Women's Basketball Picked Third in Preseason Big Ten Poll
Oct. 31, 2013
CHICAGO, Ill. - As a precursor to Big Ten Basketball Media Day, the conference released the preseason coaches and media polls, in addition to the five-member preseason All-Big Ten team. Michigan State women's basketball was selected third in both polls, while senior Klarissa Bell was a preseason All-Big Ten pick by the coaches.
Nebraska was the preseason favorite by both the coaches and media, while Penn State was slotted second ahead of the Spartans. Penn State's Maggie Lucas was the consensus pick for Preseason Player of the Year. Lucas was joined by Minnesota's Rachel Banham, Nebraska's Jordan Hooper and Purdue's Courtney Moses on both all-conference teams, while Bell was named to the coaches' team and Iowa's Samantha Logic was the final member of the media's.
Michigan State opens the season No. 18 nationally in the preseason USA Today coaches' poll, released on Monday. It is MSU's highest preseason ranking since beginning the 2009-10 season at No. 10.
The Spartans opened their exhibition schedule with a 100-52 win over Ferris State on Wednesday night. MSU plays its final exhibition game on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. against Grand Valley State.
Head Coach Suzy Merchant's Media Day Press Conference Transcript
Welcome to a new season and we're excited about our basketball team at Michigan State. We have a good, core group of veterans coming back, and at the same time we have three exciting freshmen.
Coach, two-part question here: First, how is the overall health of your team? Second, can you talk about those new and exciting freshmen?
Jasmine Hines has a concussion. She he has been out five weeks, broke her nose and has post-concussion syndrome. Our transfer from Auburn, Camille Glymph, who sat out last year and was eligible to play this year as a stress reaction in her back. We hope to have her back eventually as well. The exciting freshmen, Aerial (Powers) and Branndais (Agee), both are back. Aerial started for us last night as an exciting face-up four man, very athletic. Branndais brings that toughness. She is long and lean on the perimeter and she does a nice job of getting to the rim as well as rebounding and our true freshman (Tori Jankoska) was "Miss Basketball" in the state of Michigan and she opened up last night with 27 points. Not sure what that means but she has a great range. That was what we were missing sometimes last year. She can extend the defense and not a bad showing for a freshman on game night in a college uniform. It's exciting. They're going to have their ups and downs but we like what they bring to our team.
Klarissa Bell, a lot of seniors graduated last year, Alex Bentley, Taylor Hill and it's just a year when people like Klarissa Bell can rise to the level of those kids and get more recognition, I guess?
With Courtney Schiffauer and Jasmine Thomas leaving not necessarily a bulk of your production but more identified, Schiff was so tough inside and Jasmine started to come along in terms of her leadership last year. Who will need to kind of fill those voids and what do you see in identity and leadership?
Klarissa and Annalise are two of the hardest working kids I've ever had in my program so when you have senior leaders that work extremely hard, I think that will allow our other kids to jump into the fray and that's what seniors do. They have to have a will to win and allow others to jump into the fray and compete as hard as they can and inspire the others on the team to do so. I have all the confidence in the world that although those two brought different dynamics, I think Klarissa and Annalise can pick up in different ways that will certainly make an impact on our team, but those two will be missed, for sure.
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