Spartans Open with Exhibition Against LSSU
MSU women's basketball starts 2017-18 with only exhibition on Sunday.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – In its only exhibition of the season, the Michigan State women’s basketball team will take on Lake Superior State on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. at the Breslin Center.
NEW BAG POLICIES
• The Spartans finished the 2016-17 season with a 21-12 record, including going 9-7 in Big Ten action. Michigan State advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 13th time in the last 15 seasons. MSU said goodbye to all-time leading scorer and All-American Tori Jankoska. All-Big Ten honorees Branndais Agee, Taryn McCutcheon and Taya Reimer all return for the Spartans for the 2017-18 season.
• Michigan State opens the season receiving votes on both the USA Today Coaches poll and the Associated Press poll.
• In Coach Merchant’s 10 seasons, Michigan State has now earned 35 All-Big Ten selections, as senior Tori Jankoska was named unanimous first-team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and the media. Redshirt senior Branndais Agee, graduate student Taya Reimer and freshman Taryn McCutcheon were all named to the honorable mention team. In every season under Coach Merchant, MSU has had at least two players earn All-Big Ten honors. Coach Merchant has also coached the only Big Ten Player of the Year honoree as Kalisha Keane collected the accolade in 2010-11.
• Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon broke the assists by a freshman record, now with 152 this season, and also moving up to No. 4 on the MSU single-season assists list, passing Deb Traxinger with 148 dimes in 1979-80 ... Jankoska is currently tied with Traxinger for the No. 5 spot with 148 assists.
• Michigan State women’s basketball ended the season leading the Big Ten and ranking ninth in the NCAA in attendance, averaging 6,011 fans per game. Michigan State has won 20 games in 12 of the last 13 seasons and has won at least 10 Big Ten games 13 of the last 14 years.
Highlighting the Spartans’ ledger this season is 15 home games, including seven non-conference contests as well as eight Big Ten Conference match-ups.
Another focal showpiece of MSU’s 2017-18 schedule is playing in the inaugural PK80 Invitational to celebrate Phil Knight’s 80th birthday, where Michigan State will take on UConn at Matthew Knight Arena, hosted by the University of Oregon. The Michigan State men’s team will also be playing in the PK80 Invitational, with the men’s action being held in Portland.
Once again, the Big Ten will have a 16-game women’s basketball conference schedule format this season after all 14 teams played 18 games the previous two seasons. Michigan State will play in-state rival Michigan, along with Indiana and Maryland in home-and-home contests, while hosting Rutgers, Northwestern, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska and Wisconsin. The Spartans will play road games at Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue.
LOOK WHO’S BACK
Despite losing Michigan State all-leading scorer Tori Jankoska, the Spartans have many pieces from last year’s team returning, including starters Branndais Agee, Taya Reimer, Taryn McCutcheon and Victoria Gaines. Over 66 percent of the Spartan offense is back, including four of the top five scorers.
The Michigan State Athletics Department officially opened the Gilbert Pavilion and the Tom Izzo Hall of History on Friday afternoon in a ceremony at the Breslin Center.
The project was funded by private donations, including large contributions from Dan & Jennifer Gilbert and from Bob & Julie Skandalaris, with the gifts designated to the Breslin Center addition.
The addition features the Tom Izzo Hall of History, the Draymond Green Strength and Conditioning Center, a new ticket box office, a championship display, a recruiting lounge, alumni locker room and interactive areas that enhance the fan experience for the more than 500,000 people attending events each year.
The Spartans welcome two freshmen this season in forward Sidney Cooks and guard Claire Hendrickson. Cooks is a McDonald’s All-American from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Hendrickson, a native of Wyoming, Michigan, will miss the 2017-18 season after tearing her ACL in the first practice of the season. After sitting out last season after transferring from South Carolina, the redshirt-sophomore Shay Colley is able to take the court this season with the Spartans. She earned a gold medal this summer with the Canadian National Team at the FIBA Americas Women’s Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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 is 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.
AGEE EARNS PRESEASON HONOR
The Big Ten Conference released the Preseason Coaches and Media Polls, in addition to the 10-member preseason All-Big Ten team on Monday. Michigan State redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee was named to the Preseason All-Big Ten team by the coaches.
Reigning Big Ten co-champion Ohio State, which was the No. 1 pick in both the coaches and the media poll. Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell was named Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year in both polls.
Last season, Agee earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors along with fellow senior Taya Reimer and sophomore Taryn McCutcheon. During the 2016-17 season, Agee was second on the team in scoring and rebounding with 10.0 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
The Spartans ended 2016-17 with a 21-12 overall record, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in the last nine seasons. The Spartans bring back four starters from last season’s squad in Agee, Reimer, McCutcheon and redshirt-sophomore Victoria Gaines.
Michigan State will begin the regular season with three-straight home games. MSU opens the season hosting Robert Morris on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 4 p.m. On Monday, Nov. 13, the Spartans will take on Oakland at 7 p.m. Michigan State will close out the homestand against College of Charleston on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 12 p.m.