Nov. 25, 2008
No. 24 Michigan State Spartans (5-0) vs.
No. 23/24 Old Dominion Lady Monarchs (3-1)
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 26
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Arena: Breslin Center
TV: Big Ten Network (Mark Neely - play-by-play, Stephanie White - color, Lisa Byington - sidelines)
Radio: WVFN 730 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play)
Internet: Live Stats and Audio at www.msuspartans.com
Game Notes in PDF Format
Spartan Sports Podcasts Aisha Jefferson | Brittney Thomas
Head Coach Suzy Merchant Weekly Press Conference Video | Audio
Courtney Schiffauer Get to Know Her Day Information
Michigan State is off to a 5-0 start for the fourth time in program history and for the first since the 1999-00 season (1999-00 - 7-0, 1983-84 - 6-0, 1984-85 - 5-0). MSU is one of five school's in the nation off to 5-0 starts, joining North Carolina, Texas, Mississippi and Gonzaga.
Filling Up the Scoreboard
The 415 points scored is the fourth-most in a five game span in program history and is the most since 1996-97. MSU currently leads the Big Ten, averaging 83.0 points per game. The 274 points scored in the season's first three games were the most in a three-game stretch in school history.
Holding Down the Opposition
The 240 points allowed are the fewest to begin a season in the 3-point field goal era and the fourth fewest all-time to start a season (172 in 1973-74, 177 in 1972-73 and 209 in 1974-75). MSU is second in the Big Ten in points allowed at 48.0 per game.
MSU has held their opponents under 30% from the field in each of the five games. In total, Michigan State is holding the visitors to a 27.7% clip from the field, second in the conference, and a league-leading 15.9% from behind the 3-point line. Only once has a team shot better than 15.0% from behind the arc (Dartmouth - 28.6%).
Holding Down the Opposition (First Half Edition)
The Spartans have been especially stingy in the first half of each game this season. The five opponents have combined for only 93 points (18.6 per game), while shooting 25.7% (36-of-140) from the field and 11.4% (5-of-44) from 3-point range (the opposition missed their first 19 from long range).
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 four opponents to score in double-figures this season - Dartmouth's Koren Schram (24), Quinnipiac's Erin Kerner (15), Detroit's Zemora Davis (13) and Stony Brook's Sarah Kazadi (11). In fact, only seven players have tallied eight or more points.
DeHaan Reaches Milestone...
Junior Allyssa DeHaan became the program's 19th 1,000-point scorer with a basket with 14:48 left in the second half against Quinnipiac. DeHaan moved into 19th on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,001 points. She also was the fifth fastest to the milestone, needing only 75 games (Mary Kay Itnyre - 65 games, Kris Emerson - 72, Lindsay Bowen - 73, Kisha Kelley - 74).
...And Approaches Another
Already the school's all-time block leader, DeHaan is only 72 blocks shy of the Big Ten career mark. With her four blocks against Stony Brook (Nov. 16), she became the fastest in conference history to reach the 300-block plateau, needing only 72 games. Nationally, DeHaan is 168 blocks shy of the NCAA record.
Sophomore Brittney Thomas returned to the rotation in the game against Detroit (Nov. 19), after missing the first two games with a broken right hand. Since she has been back, her impact on the floor has been noticeable. With Thomas on the court, the Spartans have outscored their opponents by 77 points (134-57), but when she was sitting the MSU margin was only one point (92-91). Defensively, opponents are averaging only 0.8 points per minute while she is on the floor, have shot only 20.2% (17-of-84) and turned the ball over 39 times in 69 minutes.
TD Banknorth Recap
MSU won the 2008 TD Banknorth Classic, hosted by the University of Vermont, this past weekend with a 81-48 victory over Quinnipiac in Sunday's championship game. The Spartans held on to beat Dartmouth, 60-52 in overtime on Saturday to advance to the title game. Sophomore Kalisha Keane was named the tournament's most valuable player, while redshirt junior Aisha Jefferson was also named to the all-tournament team.
On Sunday, the Spartans jumped out to a 16-0 lead over the game's first 5:19 and would never look back. MSU put together another 16 unanswered points later in the first half, to help take a 41-18 lead into the break. They began the second half on another run, 13-2 over the first 4:21, and would cruise to the 81-48 win. Junior Allyssa DeHaan led the way with 21 points, including her 1,000 career point, while also adding five rebounds and four blocks. Classmate Mandy Piechowski poured in a season-high 12 points, while Keane totaled 10 points, five rebounds and four assists.
On Saturday, Dartmouth took control early scoring the game's first nine points and holding MSU scoreless for the first 4:24. However, the Spartans would battle back and eventually retake the lead into the half, 31-25, highlighted by a 17-3 run over a nine minute span midway through the half. Dartmouth would use a 15-3 run of their own over 10-and-a-half minutes in the second half to regain the lead. However, four straight points by Jefferson late in the game, and a free throw by the Big Green pushed the game into extra time. In the overtime, Keane scored seven of her game-high 20 points to help MSU outscore Dartmouth 12-4. Keane also added four rebounds and four steals in the win. Jefferson poured in 17 points, while redshirt senior Mia Johnson had nine points, a game-high six rebounds and three assists.
Suzy Merchant Radio Show Debuts Wednesday
The Suzy Merchant Radio Show returns for the 2008-09 season. The weekly call-in show will be held Wednesdays during the regular season from 12-1 p.m. at Reno's East in East Lansing. The show, hosted by Michigan State women's basketball radio play-by-play announcer Rick Berkey, is produced by the Spartan Radio Network and can be heard live on WVFN (730 AM).
The dates for this season include Nov. 26, Dec. 4 (Thursday), Dec. 10, Dec. 17, Jan. 7, Jan. 14, Jan. 21, Jan. 28, Feb. 4, Feb. 11, Feb. 18 and Feb. 25.
Fans are encouraged to join Coach Merchant at Reno's East on Abbott Road in East Lansing for the show. There will be free giveaways to fans in attendance. If you can not attend, the call-in number for the show is 517-372-2148.
About Old Dominion
Old Dominion is off to a 3-1 start on the season and is ranked in both national polls (No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and No. 23 in the AP). On Friday, the Lady Monarchs upset in-state rival and No. 11 Virginia, 78-70. ODU also had wins against St. Mary's (93-63) and Dayton (70-58), with their lone loss coming at No. 14 Texas.
Old Dominion, who advanced to last year's NCAA Sweet 16, is led by three players in double-figures. Tiffany Green is first on the team with 17.8 points per game, while also adding 9.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game. Jessica Canady averages a double-double with 14.5 points and a team-high 10.3 rebounds, while Jazzmin Walters is first in assists (4.75 per game) and third with 13.0 points.
Against the Lady Monarchs
Old Dominion won the only meeting between these two schools, topping MSU last season (Dec. 2) in Norfolk, 79-73.