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Spartans Face Wisconsin in Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals

March 5, 2009

No. 2 Michigan State Spartans (20-9, 13-5) vs.
No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers (16-13, 6-12)
2009 Big Ten Tournament

Date: Friday, March 6
Time: 11:30 a.m. ET
Location: Indianapolis, Ind.
Arena: Conseco Fieldhouse
TV: Big Ten Network (Mark Neely - play-by-play; Mary Murphy - analyst; Shireen Saski - sidelines)
Radio: WVFN 730 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play)
Internet: Live Stats and Audio at

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Game Notes in PDF Format

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Coach Merchant | Lauren Aitch | Aisha Jefferson

Big Ten Tournament History
The Spartans are 11-13 all-time in their previous 14 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 2005 and 1997 squads. Michigan State won its first Big Ten Tournament title in 2005 as the No. 2 seed.

MSU has won at least one game in the Big Ten Tournament and has advanced to at least the semifinals the past five years. Last year, the Spartans beat Minnesota, 56-51, in the quarterfinals, before falling to Illinois, 55-41, in the semifinals.

Michigan State is 7-3 in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Tournament. MSU won its only other meeting with Wisconsin at the Big Ten Tournament, an 81-79 win in the 1995 quarterfinals.



About the Badgers
Wisconsin enters the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 7 seed after finishing the season at 6-12 in the conference. The Badgers, 16-13 overall, are led by sophomore Alyssa Karel, who is sixth in the Big Ten with 13.0 points per game. As a team, Wisconsin is fourth in scoring defense (56.9), but ninth in scoring offense at 57.0.

Against the Badgers
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Wisconsin, 34-22, as the teams split this season, each team winning on their home court. MSU has won both meetings on a neutral floor, including the 1995 Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.

On this Date
Michigan State is 4-4 all-time on March 6, including a 1-0 mark during Big Ten Tournament action.

Approaching Another Blocks Record for DeHaan
Junior Allyssa DeHaan has totaled 17 blocks in her four previous Big Ten Tournament games. She is currently tied for third in career tournament blocks, seven shy of the record held by Ohio State's Jessica Davenport (24 in 10 games).

Postseason Recognition
The Big Ten Conference office released the women's basketball postseason awards on Monday night with five Spartan student-athletes taking home recognition. Junior Allyssa DeHaan highlighted the MSU selections, being named to the All-Big Ten Second Team by both the coaches and media. DeHaan earned All-Big Ten honors for the third-straight season. She was picked to the first team by the media and to the second team by the coaches last season, and was a second team choice by both as a freshman. In all, it is the eighth consecutive season that a MSU student-athlete was been named to the first or second team. DeHaan was also named to the All-Defensive Team, an honor she has also received in each of her three seasons in green and white.

Redshirt junior Aisha Jefferson was one of four Spartans to garner honorable mention All-Big Ten, as she was selected by both the coaches and media. Jefferson was also an honorable mention choice by both the coaches and media after the 2006-07 season as a sophomore. Joining Jefferson on the coaches' ballot was sophomore Kalisha Keane, and on the media selections was sophomore Brittney Thomas and redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson. Both Keane and Thomas earned honorable mention honors by the media last season. It is the fourth time in Michigan State history that five different Spartans were honored on an All-Big Ten team, and was the first time since 2004-05.

Johnson was also an unanimous choice to the All-Freshman Team. She is the 11th Spartan to be named to the All-Freshman Team, including at least one in each of the last four seasons. In addition, redshirt junior Lauren Aitch was Michigan State's recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

Tops in the Big Ten
The Spartans led the Big Ten in conference games only in field goal percentage defense (35.3%), 3-point field goal percentage defense (24.7%) and rebound margin (+6.0). MSU's field goal percentage defense was the lowest in Big Ten history and was only the second time that the Spartans has led the league in field goal percentage defense, joining the 2002-03 team. In addition, it is the fourth time in seven seasons that Michigan State has lead the conference in rebound margin (2002-03, 2004-05, 2005-06).

Statistically Savvy (Big Ten Edition)
Michigan State is among the Big Ten leaders in almost every statistical category in overall games. The Spartans are first in scoring defense (54.9), field goal percentage defense (34.3%), 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.1%), rebound margin (+8.1), rebounds (41.4) and blocked shots (5.41). They are also second in scoring margin (+9.1) and offensive rebounds (14.31), and third in steals (8.90) and turnovers forced (18.5).

Among the individual top-10, junior Allyssa DeHaan is second in the Big Ten in blocks with 3.03 and ninth with a 46.3 field goal percentage, while sophomore Kalisha Keane is eighth with 1.83 steals per game.

In conference games, aside from leading in the aforementioned field goal percentage defense (35.3%), 3-point field goal percentage defense (24.7%) and rebound margin (+6.0), the Spartans were second in scoring defense (54.6) and offensive rebounds (13.78), and is third in blocked shots (4.56), steals (8.78) and turnovers forced (17.7). Individually, DeHaan is second with 2.50 blocks per game and tied for eighth in field goal percentage (45.7%). Meanwhile, Johnson is tied for sixth in offensive rebounds (2.78) and 10th with 6.9 rebounds, and Keane is eighth with 1.78 steals.

Statistically Savvy (NCAA Edition)
Entering the Big Ten Tournament, the Spartans are among the nation's top-25 in five major statistical categories. MSU is sixth in field goal percentage defense (34.3%), sixth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.1%), 10th in rebound margin (+8.1), 15th in blocked shots (5.4) and 24th in scoring defense (54.9). The Spartans are also 47th in scoring margin (+9.1). Individually, junior Allyssa DeHaan is ninth in the country in blocked shots with 3.0 per game.

Regular Season Finish
Finishing at 13-5 in Big Ten play, the Spartans finished in a tie for second in the conference with Purdue and Iowa. The 13 wins are the second most in MSU history, trailing only the 2004-05 team (14-2), and tying the 2006-07 (13-3) and 1990-91 (13-5) squads. It was only the second time (1990-91 season) that Michigan State had finished second in the conference since league started sanctioning the sport prior to the 1981-82 season. MSU shared the regular season title in 1996-97 and 2004-05.

Greatest Michigan State Defensive Team of All-Time?
The 2008-09 Michigan State team has a chance to finish the season as one of the greatest defensive teams in program history. Currently this year's team has allowed the fewest points per game (54.9) since 1974-75 and owns the lowest field goal percentage defense (34.3%) since records were kept for the 1976-77 season. Since the addition of the 3-point line to the women's game for the 1987-88 season, the Spartans' 26.1% is second to only the first year of the line. Also, this year's squad has the best rebound margin (+8.1) since opposing rebounds were kept in 1987-88.

Defense on the Arc
The Spartans have picked up their defensive prowess on the perimeter. MSU has improved upon its league leading and sixth nationally ranked 3-point field goal percentage defense over the last 15 games. During the span, the Spartans are holding their opponents to a 22.6% (59-of-261) clip, including holding Purdue to no 3-point makes in six attempts in the regular season finale, No. 14/12 Ohio State (Feb. 8) to 7.1% (1-of-14), Illinois (Feb. 5) to 12.5% (1-of-8) and Michigan (Jan. 15) to 17.1% (6-of-35).

Keys to MSU Success
As we approach the end of the 2008-09 season, certain statistical trends have arisen in regard to MSU wins and losses:
- MSU is 16-1 when its opponent have been held to less than 60 points and 12-0 when held below 31% from the field.
- MSU is 12-2 when it grabs more than 40 rebounds and also 15-3 when it has a greater than five rebound margin.
- The Spartans are 10-1 when they shoot over 43% from the field.
- MSU is 11-0 when it goes to the free throw line 20 or more times and is 14-1 when it attempts more than the opposition.
- The Spartans are 16-1 when they have a higher 3-point field goal percentage and 10-0 when they make more 3-pointers.
- Michigan State is 8-1 when they score more than 70 points.
- MSU is 16-2 when they create more points off turnovers and 13-2 when they have fewer turnovers than the opponent.
- The Spartans are 14-2 when scoring first and 18-2 when leading at halftime.

Crashing the Glass
Michigan State has been dominant on the offensive boards this season. The Spartans trail Indiana by 0.06 for the Big Ten lead in offensive rebounds a game (14.31) and have grabbed 40.7% of the possible rebounds in the offensive zone (Indiana is second at 37.1%). MSU set a season-high with 25 offensive rebounds at Northwestern (Jan. 22). It was the most offensive rebounds in a game by MSU since the Spartans grabbed 27 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 19, 2004. By contrast, the Spartans have allowed only 12.5 offensive rebounds per game and have allowed the opposition to grab only 31.6% of their possible offensive rebounds.

Holding Down the Opposition (First Half Edition)
The Spartans have been especially stingy in the first half of each game this season. Their opponents have combined for only 710 points (24.5 per game). MSU allowed only 12 points in the first half against Delaware State( Dec. 18), and 13 points to Detroit (Nov. 19) and Michigan (Feb. 19). The 12 points against the Lady Hornets tied the previous school record, set by Indiana (Jan. 16, 2003).

Spartans' Dynamic Duo
In their one-plus year on the court together, the Spartans know good things will happen when redshirt junior Aisha Jefferson and Allyssa DeHaan are both playing well. When both score in double-figures, MSU holds a 18-1 record, including a 8-0 mark so far this season.

DeHaan's scoring has shown to be a deciding factor in most Spartan games. When she reaches double-digits, Michigan State is 16-1 this season and are 52-15 in her career. Also, when she leads the team in scoring, MSU is 34-4, including a 11-0 record this season. Meanwhile, MSU is 29-12 when Jefferson tallies double-figures, including a 10-5 mark in 2008-09.

Finding Her Groove
It took redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson a little time to shake off the rust and get used to the college game after sitting out last season, but since she has been inserted into the starting lineup 14 games ago, Johnson has been one of the Spartans best players. In her starts, she is averaging 8.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists, while helping MSU to a 11-3 record. Of late, Johnson has been even better, averaging 9.5 points over the last 11 games, while also adding team-bests in rebounds (7.8) and assists (2.4), and 1.5 steals.

New Heights
MSU currently has seven players in the regular rotation at or over 6-foot, including four in the starting lineup. This size and length has paid dividends this season, as the Spartans hold a 924-582 edge in points in the paint (+11.8 per game), a 388-264 edge in second chance points (+4.3), a 1202-967 edge in rebounding (+8.1 per game) and have 157 blocks. MSU leads the Big Ten and are top-15 in the nation in both rebound margin and blocks. Those seven players have combined for 1458 of the team's 1856 points (78.6%).

DeHaan Reaches Milestone...
Junior Allyssa DeHaan became the program's 19th 1,000-point scorer with a basket with 14:48 left in the second half against Quinnipiac. DeHaan has since moved into ninth on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,253 points. She also was the fifth fastest to the milestone, needing only 75 games (Mary Kay Itnyre - 65 games, Kris Emerson - 72, Lindsay Bowen - 73, Kisha Kelley - 74).

DeHaan is also seventh on the Michigan State career rebound list with 703. She is only one of five Spartans to be in the top-10 in both career points and rebounds, joining Liz Shimek, Kristen Rasmussen, Kris Emerson and Kisha Kelley.

...And Approaches Another
Already the school's all-time block leader, DeHaan is only one blocks shy of tying the Big Ten career mark. She is currently alone in second all-time at 383, trailing only Ohio State's Jessica Davenport (384). With her four blocks against Stony Brook (Nov. 16), she became the fastest in conference history to reach the 300-block plateau, needing only 72 games. Nationally, DeHaan is 10th all-time and only 97 blocks shy of the NCAA record.

Thomas Out for the Remainder of the Season
Sophomore Brittney Thomas will miss the rest of the 2008-09 season after tearing the ACL in her left knee on Feb. 6. Thomas started her last 19 games at point guard for the Spartans, and leads them with 3.2 assists per game. She is also fifth on the team with 6.0 points, fourth with 4.1 rebounds and second with 1.6 steals per game, while playing a team-best 32.5 minutes.

She returned to the rotation in the game against Detroit (Nov. 19), after missing the first two games with a broken right hand. Since she was back, her impact on the floor was noticeable. With Thomas on the court, the Spartans outscored their opponents by 156 points (1084-928), but when she was sitting, MSU trailed by 11 points (249-260).

Among Big Ten Freshmen
The Spartans have received contributions from their four newcomers throughout the season, especially now with the addition of Lykendra Johnson and Courtney Schiffauer into the starting lineup, and the increased playing time of Porsche Poole.

Among fellow freshmen in the conference, Johnson ranks in the top-10 almost every statistical category. Johnson leads in rebounding and blocked shots, is third in steals, fourth in field goal percentage, fifth in assists and free throw percentage, and seventh in scoring. In Big Ten games, Johnson led in rebounding and blocks, was second in field goal percentage, third in scoring and steals, and fourth in assists and free throw percentage.

Meanwhile, Schiffauer is second in field goal percentage, eighth in blocks and tied for 10th in rebounding. Classmate Porsche Poole is third in field goal percentage, fourth in steals and sixth in assists in overall games, while also leading in field goal percentage in league games and placing second in steals and fifth in assists.

Success in the Classroom
Michigan State has not just had success this season on the court. The Spartans also posted a team grade point average of 3.00 for the fall semester. In addition, five members of the team were named to the Dean's List - junior Mandy Piechowski (3.88 GPA), sophomore Brittney Thomas (3.88), freshman Taylor Alton (3.75), redshirt senior Mia Johnson (3.57) and junior Allyssa DeHaan (3.54). DeHaan was also selected to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV Second Team.

Let's Play More Time
The Spartans have relished playing extra time over the past six seasons. MSU is currently riding a 11-game winning streak in overtime games, dating back to the 2003-04 season. The streak is the longest such run among Big Ten schools. Surprisingly, only two of the 11 wins have come at home. This season, MSU has knocked off Dartmouth at the TD Banknorth Classic, Purdue in West Lafayette and Indiana in Bloomington.

Michigan State has dominated each overtime period, outscoring the three opponents, 35-15. The Spartans are shooting 75.0% (9-of-12) from the field, including hitting both 3-point field goal attempts, and also 75.0% (15-of-20) from the free throw line. Meanwhile, defensively, the opposition has combined to shoot 12.5% (4-of-32) from the field, including 18.1% (2-of-11) from behind the arc, while only going 5-of-11 (45.5%) from the charity stripe.

Success After the Intermission
Redshirt junior Lauren Aitch has enjoyed much of her offensive success this season in the second half of games, highlighted by the game-winning shot with 1.8 seconds left in the season-finale vs. Purdue. Aitch has scored almost two-thirds of her points this season after halftime. Aitch has totaled 137 points in 265 second half minutes (53.0 field goal percentage) compared to 74 points in 217 first half minutes (36.8%).

Road Warriors
After losing all four of their non-conference road games, the Spartans have bounced back to win six of their nine road Big Ten games this season. The six wins ties for the most conference road wins in program history. (The 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2006-07 teams went 6-2.) Four of those wins came in places where MSU has historically struggled; the Spartans entered the games 1-13 at Penn State, 4-21 at Purdue, 12-16 at Northwestern and 10-15 at Illinois.

RPI Watch
The Spartans currently have a RPI of 47 according to, with the Big Ten ranking fifth in the nation as a whole. MSU is fourth in the conference, trailing Ohio State (13), Purdue (28) and Iowa (35). Michigan State's strength of schedule is 62nd.

Michigan State to Host NCAA First and Second Rounds
The MSU Athletics Department will play host to the 2009 NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds at the Breslin Center on March 22 and 24. For ticket information, call 1-800-GO STATE or visit MSU hosted for the first time in 2007.

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