Sep 4, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - With classes started and football kicked off, it means that the 2013-14 Michigan State women's basketball season is fast approaching. On Wednesday, Spartan head coach Suzy Merchant released their upcoming schedule.
The schedule is highlighted by nine teams that played in last year's NCAA Tournament, including opening at Final Four participant Notre Dame, in addition to three other postseason qualifiers. In addition to the Irish, MSU will host NCAA participant Dayton, travel to Florida State for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and face Oklahoma State and Georgetown at the San Juan Classic.
In conference, the Spartans will face Illinois, Ohio State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin twice, while Indiana, Penn State and Purdue will only head to Breslin Center, and Iowa, Michigan and Northwestern will be road only opponents. The 2014 Big Ten Tournament will return to Indianapolis and Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
"We have put together a very challenging non-conference schedule that has us playing five teams that participated in the postseason," said Merchant. "We will be tested right from the start with our opening game on the road versus Notre Dame, a Final Four team the last few seasons. Dayton and Florida State were top-15 and top-25 teams respectively, and we also look forward to taking on Oklahoma State and Georgetown in the San Juan Classic before Christmas. There is no question that our non-conference opponents will have us prepared for the grind of another tough Big Ten conference season."
Michigan State's exhibition schedule will include an Oct. 30 contest vs. Ferris State at 6 p.m. and a Nov. 3 tilt against Grand Valley State at 4:30 p.m.
As mentioned, the regular season opens in South Bend on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m., as the Spartans renew their rivalry with the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame, who enters its first year in the ACC, went 35-2 last season, en route to the BIG EAST regular season and tournament championships and a trip to the NCAA Final Four.
The Spartans return home for a four-game stand, beginning with a Nov. 14 game against Canisius at 7 p.m. Dayton comes to the Breslin Center on Nov. 17 for a 2 p.m. tip, coming off a 28-3 campaign where it finished No. 16 in the final USA Today coaches poll, won the Atlantic-10 regular season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round. Detroit, the 2013 WBI Champions, follows on Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. The Titans went 21-13 last season. Rice concludes the homestand on Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
A trip to Philadelphia, Pa., wraps up the month, as MSU faces Temple on Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. After the Thanksgiving holiday, the Spartans return home to face IPFW on Dec. 1 at 4:30 p.m.
The non-conference schedule continues with back-to-back ACC opponents on the road, beginning with Florida State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. The Seminoles went 23-10 last season, tied for fourth in the ACC at 11-7 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. After a brief return home, MSU heads to Virginia Tech on Dec. 7 at 2 p.m.
An in-state matchup with Oakland at Breslin Center is set for Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. A post-exam trip to Puerto Rico for the San Juan Classic highlights December for the Spartans. MSU will face Oklahoma State on Dec. 19 at 3 p.m. ET and Georgetown on Dec. 20 at 3:30 p.m. ET. The Cowgirls also played in the NCAA Tournament Second Round and posted a 22-11 record in 2012-13.
The non-conference slate concludes on Dec. 29 with a home game against Colgate at 2 p.m.
The Big Ten Conference schedule will again be a difficult test, although MSU will play only one of the five 2013 NCAA Tournament teams twice.
The Spartans begin on the road at Minnesota, which played in the WNIT last year, on Jan. 4, before beginning a stretch of four-straight games against NCAA teams from a year ago.
The Big Ten home opener is Jan. 9 vs. Nebraska at 7 p.m. The Huskers, who were 18th in the final USA Today national poll, were 25-9 last season and finished second in the Big Ten at 12-4. They were the Big Ten's lone representative in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
MSU returns to the road for the only games of the season against Michigan and Iowa, both teams which advanced to the NCAA second round. The Spartans and Wolverines meet up in Crisler Center on Jan. 12, while the Green and White head to Iowa City on Jan. 16 at 8 p.m.
Defending Big Ten champion Penn State is only on the schedule once to Michigan State. The Nittany Lions visit East Lansing on Jan. 19 at 5 p.m. PSU finished 26-6 overall and 14-2 in the conference, before losing in the NCAA second round. The Spartans stay at home to play Illinois on Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. The Illini played into the WNIT quarterfinals last season, going 19-14.
The first of two meetings against Ohio State and Wisconsin close out the month of January. MSU heads to Columbus on Jan. 26 at 12:30 p.m., while the Badgers play at Breslin Center on Jan. 30 at 7 p.m.
The Spartans will play at home on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 2), hosting Purdue at 1:30 p.m. The Boilermakers tied MSU for third in the conference at 10-6, but beat the Spartans in the Big Ten Tournament championship game. Purdue also advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round.
Michigan State completes the home-and-home series with Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Minnesota. MSU travels to the Illini on Feb. 5 (8 p.m.) and the Huskers on Feb. 8 (3 p.m.). Home games against the Buckeyes (Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m.) and Gophers (Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.) book end a trip to the Badgers on Feb. 20 (9 p.m.).
The Big Ten regular season concludes with the only meetings of the season with Northwestern and Indiana. The Spartans travel to Evanston on Feb. 27, while the Hoosiers visit for Senior Day on March 2.
After a year away, the 2014 Big Ten Tournament returns to Indianapolis, Ind., on March 6-9, to be held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Michigan State is coming off a 25-9 season, which saw the Spartans tie for third in the Big Ten at 10-6. MSU advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round, before losing at No. 10 Maryland. The Spartans graduated two starters, but return five of their top six scorers, including leading scorer and rebounder, Klarissa Bell, who was a third-team All-Big Ten selection. In addition, MSU welcomes back three key possible contributors from injury in center Madison Williams, and forwards Branndais Agee and Aerial Powers.
Last season, Michigan State led the Big Ten in scoring defense, rebound margin and 3-point field goal percentage defense, and was second in field goal percentage defense. In the NCAA statistical rankings, the Spartans ranked 13th in points allowed and 21st in rebound margin.