Women's Basketball Opens With Exhibition Game Against Ferris State
Oct. 29, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The 2013-14 Michigan State women's basketball season gets underway on Wednesday when the Spartans host Ferris State in their first of two exhibition games. MSU and FSU are set to tip at the Breslin Center at 6 p.m., with the game being broadcast online through the Big Ten Digital Network and Spartan All-Access.
Michigan State opens the season No. 18 nationally in the preseason USA Today coaches poll. It is MSU's highest preseason ranking since beginning the 2009-10 season at No. 10. Six of MSU's 2013-14 opponents are also ranked - Notre Dame (7), Nebraska (12), Penn State (15), Dayton (16), Purdue (23), Oklahoma State (24).
The Spartans went 25-9 last season, the third-most win in program history, while tying for third in the Big Ten at 10-6. MSU advanced to the title game at the 2013 Big Ten Tournament, and played into the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan State returns three starters, but five of its top six scorers from last season, including two All-Big Ten performers in senior Klarissa Bell and junior Kiana Johnson. Bell, a third-team selection, led the Spartans in points (10.5) and rebounds (6.1), while Johnson paced the team with 4.2 assists per contest and was third with 9.3 points. Bell and fellow senior Annalise Pickrel, who also averaged 9.3 points and led the team with 65 3-pointers, will act as this season's captains.
Head coach Suzy Merchant is entering her seventh season at the helm of the Spartan program. She holds a 140-62 (69.3%) record in her first six seasons, ranking her 10th all-time in Big Ten winning percentage. Over the last six seasons, Michigan State is second in the Big Ten in overall wins (140) and conference wins (69).
Last year, Ferris State went 13-13 in the first season of head coach Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate, who was Pickrel's former high school coach. The Bulldogs return their leading scorer in senior Sarah DeShone, who averaged 17.7 points, in addition to her team-best 3.1 assists. Michigan State last played Ferris State in an exhibition game in 2006.
The Spartans conclude the exhibition schedule on Sunday when they host Grand Valley State at 4:30 p.m.
Michigan State women's basketball season and single-game tickets are now on sale at MSUSpartans.com. Season ticket packages begin as low as $51.
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