Women's Basketball Heads to Indianapolis for Big Ten Tournament
March 5, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Big Ten Champion Michigan State women's basketball team heads to Indianapolis for the 2014 Big Ten Tournament this week. The Spartans, who are the No. 2 seed after tying Penn State at 13-3 for the regular-season title, will face the winner of Michigan and Indiana on Friday night at 6:30 p.m., in Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Big Ten Network. MSU advanced to the championship game last season.
BIG TEN TOURNAMENT HISTORY
AGAINST THE WOLVERINES
MSU won the lone meeting between the two schools this season, a 79-72 final in Ann Arbor on Jan. 12. Annalise Pickrel led the Spartans with 16 points and a career-high eight assists, while Kiana Johnson had 14 points, Aerial Powers had 13 and Becca Mills scored 12. Mills broke a 65-65 tie with under three minutes left with back-to-back baskets en route to victory. MSU scored 51 second half points, while shooting 58.1% in the final 20 minutes.
Klarissa Bell had played well against the Wolverines over the last two seasons, averaging 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in the four meetings, including 20 points in the Big Ten Tournament last season. Becca Mills has scored in double-figures in her last four games against Michigan, averaging 12.3 points and shooting 52.5% (21-40).
AGAINST IN-STATE SCHOOLS
AGAINST THE HOOSIERS
ON BIG TEN NETWORK
QUICK HITTERS FROM SUNDAY (No. 21 MICHIGAN STATE 76, INDIANA 56)
ALL FIVE STARTERS HONORED
In Suzy Merchant's seven seasons, Michigan State has a Big Ten-best 25 All-Big Ten selections.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONS
Michigan State has now won at least 10 Big Ten games in 12-straight seasons. It is the longest active streak in the Big Ten (with Penn State second at four). MSU is 140-58 (70.7%) in conference play over the last 12 seasons, trailing only Ohio State (141-57; 71.2%) in wins.
MSU is one of seven Division I teams to have double-digit conference wins in each of the last 12 seasons - Chattanooga, Connecticut, Duke, Green Bay, Liberty and Stanford have also already reached 10 conference wins in 2013-14.
Michigan State's 13 conference wins are tied for the second-most Big Ten wins in school history. The 2004-05 team won 14, while the 1990-91, 2006-07, 2008-09 and 2010-11 teams each also won 13 games.
The Spartans have finished third or better in the conference in each of the last six seasons - winning the title in 2010-11 and 2013-14, placing second in 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2011-12, and third in 2012-13. In all, MSU has finished no worse than third place in nine of the last 10 years.
More recently, MSU has won 57 of its last 75 Big Ten regular season games (76.0%). The Spartans started this season 4-0 in Big Ten action for the fifth time in program history (1987-88, 1989-90, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2013-14). Also, MSU's 8-2 record was tied for the best 10-game start in program history (1996-97, 2004-05, 2006-07, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2013-14).
This year is Michigan State's 15th 20-win season all-time.
MSU has led the Big Ten in conference games in points allowed in four of the last five seasons (2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2013-14), while finishing second last season. The Spartans have also led the league in field goal percentage defense in three of the last six seasons (2008-09, 2009-10, 2013-14).
This season, Michigan State went 7-1 on the road in Big Ten games, with six of its seven wins coming in double digits. MSU's seven road conference wins set a new program record, as six previous teams had won six games. MSU has had a winning road Big Ten record in five of the last six seasons.
The Spartans won their first five Big Ten road games this season for the first time in program history, before losing at Nebraska. In the 34 years of the Big Ten, only 20 teams had won its first five road conference games, including MSU and PSU this season.
Currently, the 74.4 points per game would be the fourth-best in program history, behind the 1996-97 team (76.8 points), the 1990-91 squad (74.9) and the 1994-95 team (74.6).
Already this season, the Spartans have scored 70 or more points in 20 of their 29 games, and 80 or more points in 10. It is the second most times reaching 70 points and currently the third most games scoring 80 points. In Merchant's previous six seasons, Michigan State reached 70 points only 60 times and 80 points only 17 times in 202 games.
Also, Michigan State has already shot at least 50% from the field eight times. It is the most in a single-season since the 1999-00 team that also accomplished the feat 11 times. All of last season, MSU shot over 50% on only five occasions.
WINS V. LOSSES
Individually, Tori Jankoska has seen the largest difference in production from wins and losses. Jankoska is averaging 14.3 points and shooting 45.2% from the field and 42.7% from 3-point (2.4 per game) in the wins, but only 8.3 points, 29.9% shooting and 23.9% from 3-point (1.4 per game) in the defeats. The Spartans are 7-0 this season when Jankoska leads them in scoring.
Michigan State is one of four teams in the nation with its top-two scorers as freshmen, along with Eastern Michigan, North Carolina and UMBC.
The trio has been more effective as the season has gone on, increasing its production level in the last 10 games. During this stretch the three have combined for 48.0% (355 of 739) of MSU's points, as Jankoska is averaging 15.2 points, Powers 14.9 and Agee 5.4.
HELP OFF THE BENCH
In five of Suzy Merchant's first six seasons, the Spartans have led the Big Ten in bench production (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2011-12 and 2012-13).
DOUBLING IT UP
For the year, MSU has 18 total double-doubles. All of last year, the Spartans only had four. It is the most in a season since the 2004-05 team that had 23.
CLOSING IT OUT
CRASHING THE BOARDS
After getting out-rebounded by 23 in its opener at Notre Dame, Michigan State has a +8.4 rebound margin in its last 28 games. For the season, the Spartans are +7.3 on the glass to rank second in the Big Ten and 31st in the nation. In conference games, MSU was also second, posting a +7.5 margin. So far this season, Michigan State's 42.0 rebounds per game is the highest mark in program history. The 2009-10 team averaged 41.4 rebounds.
MSU has out-rebounded 96 of its last 120 opponents (80.0%).
FIVE CONSECUTIVE INVITATIONS TO THE BIG DANCE
MSU is one of 19 schools in the country (and one of only two in the Big Ten) to make the NCAA Tournament the last five seasons - Baylor, Connecticut, DePaul, Duke, Fresno State, Georgia, Gonzaga, Green Bay, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State, Middle Tennessee, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, South Dakota State, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt.
AMONG ALL-TIME FRESHMAN GREATS
Meanwhile, Jankoska is second on the 3-point field goals made list with 61, while her 37.4% 3-point percentage is third. She is also fifth in scoring average (12.7) and ninth with 66 assists. Also, her free throw percentage of 78.7% is seventh and her free throws made (70) are eighth.
Powers has six 20-point games this season to set a new MSU freshman record, while Jankoska is tied for second with five. Powers also has eight double-doubles which are the second most.
RINGING THE BELL FOR THE LAST TIME
Entering this season, Bell has seen progression in her stat lines, including averaging career highs of 10.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.6 blocks as a junior. Her points and rebounds led the team, while her blocks were second, and her assists and steals were third. Because of a shortened bench, Bell was relied upon to play extended minutes, ranking fourth on the MSU single-season list in minutes (1,196) and sixth in minutes per game (35.2). Her play earned her third-team All-Big Ten honors, and placed her on the coaches' preseason All-Big Ten team.
With a new role this season, Bell is sixth on the team with 7.9 points, but is second in assists (3.6), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5) and steals (1.2), and fourth in rebounds (5.2). She is sixth in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio and ninth in assists. Bell had a career-high 10 assists vs. Minnesota.
PICK AND POP
Pickrel has continued her improvement during her senior season, building off her success last season. She is third on the team with 12.6 points and second with 7.1 rebounds, while leading the team with 1.1 blocks and third with 2.7 assists in 33.2 minutes. Pickrel is shooting 45.8% from the field, 36.9% from the 3-point line and 74.0% from the free throw line. Pickrel's points, rebounds, assists, blocks are all on pace for career highs.
Pickrel has led MSU in points, rebounds and assists in two seperate games (home vs. Wisconsin and Ohio State). She is the first Spartan to do so twice in the same season since Lykendra Johnson in 2010-11. Also this season, Pickrel has reached the 20-point plateau in three games, after doing so only once in her first three seasons.
Her greatest asset the last two seasons has been her production from the 3-point line. Leading the team in both categories, Pickrel ranked ninth in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal percentage (36.7%) and 3-point field goals made per game (1.8) last season. Pickrel made a career-high 65 3-pointers, which is the seventh most in a Spartan single season. Entering that year, she was just 19-for-63 (30.2%) from the 3-point arc in her first two seasons at MSU. This season, she is 13th the conference at 36.9% and is 14th with 1.7 3-pointers.
Pickrel is currently seventh in Spartan history with 132 3-point field goals made, while ranking fifth with a career 35.7% 3-point field goal percentage.
HOLDING DOWN THE POST
Mills has been up-and-down throughout the season though. For the season, she is fourth on the team with 9.9 points and third with 5.6 rebounds in 24.5 minutes, while leading the team and seventh in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (51.3%). Over her last 21 games, Mills is shooting 54.7% (88-for-161) from the field.
Over the last five games, Mills is 5-for-7 (71.4%) from behind the arc. It was her first 3-pointers since the Big Ten opener at Minnesota. She was 2-for-14 on the season from 3-point prior to the last five games.
Hines returned to the lineup for the first time this season at Florida State, after missing the first seven games due to a concussion. For the season (22 games), she is averaging 5.0 points and 3.7 rebounds in 13.2 minutes, and is slowly working back into more significant minutes. Hines broke out in a big way against Purdue, coming off the bench for a season-high 16 points in 23 minutes, and has averaged 8.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 19.6 minutes over her last eight games. Hines is currently second on the team in field goal percentage (50.0%), and is shooting 53.0% over her last 19 games.
Hines has scored in double digits in three of her last four games. In those four games, she is averaging 10.3 points and 6.8 rebounds in 21.8 minutes.
Jankoska leads the team with 61 3-pointers (2.1 per game), which is ninth in the Big Ten overall and second among freshman. Her 61 3-pointers are already 10th on the MSU single-season list and the second most by a Spartan freshman. Jankoska is shooting 37.4% from behind the arc, which also leads the team and 12th in the conference. In Big Ten games, she ranked sixth in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (41.6%) and seventh in 3-pointers (2.4).
Since rejoining the starting lineup Jan. 26 at Ohio State, Jankoska has seen an uptick in her statistical production. In the 10 games, she leads the team in points (15.2), assists (3.6), steals (1.7) and 3-pointers (2.5), while also having 4.0 rebounds and a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio in 34.9 minutes. Jankoska is shooting 44.2% from the field and 41.7% from 3-point.
Jankoska came to Michigan State with a laundry list of high school accolades, highlighted by being named a PARADE High School All-American, Michigan's Miss Basketball and Michigan's Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year. She shattered Freeland's career scoring record, totaling 2,333 points, while averaging 24.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.6 steals in her career. As a senior, she averaged 30.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 4.8 steals.
DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK(S)
Both players were expected to be major contributors this season, but Powers was the first to make an immediate impact. She leads the team with 13.8 points (17th in the Big Ten), 8.0 rebounds (seventh in the conference) and 1.8 steals (eighth). She is also is averaging 2.4 assists in just 26.2 minutes. Powers is 10th in the conference and second on the team, shooting 49.3%. Powers has earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors four times this season.
Powers is the only freshman in the nation with at least 400 points, 200 rebounds and 70 assists. Powers had her best statistical output of the season vs. IPFW, posting her first career double-double with game-highs of 28 points and 14 rebounds. Her points were the most by a Spartan freshman since Nov. 29, 2006 (and the second-most all-time by a freshman) and her rebounds were the most by a MSU freshman since Jan. 22, 2009. Powers followed it up with another double-double at Florida State with 19 points and 10 rebounds. She became the first Spartan since Courtney Schiffauer on Dec. 8 and 16 last season to record back-to-back double-doubles, and the first MSU freshman to do so since Lykendra Johnson on Feb. 8 and 12 in 2009. Powers had her fourth double-double vs. No. 16/14 Nebraska, totaling 17 points and 15 rebounds in only 27 minutes. Her 15 rebounds were the most by a Spartan in a game since Jan. 7, 2012 and the 13th-most ever by a MSU freshman.
Agee has been up-and-down so far this season. Against Detroit, she became the first Spartan freshman to post a double-double since Lykendra Johnson at Indiana on Feb. 12, 2009. Agee led MSU with 17 points and 11 rebounds, both career highs, in a career-high 23 minutes. For the season, Agee is averaging 5.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in only 13.2 minutes. Agee has increased her playing time over the last eight games, averaging 16.9 minutes, after playing only 7.4 minutes in the first eight Big Ten games.
WORTH THE WAIT
So far this season per 40 minutes, Williams is averaging 9.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.6 blocks. After missing two of the previous three games, Williams returned to action at Ohio State to play arguably her best game as a Spartan. In a career-high 19 minutes, she blocked seven shots and grabbed eight rebounds, both career highs. Her seven blocks tied for the 10th most in a single-game and were the most since Feb. 4, 2010.
At 6-7, Williams is currently the fifth tallest player in NCAA Division I. The only student-athletes taller are Pittsburgh's Marvadene Anderson (6-11), Albany's Megan Craig (6-9), UCLA's Savanna Trapp (6-9) and Nevada's Mimi Mungedi (6-8).
TAKING CARE OF THE ROCK
In her last 16 games (having led MSU in assists in 13 of those), Johnson has totaled 104 assists (6.5 per game). Against IPFW, Johnson dished out a career-high 11 assists; the total tied for the eighth-most in a single game, and was the most by a Spartan since Donita Johnson vs. Indiana on Feb. 5, 1999. She also had double-figure assists vs. Georgetown, en route to her first career double-double. It was the first double-double using assists by a Spartan since Kristin Haynie on March 27, 2005 vs. Vanderbilt. Also, Johnson became the first Spartan since Tamika Matlock in 1996-97 with multiple double-digit assists games in the same season.
In conference games, she is 82-36 (69.5%), ranking her 10th all-time in career winning percentage in Big Ten games and second among active coaches. During her Spartan career, her 82 conference wins are the most in the Big Ten (Iowa and Ohio State-76).
Last season was Suzy Merchant's sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament, posting a 5-6 record. She has guided the Spartans to the last five tournaments, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2009 and the second round in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Merchant ties Joanne P. McCallie for the most NCAA appearances as a MSU head coach (five). Over the last five NCAA Tournaments, her five wins are second among Big Ten schools (Purdue has six). Merchant also took Eastern Michigan to the tournament in 2004.
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