Nov. 5, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
The Michigan State women's basketball team begins its two-game exhibition schedule on Thursday night with a 7 p.m. matchup with Saginaw Valley State at the Breslin Center. The Spartans put on their home uniforms for the first time in the 2008-09 campaign, after posting a 23-14 record last season and advancing to the WNIT Finals. MSU returns all five starters and nine letterwinners from last year's squad.
What You Need to Know
Michigan State was picked to finish third in the Big Ten by both the coaches and media
MSU is the only Big Ten school to return all five starters
They return 83.1% of their scoring (third in the Big Ten), 90.7% of their rebounding (first), 77.9% of their assists (third), 97.6% of their blocks (first) and 81.2% of their minutes played (second)
One of two schools (Purdue) to welcome back four All-Big Ten performers
MSU looks for sixth-straight 20-win season and eighth consecutive postseason berth
Allyssa DeHaan was on the five-person Preseason All-Big Ten Team
DeHaan is 58 points away from becoming the 19th 1,000-point scorer in program history
DeHaan is 89 blocks shy of the Big Ten all-time block record (DeHaan holds the MSU record)
Mia Johnson is 165 points short of 1,000 in her collegiate career (MSU and Saint Louis)
Johnson, redshirt junior Aisha Jefferson and junior Mandy Piechowski are this season's captains
At least 15 games will be broadcast on either Big Ten Network, ESPN2 or bigtennetwork.com
Spartans to face at least 13 schools who appeared in the 2008 postseason
MSU to play 1,000 game in program history at Notre Dame on Nov. 29
Michigan State will host the NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds on March 22 & 24
MSU ended last season 23-14 overall and 10-8 in the Big Ten, and advanced to the WNIT finals
* Suzy Merchant began her head coaching career at SVSU, posting a 54-29 record in three seasons (1995-98), and appearing in the 1997 NCAA Division II Tournament
About Saginaw Valley State
Saginaw Valley State is under the leadership of first-year head coach Shannon Baugh. Baugh took over the program after stints as an assistant coach at North Illinois, Bradley, North Dakota, Wisconsin-Green Bay and most recently, Bufffalo.
The Cardinals finished last season with a 12-15 overall record and a 5-13 mark in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). They were picked to finish fifth in the GLIACG North at the conference's preseason media day.
The Cardinals return two starters from a year ago - senior Tricia Everett and sophomore Brittany Burkhardt. Burkhardt was fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 11.0 points and was second in rebounding at 6.8. Meanwhile Everett led the team with 174 assists and 68 steals, while also chipping in 9.4 points and 4.3 rebounds.