAAA State Championship.
Belles is a 6-3 forward who plays for head coach Ty Warczinksy at Ithaca High School. As a junior, Belles averaged 19.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, 3.4 blocked shots and 2.6 steals per game, earning Associated Press Class B all-state honors. She led the Yellowjackets to three-straight Tri-Valley Conference West Division titles, which included a run to the Class C Final Four during her sophomore campaign. She garnered first-team all-state honors three-straight seasons, averaging a double-double the last two seasons.