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Spartans Play At Miami Thursday In Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Nov. 29, 2017

RV/RV Michigan State (4-1, 0-0 B1G) at --/RV Miami (4-2, 0-0 ACC)
 Date Thursday, Nov. 30
 Time 7 p.m. ET
 Location Miami, Fla. | Watsco Center
 Tickets Click To Purchase
 Television ESPN3
 Radio Spartan Sports Network | WJIM-AM 1240
 Game Notes Michigan State  Miami
 Statistics  Michigan State | Miami
 Internet Coverage  Live Stats
 Social Media @MSU_WBasketball   |  Facebook  |   Instagram 

Michigan State will conclude its three-game road trip by heading to Miami, Florida to play in the 11th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Spartans will take on Miami on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Watsco Center.

• This is the second time Spartans and the Hurricanes have met in the Challenge with Miami taking the first meeting in East Lansing, 76-60, in 2011. MSU is making its first trip to Miami since 1990, when the Spartans beat the Hurricanes, 79-73.

• Despite being out-rebounded by No. 1 UConn, the Spartans are still third in the nation in rebound margin (+18.8) and second in the country in rebounds per game (51.2 rpg). Michigan State is also seventh in the nation and first in the Big Ten in scoring margin, out-scoring its opponents by an average of +28.2 ppg.

• Michigan State is still receiving votes in both the USA Today Coaches poll and the Associated Press poll.

• The Spartans have three players averaging in double figures, led by redshirt-senior Branndais Agee. The guard is scoring 13.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Freshman forward Sidney Cooks is second in scoring with 12.2 ppg, while senior forward Taya Reimer averages 11.3 ppg.

• Guard Branndais Agee became the 26th MSU women’s basketball player to reach 1,000 points with 10 points against No. 1 UConn. She now has 1,001 career points in the Green and White. She is averaging 13.0 points through the first five games of the season, which leads the team.

Michigan State will be playing the 11th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The ACC captured last year’s Challenge title by a 9-5 count after the Big Ten and ACC played to 7-7 ties during the previous two seasons (2014 and 2015). Last season, Maryland, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue registered wins for the Big Ten. Michigan State lost to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome last season, 75-64.

In 2014, Michigan State came-from-behind to capture a 79-73 overtime win against Georgia Tech on Dec. 4. In 2015, Louisville came out fast and despite a second-half comeback by MSU, the Cardinals captured the win, 85-78. Last season, the Spartans traveled to No. 21 Syracuse, falling to the Orange in the Carrier Dome, 75-64, leveling the Spartans’ record in the B1G/ACC Challenge at 5-5.

B1G/ACC Challenge History
2016 - Syracuse 75, MSU 64
2015 - Louisville 85, MSU 78
2014 - MSU 79, Georgia Tech 73 (OT)
2013 - Florida State 60, MSU 58
2012 - MSU 68, N.C. State 51
2011 - Miami 76, MSU 60
2010 - MSU 72, Florida State 64
2009 - MSU 72, North Carolina 66
2008 - Georgia Tech 57, MSU 50
2007 - MSU 68, Clemson 51
Bold = home games

Michigan State celebrated Thanksgiving weekend at the PK80 Invitational in honor of Phil Knight’s 80th birthday. The Spartans attended a Nike event before watching the MSU men’s team take on DePaul on Thanksgiving day. Michigan State fell to No. 1 UConn, 96-62, on Saturday, Nov. 25 in Eugene at Matthew Knight Arena. In the other game, Oregon defeated Oklahoma.

Senior forward Kennedy Johnson has started the season off strong, averaging 7.4 points per game through the first five games. She scored in double figures in back-to-back games for the first time in her career, scoring a career-high 18 points against College of Charleston and 11 against Detroit before the UConn game.

After a lengthy three-game road trip, Michigan State returns to the friendly confines of the Breslin Center. The Spartans return home to take on Western Michigan on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 12:30 p.m. This is the second of five doubleheaders with the MSU men’s basketball team. Michigan State will then hit the road to face No. 3/2 Notre Dame on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

The Spartan offense looked strong against Robert Morris is the season opener, reaching the 100-point mark with a 100-58 win. The last time MSU reached 100 points in the season opener was in 2008 when the Spartans dominated Niagara, 116-50. Michigan State has reached triple-figures in the first game of the season three times (2017, 1998, 1990). The Spartans added another 100-point performance against College of Charleston with a 107-43 win. Overall, MSU is averaging 92.2 ppg, ranking sixth in the NCAA stats.

Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee became the 26th MSU women’s basketball player to reach 1,000 points with 10 points against No. 1 UConn. Agee started the week by scoring a season-high 17 points in her hometown against Detroit, bringing her career point total to 991 and going over 1,000 against UConn. She now has 1,001 career points in the Green and White. Agee is averaging 13.0 points through the first five games of the season, which leads the team. Tori Jankoska was the last Spartan to reach 1,000 points doing so on Nov. 27, 2015.

Michigan State has two players in the top 13 in the league in assists. Sophomore Taryn McCutcheon is eighth with 4.6 assists per game. Redshirt-sophomore Shay Colley is tied for 13th with 3.8 apg. Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell is first in the league in assists with 7.4 per game. Michigan State is second in the Big Ten and 15th in the NCAA in helpers with 20.0 assists per game. Iowa leads the league with 24.4 apg, ranking second in the nation, while Baylor tops the NCAA stats with 24.5 apg.

Redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley has had a fast start in her first two games of the season as a Spartan. Colley scored 16 points in the season opener against Robert Morris on Nov. 11 and added 14 against Oakland on Nov. 13. Against the Golden Grizzlies, Colley came close to becoming the fourth Spartan to register a triple-double. She ended the game with 14 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. Tori Jankoska was the last Spartan with a triple-double against Minnesota on Feb. 16, 2017.

Through the first five games of the season, the Michigan State offense has flexed its muscles. The Spartans have averaged 92.2 points, while allowing only 64.0. The Spartans’ 92.2 ppg ranks second in the Big Ten and sixth in the NCAA. MSU has three players averaging in double figures. Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee is first in scoring, averaging 13.0 points per game. Freshman forward Sidney Cooks is second in scoring with 12.2 ppg. Senior Taya Reimer is third on the team in scoring, averaging 11.3 points per game.

Both freshman forward Sidney Cooks and redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley had solid Spartan debuts. Cooks scored a team-high 17 points to go alone with six rebounds, three assists and a block against Robert Morris on Nov. 11. Colley, a transfer from South Carolina, played in her first game in the Green and White. The guard tallied 16 points in the season opener, adding four rebounds, two steals and two assists.

The overall series between the Spartans and the Hurricanes is tied 2-2, last meeting in the 2011 Big Ten/ACC Challenge. MSU is making its first trip to Miami since 1990. Miami won the first meeting in 1984, and the last game in 2011. When the team’s met in 2011, it was also in the Challenge with the Hurricanes stopping MSU, 76-60, in East Lansing. MSU captured wins in East Lansing in 1986 (63-52) and in Coral Gables in 1990 (79-73).

Michigan State is 26-28 all-time against teams from the ACC. The four-game history with Miami is tied for the second-longest, joining four games against North Carolina and trailing 18 games against Notre Dame.

Miami is 4-2 this season with its only losses coming at Colorado and against No. 15 Maryland at a tournament that the Hurricanes hosted over Thanksgiving. Miami and Maryland battles with the Terrapins, edging out the Hurricanes 79-71.

Miami is 5-3 all-time in Challenge games, including 3-2 at home and 5-1 over the past six seasons. The Spartans are the first team the Hurricanes will play twice in the event.

Mykea Gray leads the team in scoring, averaging 18.0 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Erkah Davenport is the other Hurricane averaging in double digits, scoring 11.3 ppg. As a team, Miami scores 73.0 points per game, while allowing only 63.3 ppg. The Hurricanes are also solid on the boards, averaging 42.3 rebounds per game, while allowing only 37.5 rpg.

The Spartans have been extremely effective closing out games over the last couple years, winning 162 of their last 168 games (.964) when leading with five minutes left, including 113 of their last 120. In Coach Merchant’s tenure, Michigan State is 197-11 (.947) when holding a lead with five minutes left. This season, the Spartans are 4-0.

Michigan State redshirt-senior Branndais Agee was named to the watch list for the inaugural Cheryl Miller Award, which will be awarded to the top small forward women’s basketball; it was announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.

She is one of five players from the Big Ten to be named to the watch list along with Indiana’s Amanda Cahill, Maryland’s Brianna Fraser, Ohio State’s Stephanie Mavunga and Wisconsin’s Cayla McMorris. Agee has already garnered preseason All-Big Ten honors by the coaches. 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 are 115-38 (75.2%) all-time in the month of November. Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is 55-10 (84.6%) in November, with six of the nine losses coming against top-10 opponents. The Spartans have won 29 of their last 33 in the month.

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.

Michigan State women’s basketball suffered its first loss of the season, falling to No. 1 Connecticut in the first game of the women’s portion of the PK80 Invitational on Saturday at the Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Oregon.

With the loss, the Spartans fall to 4-1 this season, while UConn improved to 5-0 with the win.

Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee became the 26th player in Michigan State women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 points. The last player to do so was All-American Tori Jankoska in 2015. Agee ended the game with 10 points, while freshman forward Sidney Cooks led the Spartans with 11 points and eight rebounds.

UConn had four players in double figures led by 25 from Azura Stevens, who added 16 rebounds for a double-double. Kia Nurse added 20 points in the win.

The Spartans welcome to their staff three former Michigan State players. Former Big Ten Player of the Year Kalisha Keane and All-Big Ten honorees Jasmine Hines and Annalise Pickrel are all graduate assistants with the Spartans this season.

All-time, the Spartans are now 31-15 in season openers, but 23-2 when the opener is in East Lansing. Coach Merchant is 8-3 in season openers at MSU, and has won 14 of her last 17, including her time at Eastern Michigan.

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.

Michigan State has had great success against other collegiate programs in the state of Michigan over the past 13 seasons. Since the beginning of the 2002-03 season, the Spartans are 53-4 (.930) against in-state rivals, including a 38-4 (.905) mark under Coach Merchant. All-time, Michigan State is 186-59 (.759) against other Michigan schools.

Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is 27-47 against ranked teams, including 18-14 at home, 6-18 on the road and 3-15 on a neutral court. As a ranked team against fellow ranked team, MSU is 15-22 versus ranked teams. This season, MSU is 0-1 against ranked teams with a loss to No. 1 UConn, 96-62.

In head coach Suzy Merchant’s tenure, when two numbers on the scoreboard were achieved it typically has been a sign of a MSU win. Overall, MSU has scored at least 70 points four times overall this season. MSU has won 110 of its last 120 games when scoring at least 70 points, and MSU is 127-17 under head coach Suzy Merchant when hanging at least 70 points on the scoreboard. This year, MSU is 4-0 when scoring at least 70.

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.

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.

After taking on UConn, MSU will conclude the three-game road swing. Michigan State will travel to Miami for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. After a lengthy three-game road trip, Michigan State returns to the friendly confines of the Breslin Center. The Spartans return home to take on Western Michigan on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 12:30 p.m. This is the second of five doubleheaders with the MSU men’s basketball team. Michigan State will then hit the road to face No. 3/2 Notre Dame on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

Michigan State women’s basketball head coach Suzy Merchant announced the signing of three National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, including Nia Clouden (Owing Mills, Maryland/St. Frances), Tory Ozment (Buford, Georgia/Buford) and Kayla Belles (Ithaca, Michigan/Ithaca).

Clouden is a 5-8 point guard who plays for head coach Jerome Shelton at St. Frances Academy. She is currently ranked No. 43 overall and No. 13 at her position by ESPN HoopGurlz. Last March, Clouden was named Maryland Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year, becoming the third Baltimore-area player to win the award in 11 years. She was also the USA Today Maryland Player of the Year last season. She is a two-time captain, who averaged 14.2 points and 4.7 assists per game as a junior. Last season, the Panthers captured their second-straight IAAM Championship. St. Frances also advanced to the semifinals of the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals, falling in overtime. Clouden has also earned first-team Baltimore Sun honor in both 2016 and 2017.

Ozment is a 6-1 guard/forward who plays for head coach Gene Durden at Buford High School. Durden has captured five state championships during time at Buford. She is currently ranked No. 14 at her position by ESPN HoopGurlz. Last season, Ozment was named the AAAAA State Player of the Year as well as being named to the Georgia Athletic Coaches Associations All-State squad. Ozment earned Atlanta Tipoff Club and Atlanta Journal Constitution All-Metro team. Last season, she averaged 13.4 points and 3.8 assists per game, leading Buford on a run to the Class AAAAA State Championship. As a sophomore, she guided Buford to the AAAA Final Four, averaging 11.1 points and 3.5 assists per game.

Belles is a 6-3 forward who plays for head coach Ty Warczinksy at Ithaca High School. As a junior, Belles averaged 19.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, 3.4 blocked shots and 2.6 steals per game, earning Associated Press Class B all-state honors. She led the Yellowjackets to three-straight Tri-Valley Conference West Division titles, which included a run to the Class C Final Four during her sophomore campaign. She garnered first-team all-state honors three-straight seasons, averaging a double-double the last two seasons. She is a multi-sport athlete, who earned all-state honors in both basketball and volleyball. Belles will miss her senior year of high school after tearing her ACL over the summer.

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.



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