Nov. 18, 2008
Michigan State Spartans (2-0) vs.
Detroit Titans (0-1)
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 19
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Arena: Breslin Center
Radio: WVFN 730 AM - Rick Berkey (play-by-play)
Internet: Live Stats and Audio at www.msuspartans.com
Michigan State looks to go 3-0 for the first time since 2004-05, as it hosts the University of Detroit on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The Spartans opened the season this weekend with wins over Niagara (116-50) and Stony Brook (73-42). Five Spartans are currently in double-figures, led by redshirt junior Lauren Aitch's 17.0 points per game.
Michigan State has started 2-0 in each of the last six seasons. A win against Detroit will be the 10th 3-0 start in program history and the first since the 2004-05 season.
The 189 points on the season are the second-most ever scored in the first two games of the season, one point behind the 190 points scored to begin the 1990-91 season. The most over the first three games (252) occurred at the start of the 1994-95 season. The 92 points allowed are the second-fewest since the 1974-75 campaign (the Spartans allowed only 88 points in the first two games last season).
With the addition of four talented freshmen plus the return to health of Aisha Jefferson, the Spartans entered this season with the expectation of receiving contributions from deep into their bench. MSU has shown great depth in the early portions of the 2008-09 season, with nine players averaging over six points per game, including five in double-figures, and nine also averaging over 2.5 rebounds per outing.
Although the bench minutes are fairly equal (187-182), the production between MSU's bench and their opponent's have not been. The Spartans' reserves hold large advantages in points (92-36), rebounds (53-21), assists (14-3) and field goal percentage (53.2%-27.5%).
Starting Fast, Finishing Strong
The Spartans have jumped out to early leads in each of the two games this season. Against Niagara, MSU began on a 10-0 run, while vs. Stony Brook, the game began with seven unanswered. In the first four minutes of each half, Michigan State has out-scored its opponents by a 42-9 margin (19-6 - first half/23-3 - second half).
The Spartans have been equally impressive closing out each half, holding a 39-18 edge in the last four minutes of both halves (20-6 - first half/19-12 second half). MSU had a 19-0 spirt which ran over the last 4:23 of the first half and first 4:26 of the second half against Stony Brook.
In the first two games, Michigan State has started four players at least 6-feet tall, and have seven players in the regular rotation at or over that height. This size and length has paid dividends in the early season play, as the Spartans hold a 118-38 edge in points in the paint, a 107-58 edge in rebounding and have 16 blocks already. Those seven players are the team's top-seven scorers and have combined for 171 of the team's 189 points.
In the season-opening 116-50 win over Niagara on Friday night, Michigan State broke program records in points scored (116) and margin of victory (66). The previous school records were 108 points scored against Georgetown in the 1990 season opener on Nov. 24, and 61 points margin of victory set on two occasions, most recently on Feb. 3, 2005 against Northwestern, 101-40 - the last time a Spartan team topped the 100-point mark. In the 35-year history of the program entering this season, MSU had topped the 100-point mark on nine occasions. In addition, the Breslin Center scoring record was broken, as Northwestern had scored 109 points in a double-overtime win over the Spartans on March 5, 1993.
Detroit lost its opener on Friday night at Cincinnati, 66-59. Zemora Davis led the way with 17 points, while Brigid Mulroy (11) and Jalesa Jones (10) each posted double-figure nights. The Titans shot 38.9% from the field and outrebounded the Bearcats, 40-33. However, they committed 30 turnovers.
The Titans were picked to finish 10th in the Horizon League after finishing last season 6-24 overall and 3-15 in league play. Senior Sandi Brown led Detroit in both scoring (11.0 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg) last season. First year head coach Autumn Rademacher, the program's third-leading scorer, returned to her alma mater after spending four years at UW-Milwaukee and seven years at Western Michigan as an assistant coach.
Against the Titans
Michigan State holds a 14-7 advantage in the all-time series with Detroit. The Spartans have been dominant of late, winning the last nine contests and 11 of the last 12. MSU is 10-1 all-time at home against the Titans, including winning the last 10. The two schools last met on Dec. 7, 2005 with the Green and White winning 77-52 in East Lansing. Redshirt juniors Lauren Aitch and Aisha Jefferson are the only two Spartans to have faced Detroit in their collegiate careers. Aitch scored four points, while Jefferson added a pair in MSU's win in 2005.
Traverse City Success
Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant and Detroit first-year head coach Autumn Rademacher are both natives of Traverse City, Mich. and both played for head coach Jim Anderson at Traverse City High School. Although the two never competed together in a high school jersey, their relationship began back in their days in Traverse City.