Spartans Brace for Another Tough Road Contest, Take on Old Dominion Sunday
Dec. 1, 2007
TIPOFF - GAME 8
No. 20/19 MICHIGAN STATE (6-1) vs. OLD DOMINION (5-2)
ODU: Wendy Larry (Old Dominion, 1977)
SPARTANS BRACE FOR ANOTHER TOUGH ROAD GAME, TAKE ON OLD DOMINION SUNDAY
The Spartans are fresh off a 68-51 victory over Clemson on Thursday in the inaugural Big Ten/ACC Women's Challenge. It marked MSU's first home game since Nov. 11, but the Spartans are right back on the road for games at Old Dominion and Indiana State (Dec. 8) before hosting No. 9 Oklahoma on Dec. 16. MSU is in the midst of playing eight of 10 games away from the friendly confines of the Breslin Center.
Sophomore 6-9 center Allyssa DeHaan had her best game of the young season against Clemson with 26 points and 13 rebounds on 11-for-19 shooting from the field. DeHaan leads the team and ranks fourth in the Big Ten in scoring with 17.2 ppg. She is also fifth in the league in rebounds (8.3 rpg) and field-goal percentage (58.3 percent) and first in blocks (36, 5.1 pg).
Joining DeHaan in the post, sophomore center Lauren Aitch also played a stellar game in the win over Clemson, recording career highs with 16 points and nine rebounds on 6-of-12 shooting. Freshman point guard Brittney Thomas played a solid all-around game, tallying season bests in points (nine) and rebounds (nine) while tying a season best with six assists.
With the win over Clemson, first-year head coach Suzy Merchant became the first coach in Spartan history to begin her tenure with a 6-1 record. Merchant is 207-121 overall in her 13th year as a head coach.
OLD DOMINION ONE OF THE TOP WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PROGRAMS IN THE COUNTRY
The Monarchs are led by 21st-year head coach Wendy Larry. Entering the 2007-08 season, Larry ranked 17th in NCAA women's basketball history with 521 career victories.
This season, Old Dominion is looking strong in its bid for a 17th straight CAA title. The Monarchs are averaging 70.1 points a game, led by senior guard T.J. Jordan, who is pouring in 15.9 ppg. ODU is forcing more than 23 turnovers a game, and caused 30 turnovers in its 77-49 win over Penn State on Thursday. Old Dominion also pounces on the offensive glass, hauling in more than 18.3 a game.
YOUNG SPARTANS GETTING HELP FROM FRESHMEN CLASS
The young Spartans are returning just 25 percent of their points, 24 percent of their rebounds and 24 percent of their minutes from 2006-07. Overall, MSU's 11 active players consist of nine freshmen and sophomores, and just two seniors. The Spartans have started three freshmen (Kalisha Keane, Brittney Thomas and Cetera Washington) in every game this season.
Thus far, the freshmen have responded, accounting for 43 percent of MSU's points and 42 percent of the team's rebounds. Keane is second on the team and 12th in the Big Ten in scoring with 12.4 ppg; Thomas is second in the Big Ten in assists (4.9 pg); and Washington averages 5.7 ppg and 3.6 rpg. Off the bench, Taja Wilson is scoring 3.4 ppg in 9.7 minutes of action.
Keane, Thomas and Washington became the first freshmen trio to start at MSU since the 2001-02 season, when Kristin Haynie, Joy Johnson and Kelli Roehrig started. The trio of Haynie, Johnson and Roehrig started the first five games of the 2001-02 season.
LAST TIME OUT - MICHIGAN STATE 68, CLEMSON 51 - NOV. 29 - BRESLIN CENTER
April Parker had 13 points and D'Lesha Lloyd added 10 for the Tigers (4-3), who led 12-8 before Michigan State took control.
A 26-10 surge to end the first half made it 34-22 at the break. The Spartans stretched their lead to 21 points with a strong start in the second half, then survived a five-minute scoring drought to protect their lead.
SHOOTING THE LIGHTS OUT
SHOOTING THE LIGHTS OUT PT. 2
In the final two minutes of games, MSU is shooting 82 percent from the line (18-22). Courtney Davidson is a perfect 8-for-8 during that stretch, including 4-for-4 at Delaware State in the final minute.
BIG TEN NETWORK DEBUT A SUCCESS
HOW ABOUT THAT DEFENSE
MSU has held six teams under 40-percent shooting, including five under 33 percent. The only team to shoot over 40 percent was LSU (47.1 percent).
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