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Spartans Travel to South Dakota For Third Round of WNIT

March 21, 2018

Michigan State (19-13, 7-9 B1G) at South Dakota  (28-6, 14-0 Summit)
 Date Thursday, March 22
 Time 8 p.m. ET
 Location Vermillion, S.D.| Sanford Coyote Sports Center
 Tickets Click To Purchase
 Television Streaming
 Radio Spartan Sports Network | WJIM-AM 1240
 Game Notes Michigan State | South Dakota
 Statistics Michigan State | South Dakota
 Internet Coverage Live Stats
 Social Media @MSU_WBasketball   |  Facebook  |   Instagram 


EAST LANSING, Mich. -
After a pair of home wins, Michigan State women’s basketball now hits the road on Thursday, March 22 against South Dakota at 8 p.m. ET in the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. In the second round of the WNIT MSU edged Toledo, 68-66. The Spartans are 13-4 overall in the WNIT.

• Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee is now just the eighth person in Michigan State history to score at least 1,200 points and bring down 650 rebounds. She joins Tori Jankoska, Aerial Powers, Liz Shimek, Allyssa DeHaan, Kris Emerson, Kristen Rasmussen and Lykendra Johnson. Agee has scored 1,248 points and has 711 boards.

• This is the fifth time that Michigan State has advanced past the second round of the WNIT. The Spartans are now 10-0 in the first and second of the WNIT. In 2008, MSU reached the finals before falling to Marquette, 81-66. MSU is 3-3 away from East Lansing in the WNIT.

Taryn McCutcheon dished out a game-high tying six assists for her seventh-straight game with five or more helpers and 20th time this season. McCutcheon now 173 assists this season for a new single-season career high, topping her 169 helpers last season, moving her up to No. 4 on MSU’s single-season assists list.

• Agee made her 84th career start and played in her 135th career game, moving up to a four-way tie for third on MSU’s career games played list. With one more game played, Agee will tie the MSU record for most games played, as Allyssa DeHaan (2006-10) and current graduate assistant Kalisha Keane (2007-11) hold the record with 136 games played.

STARTING FIVE
The injury-ravaged Spartans have used 13 different starting lineups this season. Against Toledo on March 19, senior forward Taya Reimer, sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon, senior guard Branndais Agee, junior center Jenna Allen and redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley all earned starts.

McCutcheon made her team-leading 31st start of the season, as part of her 64th of her career. Agee made her 21st start of the season and 83rd of her career against Indiana. Allen has started 24 games this season and 27 for her career. Cooks has started for the 22 of MSU’s 31 games this season. Gussert has made 11 starts this year.

Only three Spartans have played in all 32 games this season: Jenna Allen, Victoria Gaines and Nia Hollie.

SPARTANS IN THE WNIT
MSU has now advanced to postseason play 15 of the last 16 seasons. Michigan State joins Indiana, Penn State and Purdue in the field of 64 WNIT teams. Overall 11 Big Teams will be playing in either the NCAA Tournament or the WNIT.

This is Michigan State’s first trip to the WNIT since the 2008 season when the Spartans fell in the championship game. That season, MSU played all five games at home, before falling to Marquette 81-66. Overall, the Spartans are 13-4 in the WNIT, including 5-0 in the first round and 5-0 in the second round.

WNIT FUN FACTS
• MSU rallied from a halftime deficit for a victory for the first time this season against Toledo on March 19.
• The Spartans had a season-low five turnovers Monday, marking their second single-digit turnover outing this season.
• Michigan State is now 10-1 in East Lansing in the WNIT.

COLLEY IS CLUTCH
After missing 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. Against Indiana on March 1, she had her third 20-point game of the season with 27 points and three assists in the loss. Since her return, Colley has averaged 15.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.

Without Colley, the Spartans were 1-6, averaging only 62.3 points per game, while allowing 71.9 ppg, while the guard was out. Since her return, MSU is 2-1, scoring 73.3 ppg and allowing 69.3 ppg.

sixteen remain
There are 16 teams remaining in the WNIT, including three teams from the Big Ten in MSU, Indiana and Purdue. The Hoosiers and the Boilermakers will meet in Bloomington on March 22.

WNIT Third Round Matchups
Thursday, March 22
Purdue at Indiana, 7 p.m. ET
JMU at West Virginia, 7 p.m. ET
Fordham at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m. ET
Duquesne at St. John’s, 7 p.m. ET
Georgia Tech at Alabama, 8 p.m. ET
Michigan State at South Dakota, 8 p.m. ET
TCU at New Mexico, 9 p.m. ET

Friday, March 23
UC Davis at Kansas State, 8 p.m. ET

ABOUT THE  COYOTES
South Dakota comes into the third round battle with an impressive 28-6 overall record and a perfect 14-0 mark in the Summit League.

South Dakota was the first undefeated Summit
League regular season champion since Northern Illinois did it in 1993-94. South Dakota has won three of the last four Summit League regular season titles. The Coyotes are solid at home with a 16-1 record this season. USD’s current 13-game home winning streak ranks 11th nationally. South Dakota holds a 72-5 home record in the last five years.

The Coyotes have three players averaging in double figures led by Ciara Duffy who scores 11.9 point per game. Allison Arens is second in scoring with 11.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Jaycee Bradley is the final USD player in double figures, scoring 10.3 ppg. Arens and Duffy both earned first-team All-Summit League honors, while Jasmine Trimboli was named to the second team. Bradley earned honorable mention honors. Trimboli was also Defensive Player of the Year and earned the Sixth Woman of the Year award.

GREAT LAKES STATE CONNECTIONS
South Dakota head coach Dawn Plitzuweit has several connections to the state of Michigan. In 2006, she led Grand Valley State to the NCAA Division II Championship. Plitzuweit began her coaching career at her alma mater, Michigan Tech, under her collegiate coach, Kevin Borseth, in 1995. The pair coached together for 11 seasons with stops at Michigan Tech, Green Bay and Michigan.

She is a 1995 graduate of Michigan Tech, earning back-to-back Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year awards, four all-conference honors and three all-defensive team nods.

SOUTH DAKOTA - COMMON OPPONENTS
Michigan State and South Dakota had no common opponents this season.

SERIES HISTORY
This is the first-ever meeting between Michigan State and South Dakota.

LENDING A HELPING HAND
Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon continues to climb up the single-season assists charts with 173 helpers this season. The sophomore passed her 2016-17 total of 169 helpers. She also passed All-American Tori Jankoska, who had 160 assists during the 2016-17 season. She is one assist away from tying Tamika Matlock who had 174 assists during the 1995-96 year.

RAINING THREES
Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon drained multiple triples for the 11th-straight game and 19th overall time this season with her three 3-pointers Monday against Toledo. McCutcheon now has 68 3-pointers, moving up to tie for No. 6 on MSU’s single-season 3-point field goals list, matching former teammate Tori Jankoska (2014-15) and Lindsay Bowen (2005-06). She now has 115 career 3-pointers, moving up to No. 12 on the Spartans’ career 3-pointers list.

THE FRIENDLY CONFINES
This season, the Spartans are 11-5 at the friendly confines of the Breslin Center. MSU was a perfect 8-0 in non-conference action and 3-5 in league play. At home, MSU is averaging 76.0 points per game, while allowing 61.8 Three Spartans score in double figures at home, led by redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley, who averages 12.6 ppg. Redshirt-senior Branndais Agee has scored 11.0 ppg at home, while sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon has scored 10.1 ppg. MSU dominates the boards at home with a rebound margin +8.3.

MAGIC NUMBERS
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 15 times overall this season. MSU has won 119 of its last 131 games when scoring at least 70 points, and MSU is 136-19 under head coach Suzy Merchant when hanging at least 70 points on the scoreboard. This year, MSU is 13-2 when scoring at least 70 with losses to Indiana on March 1 and Minnesota on Jan. 7.

GETTING OVER 40
Rebounding has been the key to the Spartans’ success. MSU is 11-5 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 15-7 when out-rebounding its opponents.

AGEE ADDS HER NAME
Redshirt senior Branndais Agee is leaving her mark on the Michigan State program. With three rebounds against Toledo on March 19, Agee now has 711 career rebounds, standing to No. 11 on the Spartans’ career rebounds list, passing Kisha Kelley who had 701 in her career (1991-95). Agee is also 13th in scoring with 1,248 career points, passing Spartan Lykendra Johnson (2008-12), who had 1,242 career points. Agee is now just three points away from, tying With 61 blocks, she is 14th in career blocks, passing Cetera Washington (2007-11). Agee is tied for third in career games played with 135.

Agee is now just the eighth person in Michigan State history to score at least 1,200 points and bring down 650 rebounds. She joins Tori Jankoska, Aerial Powers, Liz Shimek, Allyssa DeHaan, Kris Emerson, Kristen Rasmussen and Lykendra Johnson. Agee has scored 1,248 points and has 711 boards.

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.

LEADING THE STAT LINE
Eleven different Spartans have led the team in scoring in the first 32 games of the season. Shay Colley and Sidney Cooks have been the leader seven times, while Taryn McCutcheon has led the team in scoring five times. Branndais Agee has been the team leader four times, while 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.

INSTANT CLASSIC
Many records were set in Michigan State’s first round loss to Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament, 111-109 in four overtimes on March 1.
• This was the first four overtime game in Big Ten Tournament history. Thursday was MSU’s third OT game in B1G Tournament history and second multi-OT conference tournament game. The Spartans have split the previous two tournament OT games, losing 92-89 to Ohio State in 2002, and beating Illinois, 61-50, in 2005. Most OTs in college or pro game in Bankers Life Fieldhouse history.
• The game was the longest in Michigan State history after a pair of triple overtime games in 2016 and 1991. The Spartans are now 1-2 in games with at least three overtimes.
• McCutcheon set a new high for points in a Big Ten Tournament game with 21 against Indiana. Her previous high was 10 points against Wisconsin in the first round last season.
• McCutcheon (60), Colley (48), Gaines (47), Reimer (44), Agee (45) all set or tied career highs in minutes played.

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 5.6 apg. She is behind Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell (6.7 apg) and Iowa’s Kathleen Doyle (6.6 apg). McCutcheon tied a career high with 12 against Iowa on Feb. 1. Redshirt-sophomore Shay Colley is tied for eighth in assists (4.3 spg). Colley is fourth in steals with 2.0 spg, while McCutcheon is tied for fourth with 1.9 spg.

MSU is tied for second in the league assists, averaging 18.0 apg. Iowa is first in the conference in assists with 21.6 apg. Michigan State is fourth in rebound margin (+6.2) and fourth in steals (8.6 spg). The Spartans are second in the B1G in defensive rebounding percentage (.712) and fourth in offensive rebounding percentage (.372).

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.

BREAKING INTO THE RECORD BOOK
Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon has cracked the top 15 in career assists after only 64 games in the Spartan uniform. McCutcheon has 342 career assists for an average of 5.3 assists per game. She now stands alone in 12th, passing Brenda Jezowksi (1980-85) , who had 339 career assists. McCutcheon is now just five assists away from tying Kiana Johnson (2011-14) for 11th.

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 1,207 career points. She is currently sixth in scoring for the Spartans, averaging 8.9 points per game.

FOUR SPARTANS EARN ALL-B1G HONORS
Michigan State had four players named to the All-Big Ten teams. Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon, redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley and redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee all earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors by both the coaches and the media. Junior center Jenna Allen garnered honorable mention honors from the media.

BOUNCE BACK ABILITY
In Coach Merchant’s first 11 seasons, the Spartans are 75-31 (70.8%) following a loss.

AROUND THE NATION
The Spartans are 17th in the nation in assists with 576 and 12th in assists per game, averaging 18.0. Michigan State is 52nd in the nation in rebounds per game (40.7) and 44th in rebound margin (+5.7). This week, Taryn McCutcheon is 29th in the nation in assists per game (5.6 apg).

1K AGEE
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.

CLOSING IT OUT
The Spartans have been extremely effective closing out games over the last couple years, winning 174 of their last 183 games (.951) when leading with five minutes left, including 125 of their last 135. In Coach Merchant’s tenure, Michigan State is 209-15 (.933) when holding a lead with five minutes left. This season, the Spartans are 17-3.

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 10th in attendance, averaging 5,925 fans per game. They are second in the Big Ten behind of Purdue (6,036) and ahead of 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
Shay Colley’s layup with less than two seconds left lifted the Spartan women’s basketball team over Toledo in the second round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), 68-66, on Monday at the Breslin Center.

The Rockets tied the score for the fifth time of the night at 66-66 with a layup by Tanaya Beacham. After a Toledo timeout, Colley took control and delivered the game-winning shot.

With the win, MSU improves to 19-13 this season and advances to the third round, where the Spartans will play at South Dakota on Thursday. Toledo ends its year with an overall record of 18-15.

Coming off the bench after missing a game with an injury, freshman forward Sidney Cooks led the Spartans with 15 points. Colley added 14 points and four assists for MSU, while senior forward Taya Reimer scored in double figures for the third-straight game with 10 points. Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon tallied nine points to go with dishing out six assists.

Toledo was led by 16 points from Kaayla McIntyre, who had a double-double with 10 boards.

FAMILIAR FACES
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.

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.







 

 

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