No. 25 Women's Basketball Faces Florida State in Big Ten/ACC Challenge
Dec. 3, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The No. 25 Michigan State women's basketball team hits the road for the 2013 Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday, when they face Florida State at 7 p.m. The Spartans (5-2) own the best Big Ten record all-time in the Challenge at 4-2. The game is available on ESPN3.com.
ABOUT FLORIDA STATE
AGAINST THE SEMINOLES
Annalise Pickrel was the only current Spartan to appear in the last meeting. Pickrel, then a freshman, went scoreless in seven minutes.
LAST MEETING (MSU 72, FLORIDA STATE 64 - Dec. 1, 2010 - Tallahassee, Fla.)
BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE HISTORY
QUICK HITTERS FROM SUNDAY (IPFW 81, No. 21/18 MICHIGAN STATE 76)
Currently, Michigan State has scored at least 70 points in six-straight games for the first time in since 2004. To begin this stretch, the Spartans scored 80 or more points in four-straight games for the first time in program history.
The Spartans totaled 198 points in the back-to-back games against Canisius (102) and No. 23/21 Dayton (96). The total was the most points in consecutive games in MSU history (The previous high was 190 in the first two games of the 1990-91 season.) The Spartans' 102 points vs. Canisius was the eighth most in school history and marked just the 12th 100-point game all-time.
Also in the Canisius game, MSU shot 63.3% from the field (the highest field goal pct. since shooting 64.9% vs. Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 13, 2009), made 12 3-pointers (tying for the third-most in a MSU single-game) and scored 61 first half points (setting a record for the most points in any half in Breslin Center history and was the most points in a half by MSU since also scoring 61 in the second half vs. North Carolina A&T on Nov. 12, 2011).
DOUBLING IT UP
EFFECTIVENESS FROM THE FIELD
Against Rice, Becca Mills became the fourth Spartan to score at least 20 points in a game. MSU and Ohio State are the only two teams in the Big Ten to have four different 20-point scorers this season.
RINGING THE BELL FOR THE LAST TIME
As a starter, Bell has helped Michigan State to a 38-14 record, while averaging 9.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 33.8 minutes.
Each season, Bell has seen progression in her stat lines, including averaging career highs of 10.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.6 blocks as a junior. Her points and rebounds led the team, while her blocks were second, and her assists and steals were third. Because of a shortened bench, Bell was relied upon to play extended minutes, ranking fourth on the MSU single-season list in minutes (1,196) and sixth in minutes per game (35.2). Her play earned her third-team All-Big Ten honors, and placed her on the coaches' preseason All-Big Ten team.
This season, Bell is fifth on the team with 9.1 points, but is second in and assists (3.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9), both top-15 in the Big Ten.
The Spartans' success last season was weighed heavily based upon Bell's play. In Michigan State's 25 wins, she averaged 12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and shot 45.1% from the field, while in the nine losses, she scored only 6.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and shot just 29.5%.
PICK AND POP
Pickrel has begun her senior season on a high note, building off her success last season. Through seven games, she leads the team with 6.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks, in addition to averaging 14.3 points (second on the team) and 2.7 assists (third on the team) in 31.7 minutes. Pickrel is shooting 53.6% from the field, 47.4% from the 3-point line (9-for-19) and 85.0% (17-for-20) from the free throw line. Among Big Ten players, Pickrel sixth in 3-point field goal percentage, eighth in field goal percentage, 12th in points, blocks and free throw percentage, and 15th in rebounds.
Pickrel is the only player in the Big Ten to rank among the top-15 in all three shooting percentage categories.
In the season opener at No. 6 Notre Dame, Pickrel posted her first career double-double (11 points and 12 rebounds), while also setting career highs with 12 rebounds and five assists, both team highs. With her stat line, Pickrel became the first Spartan since Kalisha Keane on Dec. 8, 2007 vs. Indiana State to tally at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a game.
Her greatest asset last season was her production from the 3-point line. Leading the team in both categories, Pickrel ranked ninth in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal percentage (36.7%) and 3-point field goals made per game (1.8) last season. Pickrel made a career-high 65 3-pointers, which is the seventh most in a Spartan single season. Entering that year, she was just 19-for-63 (30.2%) from the 3-point arc in her first two seasons at MSU.
Pickrel is currently 11th in Spartan history with 93 3-point field goals made, while ranking fourth with a career 35.9% 3-point field goal percentage.
TAKING CARE OF THE ROCK
She has led MSU in assists in the last four games, totaling 30 assists to only four turnovers. On Sunday, Johnson dished out a career-high 11 assists vs. IPFW. The total ties for the eighth-most in a single game, and was the most by a Spartan since Donita Johnson vs. Indiana on Feb. 5, 1999.
An honorable mention All-Big Ten choice last season, Johnson has also been effective scoring the ball, averaging 9.3 points as a sophomore, tying for third on the team. She led MSU in free throw percentage (81.6%) and was second in 3-point field goal percentage (33.0%). Defensively, Johnson led MSU with 1.9 steals last season, and currently is seventh on the MSU career steals list at 1.8.
HOLDING DOWN THE POST
Mills has opened the 2013-14 season with back-to-back double-figure scoring games, but struggled against Dayton and Detroit, before coming alive on Saturday vs. Rice. Mills tied her career high with 20 points, going 8-for-14 from the field. Over the last three games, Mills is averaging 14.0 points and 6.7 rebounds. For the season, she is fourth on the team with 10.7 points and third with 6.1 rebounds in 27.0 minutes.
At Temple, Jankoska gathered her first career double-double with team-highs of 19 points and 11 rebounds, a season high. She also went 10-for-12 from the free throw line, the most free throws made by a Spartan since Feb. 6, 2011 (Brittney Thomas vs. Purdue).
Against Dayton, Jankoska and redshirt freshman Aerial Powers each scored 24 points. It was the most points scored by a Spartan freshman since Kalisha Keane scored 24 points in the WNIT Championship game vs. Marquette on April 5, 2008.
Jankoska came to Michigan State with a laundry list of high school accolades, highlighted by being named a PARADE High School All-American, Michigan's Miss Basketball and Michigan's Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year. She shattered Freeland's career scoring record, totaling 2,333 points, while averaging 24.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.6 steals in her career. As a senior, she averaged 30.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 4.8 steals.
DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK(S)
Both players are expected to be major contributors this season, but Powers has been the first to make an immediate impact. She is third on the team with 13.3 points, which is 20th in the Big Ten, while also averaging a balanced line of 6.7 rebounds (second on the team and 18th in the conference), 2.4 assists and a team-best 2.3 steals (fifth in the Big Ten) in just 22.9 minutes. Powers is also sixth in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (55.1%). She is one of two freshmen in the Big Ten (along with Northwestern's Nia Coffey) to rank in the top-20 in both points and rebounds.
Powers had her best statistical output of the season on Sunday, posting her first career double-double with game-highs of 28 points and 14 rebounds. Her points were the most by a Spartan freshman since Nov. 29, 2006 and her rebounds were the most by a MSU freshman since Jan. 22, 2009.
Agee has been up-and-down so far this season. Against Detroit, she became the first Spartan freshman to post a double-double since Lykendra Johnson at Indiana on Feb. 12, 2009. Agee led MSU with 17 points and 11 rebounds, both career highs, in a career-high 23 minutes. For the season, Agee is averaging 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in only 12.9 minutes. She is also third on the team with a 52.8% field goal percentage.
BOUNCE BACK ABILITY
CLOSING IT OUT
In conference games, she is 69-33 (67.6%), ranking her 12th all-time in career winning percentage in Big Ten games and second among active coaches. During her Spartan career, her 69 conference wins are second to only Ohio State (71).
Last season was Suzy Merchant's sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament, posting a 5-6 record. She has guided the Spartans to the last five tournaments, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2009 and the second round in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Merchant ties Joanne P. McCallie for the most NCAA appearances as a MSU head coach (five). Over the last five NCAA Tournaments, her five wins are second among Big Ten schools (Purdue has six). Merchant also took Eastern Michigan to the tournament in 2004.
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