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Spartans to Open Big Ten Tournament Friday Against Michigan

March 4, 2010

No. 25/23 MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (21-8, 12-6) vs.

Date: Friday, March 5
Time: 11:30 a.m. ET
Location: Indianapolis, Ind.
Arena: Conseco Fieldhouse
TV: Big Ten Network (Mark Neely - play-by-play; Mary Murphy - analyst; Leah Secondo - sidelines)
Radio: WVFN 730 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play)
Internet: Live audio and stats at

Game Notes in PDF Format
2010 Big Ten Tournament Central
2010 Big Ten Tournament Bracket

The MSU Alumni Association, Spartan Fund and Fastbreak Club will be hosting a pep-rally at the Hilton Garden Inn from 8-9 p.m. on Thursday, March 4. The Hilton Garden Inn is located at 10 East Market Street, Indianapolis, Indiana. For questions or additional information log on to or call 1-877-MSU-ALUM (678-2586).

Features of the program include head coach Suzy Merchant and the women's basketball team, the Spartan Brass, the MSU Cheerleaders and Sparty! FREE food and FREE admission!

The Spartans are 11-14 all-time in their previous 15 trips to the Big Ten Tournament, which started in 1995. This year's No. 2 seed ties for the highest in program history, along with the 1997, 2005 and 2009 squads. Michigan State won its only Big Ten Tournament title in 2005 as the No. 2 seed.

Michigan State is 7-4 in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Tournament, despite a 56-50 loss to Wisconsin in last season's quarterfinal matchup. MSU is 1-0 against Michigan in the tournament, a 81-59 first round win in 1995.



Michigan State leads the all-time series, 55-15, and has won the last six meetings, including both games this season. In all, MSU has won 14 of the last 15. On a neutral court, the Spartans are 4-0, including winning their only match up at the Big Ten Tournament - 81-59 on March 3, 1995. In its last five games, MSU has held Michigan to only 44.0 points per game.

Michigan State had four student-athletes honored by the Big Ten with postseason awards and honors. Earning major awards was senior Allyssa DeHaan, who was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and junior Kalisha Keane, who took home the Sixth Player of the Year award. DeHaan, Keane, junior Brittney Thomas and sophomore Lykendra Johnson all received All-Big Ten recognition by both the coaches and media.

DeHaan became the first Spartan to be named the conference's Defensive Player of the Year and became the first player in Big Ten history to be named to the All-Defensive Team in each of her four seasons. She also earned All-Big Ten honors for the fourth time in her career, being named to the second team by both the coaches and the media. She becomes just the third Spartan to be a four-time All-Big Ten selection (Lindsay Bowen, Liz Shimek).

Keane was the first MSU student-athlete to win the Sixth Player of the Year award, in addition to being named to the All-Big Ten Third Team by the coaches and honorable mention All-Big Ten by the media. Keane was an honorable mention All-Big Ten choice in her first two seasons. Joining DeHaan and Keane on the All-Big Ten teams were Johnson and Thomas. Johnson was named to the third team by the coaches and honorable mention by the media, while Thomas was an honorable mention selection by both parties. Thomas is an honorable mention selection for the third time, while Johnson also earned honorable mention recognition last season. Senior Lauren Aitch was the team's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipient.

20 AND 10
With its win over Purdue on Feb. 25, Michigan State posted its seventh-straight 20-win season. It is the second longest stretch in the Big Ten, as Ohio State has eight consecutive 20-win seasons. All-time, it is the Spartans' 11th season of 20 or more wins.

With their win at Ohio State on Feb. 21, the Spartans won their 10th Big Ten game for the eighth-straight season. Ohio State is the only other Big Ten school to also have an active run of eight consecutive double-figure conference win seasons. MSU is 93-41 (69.4%) in conference play over the last eight seasons.

Junior Kalisha Keane is seven points away from becoming the 21st Spartan all-time and third on the 2009-10 Spartans to score 1,000 career points. Currently, she is 22nd all-time at MSU with 993 points. Keane has been a dangerous offensive weapon for the Spartans in Big Ten play, increasing her production in league games. She led the team and was 18th in the conference averaging 10.9 points in Big Ten games, while having averaged 8.2 points in non-conference action.

Keane has also improved her shooting percentages, making 42.2% from the field and 41.1% from 3-point range (sixth in the Big Ten) in league games, in comparison to 36.3% and 33.3%, respectively in non-conference. She has made 21 of her last 47 (44.7%) 3-point attempts over the last 10 games. All-time, Keane is now eighth at MSU with 108 made 3-point field goals.

The depth of the 2009-10 Spartans has paid dividends this season. The MSU bench is averaging 28.9 points, 17.8 rebounds and 6.6 assists, while playing 80.5 minutes, compared the opposition's 14.1 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 56.5 minutes. MSU's 28.9 points off the bench lead the Big Ten, more than eight points per game, as Purdue is second in the conference at 20.2 points. In conference games, MSU led with 26.1 points (Purdue - 21.1). The Spartans have received 35 double-figure scoring efforts off the bench, including the leading scorer 12 times.

Michigan State ended the Big Ten regular season leading in conference games in scoring defense (57.5), field goal percentage defense (35.1%), 3-point field goal percentage defense (27.7%) and blocks (5.78). It was the first time that the Spartans have led the Big Ten in scoring defense. MSU set a new Big Ten record in field goal percentage defense, and led the league for the third time. Also, it was the third time in four years that MSU led in 3-point field goal percentage defense and was the fifth time that MSU has led in blocks, including three of the last four seasons.

Individually, Allyssa DeHaan led the Big Ten in conference games in blocks with 3.06. It was the third time in her career that she has led the league, also doing so as a freshman and sophomore. Also, Lykendra Johnson led the conference in offensive rebounds (3.06).

During its last 11 games, where MSU has won 10, the defensive effort has propelled the team to victory. During the stretch opponents are averaging only 55.4 point per game, even better in the nine wins, the Spartans have allowed only 53.2 points.

Michigan State has held 14 of its last 15 opponents below 40% from the field, vaulting them into the Big Ten lead in field goal percentage defense. Over the last 15 games, MSU has held its opponents to 34.1% from the field, improving its season mark to 35.1%, which is currently 18th in the nation. In Big Ten games, the Spartans led the conference for the third time in program history with a 35.1% clip, which broke their own Big Ten record set last season (35.3%).

In six of the last nine games, the Spartans have held its opposition to under 25% from 3-point range. For the stretch, the nine teams have combined to shoot 24.4% and make only 33 shots. MSU led the conference in Big Ten play for the third time in the last four seasons, holding teams to 27.7% from long range, and is third in overall games at 29.4%.

Michigan State has been a dangerous team this season against teams ranked in the nation's top-10. MSU is one of four teams (Connecticut, Oklahoma, Rutgers) in the nation to have played at least five top-10 teams this season. The Spartans have knocked off No. 7 Ohio State, 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 three teams in the country with at least three top-10 wins, as No. 1 Connecticut has five top-10 wins and No. 3 Nebraska has three.

It is the first time in program history that MSU has beaten three Associated Press top-10 teams in the same regular season. They had only beaten two teams in a season on two other occasions, in 2002-03 (No. 7/6 Purdue on Jan. 6 and No. 10 Minnesota on Jan. 23) and 2004-05 (No. 3 Notre Dame on Dec. 2 and No. 2/3 Ohio State on Feb. 20).

The Spartans are second in the Big Ten, behind Ohio State, in RPI this season, ranking 17th in the NCAA RPI, 18th according to and 19th by The MSU schedule is the toughest among conference foes and ranks 13th nationally by and 14th by In non-conference action, has MSU sixth nationally in RPI. As a conference, the Big Ten is fifth in RPI overall, and in the non-conference schedule was third in RPI and second in strength of schedule according to

Senior Allyssa DeHaan entered her senior season on pace to break the NCAA Division I blocked shots record and on Feb. 18 she accomplished that feat. DeHaan posted three blocks against Illinois to set a new NCAA mark at 487. Currently, she has 499 and is second behind St. Mary's junior Louella Tomlinson (500). (Note: Tomlinson begins play at the West Coast Conference Tournament on Sunday in the semifinals.) At Michigan on Feb. 11, DeHaan tied the established record of 480 blocks set by TCU's Sandora Irvin (2001-05). Later that night, Tomlinson surpassed both DeHaan and Irvin.

DeHaan became the Big Ten's all-time blocked shots leader during MSU's Big Ten Tournament game vs. 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), she became the fastest in conference history to reach the 300-block plateau, needing only 72 games.

Senior Allyssa DeHaan has totaled 21 blocks in her five previous Big Ten Tournament games. She is currently second in career tournament blocks, three shy of the record held by Ohio State's Jessica Davenport (24 in 10 games).

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 vs. Northwestern (Feb. 14) and topped 1,600 career points against Illinois (Feb. 18). She currently has 1,633 points. Kisha Kelley (1991-95) is third with 1,668. DeHaan is fourth among active Big Ten players and is 54th all-time in conference history.

DeHaan moved into fourth all-time at MSU in rebounds at Northwestern on Jan. 28, and currently has 903. Her rebound total is third among active conference players. Kris Emerson is third with 933. In addition, she is third with both 348 made free throws and 627 made field goals in MSU career record books.

The Spartans have decreased their turnover numbers during their recent hot streak. Over the last nine games, MSU has averaged 15.0 turnovers, compared to 18.6 over its first 20 games of the season.

In addition to their success limiting turnovers of late, the Spartans have been effective in turning over their opponents. In the last four games, MSU has forced 22.0 turnovers per game, including an impressive 12.3 steals. Kalisha Keane has averaged 4.0 steals over the last four, including a career high six in the season finale vs. Minnesota, while Lykendra has averaged 2.5 during the span. In those last four games, MSU is +26 in turnover margin, after being -21 over its first 25 games.

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 against Northwestern (Feb. 14). In conference games, eight different Spartans paced the team offensively. It doesn't stop there as 11 different Spartans have led the team in assists this season and eight different have paced the team in rebounds.

In all, nine different Spartans have scored in double-figures in a game this season, including tying 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.

The senior trio of Allyssa DeHaan, Lauren Aitch and Aisha Jefferson have been battle-tested in their time at Michigan State. DeHaan is currently third all-time at MSU with 132 games played, while Aitch is tied for fourth with 131 and Jefferson is seventh with 129. DeHaan has a chance to play the most games in Spartan history, a record currently held by Rene Haynes with 135. DeHaan is also third all-time with 125 starts, trailing only Lindsay Bowen and Liz Shimek, who each started 131 in their Spartan careers.

Michigan State is third in the nation in blocked shots this season, averaging 6.6 blocks. Senior Allyssa DeHaan leads the charge, ranking sixth in the nation with 3.3 per game.

The Spartans are also among the nation's top-50 in three other categories, placing 18th in field goal percentage defense (35.1%), 28th in assists (15.6) and 39th in rebound margin (+5.0).

The Spartans have been a dangerous team on the road in the second half of the Big Ten season, winning five of their last six road games, including wins at Ohio State and Purdue, the only home conference loss for both teams (8-1). In all, MSU went 6-3 on the road in the Big Ten, tying the program record for road wins, also set in 2003-04, 2004-05, 2006-07 and 2008-09.

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 801 blocks. North Carolina is first with 893, followed by MSU, Baylor (799), Duke (778), Connecticut (775) and St. Mary's (738).

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.

The Spartans lead the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (.351), blocked shots (6.62) and total rebounds (41.9). They are also second in scoring margin (+8.4), rebound margin (+5.0) and offensive rebounds (14.28), and third in scoring offense (68.1), assists (15.55), assist-to-turnover ratio (0.89) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.294).

Individually, redshirt sophomore Lykendra Johnson ranks among the conference leaders in many categories: offensive rebounds (3.1; 2nd), rebounds (8.0; 4th), blocks (11th; 1.07), steals (13th, 1.69) and scoring (27th; 9.0). Senior Allyssa DeHaan leads the league in blocks with 3.3, and is also sixth in free throw percentage (.820), 14th in rebounds (6.1), 15th in field goal percentage (.424) and 18th in scoring (11.6). Junior Kalisha Keane is seventh in steals (1.79) and Brittney Thomas is ninth in assists with 3.41.

With Tracy Nogle's 3-pointer in the season-finale on Feb. 28 against Minnesota, she became the 13th Spartan to knock down a trey this season, the most in the Big Ten. Michigan has had 11 different players hit a 3-pointer.

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 increased her distribution in Big Ten play, averaging 3.83 assists per game in conference games, ranking her sixth in the Big Ten, in comparison to 2.7 assists in 11 non-conference contests.

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 1,137 points and 635 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 452 made field goals and tied for 15th with 218 made free throws.

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 66-21 in her career. Also, when she leads the team in scoring, MSU is 41-8. Meanwhile, MSU is 35-16 when Jefferson tallies double-figures.

Recent Michigan State women's basketball signee Madison Williams was selected to play in the 2010 McDonald's All-American Game, as announced Feb. 11 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.

MSU has received great production from the center position this season. The duo of seniors Allyssa DeHaan and Lauren Aitch have combined to average 19.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.6 blocks. The pair has been only on the floor together for 53:27 this season.

Sophomore Lykendra Johnson has improved her outside shooting in the 2009-10 season, having matched her made 3-point field goal total from last season early in the season. This season, she is 21-of-63 (.333) 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 (second), blocks (second), field goal percentage (first) and 3-point field goal percentage (fourth).

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 129-4 when keeping the opposition below 50 points, including five wins this season.

The Spartans have relished playing extra time over the past seven seasons. With its 71-68 overtime win at Ohio State on Sunday, MSU won its 13th 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 13 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 first overtime win this season (Nov. 28 over Oklahoma State) was MSU's first double overtime victory since Jan. 15, 1995 vs. Iowa (71-70). The Spartans had lost their previous three double overtime contests.

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 267-153 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.

Today's game will mark the 11th game for the Spartans on the Big Ten Network. MSU is 20-10 all-time on BTN, including an 7-3 record this season.

Michigan State is 1-7 all-time on March 5, having lost its last seven games on this date.

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