Nov. 21, 2008
TD Banknorth Classic
Location: Burlington, Vt.
Arena: Patrick Gymnasium
Michigan State Spartans (3-0) vs.
Dartmouth Big Green (0-2)
Date: Saturday, Nov. 22
Time: 3 p.m.
Michigan State Spartans (3-0) vs.
Vermont Catamounts (1-0) or Quinnipiac Bobcats (2-0)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 22
Time: 1/3 p.m.
Radio: WVFN 730 AM - Rick Berkey (play-by-play)
Internet: Live Audio at www.msuspartans.com; Live video and statistics at www.uvmathletics.com
Michigan State is off to a 3-0 start for the 10th time in program history and for the first since the 2004-05 season. The Spartans have started at least 4-0 on eight occasions, the last time also being 2004-05. They have begun at least 5-0 only three times, most recently to begin the 1999-00 season when they started 7-0, the best start in program history.
Filling Up the Scoreboard
The 274 points scored so far this season are the most in a three-game stretch in school history. The current record for most points in a four-game span is 345 (Dec. 20-30, 1996) and for five straight games is 426 (Dec. 20, 1996-Jan. 3, 1997). MSU currently leads the Big Ten, averaging 91.3 points per game.
Holding Down the Opposition
The 140 points allowed are the fewest to begin a season in the 3-point field goal era and the third fewest all-time to start a season (94 in 1973-74 and 102 in 1972-73). MSU is second in the Big Ten in points allowed at 46.7 per game.
MSU has held their opponents under 30% from the field and 15% from 3-point range in each of the three games. In total, Michigan State is holding the visitors to a 27.9% clip from the field, second in the conference, and a league-leading 11.9% from behind the 3-point line.
Holding Down the Opposition (First Half Edition)
The Spartans have been especially stingy in the first half of each game this season. The three opponents have combined for only 50 points (16.7 per game), while shooting 23.0% (20-of-87) from the field and have yet to hit a 3-point basket (0-of-19).
MSU allowed only 13 points in the first half to Detroit on Wednesday. It was the second fewest points allowed in a half in school history. The Spartans held Indiana to 12 points on Jan. 16, 2003. MSU also allowed 13 points in the second half of last season's opener against IUPUI.
Keeping Them Under 10
Through three games, MSU has allowed only two opponents to score in double-figures this season. Detroit's Zemora Davis scored 13, while Stony Brook's Sarah Kazadi had 11. In fact, only four players have tallied eight or more points.
DeHaan Approaching Milestones
Junior Allyssa DeHaan has the opportunity to set new milestones this season. She is 22 points away from becoming the program's 19th 1,000-point scorer. DeHaan is currently tied for 22nd on the all-time Spartan list with 978 points, eight points behind Sue Tucker in 20th place. Having played only 73 games, she has a chance to become one of the five fastest Spartans to the 1,000-point mark (Mary Kay Itnyre - 65 games, Kris Emerson - 72, Lindsay Bowen - 73, Kisha Kelley - 74).
From the Bench into the Stat Sheet
The success of the MSU bench has been a major factor in the 3-0 start to the season. The reserves have combined to average 41.7 points, 23.3 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 5-0 steals and 2.3 blocks in the early goings. In comparison to the opposition, the Spartans hold large advantages in points (125-48), rebounds (70-36), assists (23-4) and field goal percentage (49.5%-27.1%). Redshirt junior Lauren Aitch (13.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and freshman Courtney Schiffauer (13.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg) have been key to the MSU bench play.
In the first three 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 144-50 edge in points in the paint, a 155-94 edge in rebounding and have 22 blocks already. Those seven players have combined for 227 of the team's 274 points.
Dartmouth enters the weekend having lost its first two games of the season, falling at Hartford (73-40) and home against St. John's (74-39). Sophomore Brittney Smith leads the team averaging 11.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The Big Green are shooting only 25.5% from the field and have 48 turnovers so far. The Big Green, the defending Ivy league champion and winner of three of the last four, was picked to finish second in the Ivy League behind Harvard. Dartmouth has made four straight postseason appearances, earning NCAA bids in 2005 and 2006 and qualifying for the WNIT the last two seasons. They return three starters in Smith, All-Ivy First Team choice Koren Schram and Betsy Williams.
Vermont, who faces Quinnipiac in the tournament opener, won its first game of the season, 83-69 over Massachusetts. Courtnay Pilypaitis tallied a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Amy Rosenkrantz had 24 points. The Catamounts were selected to win the America East title and Pilypaitis was picked as preseason player of the year, after winning the award last season, by the league's coaches. Pilypaitis, one of four starters and 13 letterwinners returning, led Vermont in scoring (16.8 ppg), rebounding (6.9 rpg), assists (5.5 apg) and three-point field goals made (68) last season. Vermont went 24-9 last season and advanced to the second round of the WNIT, knocking off Dartmouth in the opener.
Quinnipiac, Vermont's opening round opponent, has begun 2-0 on the season with wins at Stony Brook, 59-45, and at Brown, 79-62. Erin Kerner is one of three Bobcats in double-figures, averaging 23.5. Mandy Pennewell has chipped in 11.5 points and a team-best 6.5 boards. The Bobcats were picked top finish second in the Northeast Conference, after going 25-6, sharing the league's regular season title last season and advancing to the WNIT. Quinnipiac returns three All-NEC performers in Kerner, Pennewell and NEC Defensive Player of the Year Brianna Rooney.
Against the Tournament Field
Of the three teams in this weekend's TD Banknorth Classic, Michigan State has only faced Vermont, holding a 2-0 all-time series lead on the Catamounts. MSU and Vermont last met on Dec. 21, 2004 at the Breslin Center, an 85-57 Spartan win.