No. 5 Spartans Travel to Louisville to Face No. 12 Bowling Green Saturday
MSU and BGSU will square off at 12:11 p.m. ET in Freedom Hall.
March 18, 2010
No. 5-seed MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (22-9) vs.
No. 12-seed BOWLING GREEN (27-6)
NCAA TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND LOUISVILLE, KY.
Date: Saturday, March 20
Time: 12:11 p.m. ET
Location: Louisville, Ky.
Arena: Freedom Hall
TV: ESPN2 (Justin Kutcher - play-by-play; Rebecca Lobo - analyst)
Radio: WJIM 1240 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play)
Internet: Live streaming at ESPN360.com; Live audio at SpartanRadioNetwork.com
To purchase tickets to the Louisville Region, call 1-800-633-7105 or 1-502-852-5151. All session tickets for adults are $27 and for students or children are $17. Session tickets are $16 for adult and $10 for students or children.
For the first two rounds, ESPN will provide "whip-around" coverage. Multiple games (a maximum of four) will begin within one telecast window on ESPN or ESPN2. During those windows, the networks will "whip-around" to the best action from different games for viewers in most of the nation, with the exception of the home markets of the competing teams. Each window will start with one particular game, as determined by ESPN. The networks plan frequent switches and updates from other games as action dictates.
In the home markets of the competing teams, ESPN or ESPN2 will televise the game of local interest. While constant updates from the other games will be provided, the networks will not switch to another game during live action, thereby establishing home market protection. Colored maps are located on ESPN.com - key word "maps".
ESPN360.com will feature all 63 games of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship. Contact the local high-speed Internet provider to determine if ESPN360.com is available.
WBCA/PAPA JOHN'S COACHES CODE CHALLENGE
Help head coach Suzy Merchant, the Michigan State women's basketball program and Papa John's raise money for the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund®. Order an XL, 2 topping pizza online at papajohns.com and use the code, MERCHANT. The special online offer is an XL two-topping pizza for $12 with $1 benefitting the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund®. Visit www.facebook.com/papajohns for more information.
SPARTANS' NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
The Spartans are making their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance and seventh in the last eight seasons. All-time, Michigan State is 13-9 in the NCAA Tournament. MSU is 7-1 all-time in the first round, having won five in a row, with its last loss coming in 2003. The Spartans have advanced to at least the Sweet 16 in three of their last four trips, including an appearance in the 2005 National Title game.
This year marks the second time that Michigan State has been a No. 5 seed, also earning the mark in 2007. That season, the Spartans beat No. 12 Delaware (69-58) in the first round, before losing to No. 4 Rutgers (70-57), with both games being played in East Lansing.
MERCHANT'S NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
This is the third trip to the NCAA Tournament for head coach Suzy Merchant, posting a 2-2 career record. She guided the Spartans to the Sweet 16 last season and took Eastern Michigan to the tournament in 2004. Merchant became the first coach in MSU history to take the Spartans to the NCAAs in two of her first three seasons.
SPARTANS VS. THE FIELD OF 64
Michigan State faced eight NCAA Tournament teams during the regular season, posting a 4-7 record. The Spartans split with No. 2 Ohio State and also beat No. 3 Xavier, No. 4 Oklahoma State and No. 10 North Carolina. MSU lost twice to No. 7 Wisconsin and No. 8 Iowa, and also fell to No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 8 Dayton.
MSU AND BOWLING GREEN COMMON OPPONENTS
The Spartans and the Falcons have faced three common opponents this season - Detroit, Ohio State and St. Bonaventure. MSU went 3-1 against those teams, beating Detroit (71-62) and St. Bonaventure (67-59), and splitting with Ohio State, losing at home (65-62) and winning in Columbus (71-68). Bowling Green went 1-2, winning at Detroit (64-43), but falling at Ohio State (91-72) and at St. Bonaventure (70-54).
ABOUT BOWLING GREEN
The Falcons enter the NCAA Tournament with a 27-6 record, having won eight in a row, capped by the Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament title. Bowling Green, who has won its sixth-straight outright MAC regular season championship, is led by junior Lauren Prochaska, the two-time MAC Player of the Year. Prochaska leads the team in scoring (17.9 points) and rebounding (5.7), and is among the nation's leaders in free throw percentage (89.5%; seventh) and 3-point field goal percentage (44.9%; ninth). Junior Tracy Pontius, a Second-Team All-MAC selection, is second on the team with 11.6 points, while senior Tamika Nurse leads the Falcons with 3.3 assists per game. As a team, Bowling Green leads the MAC and is 24th in the nation, averaging 73.7 points per game, and are also second in the MAC, allowing only 60.1 points. An effective team from behind the arc, the Falcons are first in the MAC and eighth in the country with 8.3 3-point field goals made per game and a 38.4% mark from long range.
The Falcons are making their 10th NCAA appearance, having posted a 3-9 record in their first nine trips. Their last appearance was in 2007.
SPARTANS AGAINST FALCONS
Michigan State leads the all-time series, 7-4. The two schools have only played once since 1997, a 2008 WNIT matchup in the Breslin Center on March 22 ,which MSU won 74-66. They have never met on a neutral court.
BOWLING GREEN VS. THE FIELD OF 64
The Falcons faced five teams that earned bids into the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Bowling Green had wins at No. 6 Vanderbilt (66-60) and at home to No. 15 St. Francis (Pa.) (77-72), and lost to No. 2 Ohio State (91-72), No. 10 Hartford (65-60) and No. 12 Marist (70-65), all on the road.
MERCHANT VS. BOWLING GREEN AND COACH MILLER
Suzy Merchant is familiar with the Bowling Green program from her days as a head coach at Eastern Michigan. As a head coach, she is 9-5 all-time against the Falcons, including a 6-4 mark in head-to-head battles with Coach Miller.
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.
PRODUCTION OFF THE BENCH
The depth of the 2009-10 Spartans has paid dividends this season. The MSU bench is averaging 28.2 points, 18.1 rebounds and 6.5 assists, while playing 80.7 minutes, compared the opposition's 13.9 points, 13.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 55.2 minutes. MSU's 28.2 points off the bench lead the Big Ten by 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 36 double-figure scoring efforts off the bench, including the leading scorer 13 times.
BIG TEN'S BEST
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).
Senior Allyssa DeHaan is now one of only three Spartans (Liz Shimek, Kris Emerson) to rank in the top-five 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 1,637 points. Kisha Kelley (1991-95) is third with 1,668. DeHaan is fourth among active Big Ten players and is 55th all-time in conference history.
DeHaan moved into fourth all-time at MSU in rebounds at Northwestern on Jan. 28, and currently has 907. Her rebound total is third among active conference players. Kris Emerson is third with 933. In addition, she is third with both 347 made free throws and 629 made field goals in MSU career record books.
SWATTING HER WAY INTO THE NCAA RECORD BOOKS
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 502 and is four behind St. Mary's junior Louella Tomlinson (506). (Note: Tomlinson plays Utah in the WNIT first round on Sunday.) 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.
The senior trio of Allyssa DeHaan, Lauren Aitch and Aisha Jefferson have been battle-tested in their time at Michigan State. DeHaan is currently tied for second all-time at MSU with 134 games played, while Aitch is fourth with 133 and Jefferson is fifth with 131. DeHaan will tie the school record for games played in the NCAA opener, a record currently held by Rene Haynes with 135. DeHaan is also third all-time with 126 starts, trailing only Lindsay Bowen and Liz Shimek, who each started 131 in their Spartan careers.
SPARTANS GATHER POSTSEASON BIG TEN HONORS
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.
LOCKING DOWN THE OPPOSITION
During its last 13 games, where MSU has won 11, the defensive effort has propelled the team to victory. During the stretch opponents are averaging only 55.2 points per game; In the 11 wins, the Spartans have allowed only 52.9 points.
Michigan State has held 16 of its last 17 opponents below 40% from the field, vaulting them into the Big Ten lead in field goal percentage defense. Over the last 17 games, MSU has held its opponents to 34.0% from the field, improving its season mark to 35.0%, which is currently 17th 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 eight of the last 11 games, the Spartans have held its opposition to under 27% from 3-point range. During the stretch, the 11 teams have combined to shoot 24.4% and make only 42 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 29.1%, which is 51st in the nation.
Michigan State has been a dangerous team this season against teams ranked in the nation's top-10. MSU is one of five teams (Connecticut, California, Oklahoma, Rutgers) in the nation to have played at least five top-10 teams during the regular season. The Spartans 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.
MSU is one of three teams in the country with at least three top-10 wins, as No. 1 Connecticut has eight 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).
AMONG THE NATION'S BEST
Michigan State is fifth in the nation in blocked shots this season, averaging 6.4 blocks. Senior Allyssa DeHaan leads the charge, ranking sixth in the nation with 3.2 per game. MSU's 6.4 average is tied for the highest in program history, currently tied with the 2006-07 team.
The Spartans are also among the nation's top-50 in three other categories, placing 17th in field goal percentage defense (35.0%), 38th in assists (15.2) and 43rd in rebound margin (+4.8).
LIMITING THE MISTAKES
The Spartans have decreased their turnover numbers during their recent hot streak. Over the last 11 games, MSU has averaged 15.8 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 six games, MSU has forced 20.7 turnovers per game, including an impressive 10.7 steals. Kalisha Keane has averaged 3.3 steals over the last six, including a career high six in the regular season finale vs. Minnesota, while Lykendra Johnson has averaged 2.2 during the span. In those last six games, MSU is +24 in turnover margin, after being -21 over its first 25 games.
GOING TO THE LINE
The Spartans have been one of the best teams in the Big Ten this season in getting to the free throw line. MSU is second in the conference, shooting 21.0 free throws per game, second to Ohio State (21.4). In league games, the Spartans were also second, attempting 20.9 per game, slightly behind Purdue (21.3).
The Spartans 651 free throw attempts this season are the third most in program history, one behind the 1995-96 team (652) and 27 behind the 2007-08 squad (678). In terms of made free throws, this year's team is tied for third with 435, trailing the 2007-08 (495) and 2004-05 teams (495).
NEW LEADER EVERY NIGHT
Each night, a different Spartan has stepped up as the offensive leader, as nine different players have led MSU in scoring. In conference games, eight different Spartans paced the team offensively. It doesn't stop there, as 10 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.
CONTROLLING THE BOARDS
The Spartans have been an aggressive rebounding team this season. Michigan State leads the Big Ten in total rebounds with 41.5 per game and offensive rebounds with 14.23, while placing second in rebound margin (+4.8). MSU's 41.5 rebound average in the best in a single-season in program history, currently topping last year's team (41.0). The Spartans have outrebounded 24 of its 32 opponents, tying one team. When MSU is outrebounded this season, it has posted only a 2-4 record. Michigan State has had a balanced attack on the boards with eight players averaging over three rebounds per game, led by sophomore Lykendra Johnson, who is fourth in the Big Ten with 7.6 per game.
Junior Kalisha Keane became the 21st Spartan all-time, and third on the 2009-10 Spartans, to score 1,000 career points on March 5 against Michigan with a free throw with 13:12 remaining in the second half. Currently, she is 21st all-time at MSU with 1,010 points. Keane was 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 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. All-time, Keane is now seventh at MSU with 111 made 3-point field goals.
THREE-PLUS YEARS OF SWATTING
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 third in the nation with 808 blocks. North Carolina is first with 900, followed by Baylor (819), MSU, Connecticut (794), Duke (794) and St. Mary's (744).
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.
THEY ALL CAN KNOCK IT DOWN
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.
As a team, Michigan State has made 153 3-pointers this season, good for seventh-most in a single-season. The Spartans are only three makes away from tying the fourth most all-time (156 by the 2006-07 team) and six field goals away from tying the third (159 by the 2007-08 team). MSU's season average of 4.9 made 3-point field goals per game is third all-time at MSU, trailing only the 2002-03 team (5.3) and the 2003-04 squad (5.0).
AMONG BIG TEN LEADERS
The Spartans lead the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (.350), blocked shots (6.42), offensive rebounds (14.23) and total rebounds (41.5). They are also second in scoring defense (59.4), scoring margin (+8.1) and rebound margin (+4.8), and third in scoring offense (67.4), assists (15.16), assist-to-turnover ratio (0.86) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.291).
Individually, redshirt sophomore Lykendra Johnson ranks among the conference leaders in many categories: offensive rebounds (2.9; 3rd), rebounds (7.6; 4th), blocks (11th; 1.00), steals (12th, 1.68) and scoring (28th; 8.8). Senior Allyssa DeHaan leads the league in blocks with 3.2, and is also sixth in free throw percentage (.820), 15th in rebounds (5.8), 12th in field goal percentage (.423) and 18th in scoring (10.9). Junior Kalisha Keane is seventh in steals (1.81) and Brittney Thomas is 10th in assists with 3.23.
HOW THE COMPUTERS RANK MSU
The Spartans are second in the Big Ten, behind Ohio State, in RPI this season, ranking 16th in the NCAA RPI and 17th according to CollegeRPI.com. The MSU schedule is the toughest among conference foes and ranks 17th nationally by CollegeRPI.com. In non-conference action, CollegeRPI.com 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 CollegeRPI.com.
THOMAS SPREADING THE WEALTH
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 14th all-time with both 1,170 points and 640 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 11th with 466 made field goals and 15th with 222 made free throws.
The Spartans were 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.
SPARTANS' DYNAMIC DUO
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 36-17 when Jefferson tallies double-figures.
INCOMING SPARTANS EARN RECOGNITION
Recent Michigan State women's basketball signees Madison Williams (Beverly Hills, Mich./Detroit Country Day) and Klarissa Bell (East Lansing, Mich./East Lansing) were recently recognized for their accomplishments this season. Williams was named the Gatorade Michigan Women's Basketball Player of the Year on March 12 and was selected to play in the 2010 McDonald's All-American Game, announced on Feb. 11. Meanwhile, Bell became the seventh MSU recruit to be named Michigan's Miss Basketball. The third incoming Spartan, Annalise Pickrel (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Catholic Central), was runner-up for Miss Basketball.
CENTER OF ATTENTION
MSU has received great production from the center position this season. The duo of seniors Allyssa DeHaan and Lauren Aitch have combined to average 18.1 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. The pair has been only on the floor together for 53:27 this season.
IMPROVEMENTS FROM BEHIND THE ARC
Several Spartans have improved their shooting from behind the 3-point arc this season. Sophomore Lykendra Johnson is 21-of-65 (.323) from the arc in 2009-10, while last year she went 4-of-20 (.200) in 33 games. Junior Brittney Thomas was 9-of-38 (23.7%) in 58 career games entering this season, but has made 19-of-55 (34.5%) this season. Junior Kalisha Keane entered the season as a 28.6% (64-of-224) 3-point shooter, but has made a team-best 36.4% (47-of-129) this season. Keane's 47 makes is also a career-best. Two other Spartans have at least matched their career 3-point make totals - Allyssa DeHaan (nine this season; nine in 103 career games entering the season) and Lauren Aitch (four this season; two in 102 games entering the season).
HOLDING THEM UNDER 50
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 a 5-1 record this season.
LET'S PLAY MORE TIME
The Spartans have relished playing extra time over the past seven seasons. With its 71-68 overtime win at Ohio State on Feb. 21, 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.
ON THIS DATE
Michigan State is 1-1 all-time on March 20. The Spartans beat Kentucky, 67-63, in the 2006 NCAA Second Round in Chicago and lost 70-57 to Rutgers in the second round the next year in Breslin.