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Women's Basketball
No. 25 Women's Basketball Visits Virginia Tech Saturday
Junior Jasmine Hines, who returned to the court for the first time this season on Wednesday, led MSU with 12 points against Virginia Tech last season.
Junior Jasmine Hines, who returned to the court for the first time this season on Wednesday, led MSU with 12 points against Virginia Tech last season.

Dec. 6, 2013

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The No. 25 Michigan State women's basketball team plays its second-straight ACC opponent on the road, traveling to Virginia Tech for a 2 p.m. tip on Saturday. The Spartans (5-3) have received a quick start to the season from senior Annalise Pickrel, who leads the team and is top-12 in the Big Ten in points (15.0) and rebounds (7.1), both career high averages.

rv/No. 25 Michigan State (5-3) at Virginia Tech (6-2)
 Date Saturday, Dec. 7
 Time 2 p.m. ET
 Location Blacksburg, Va. | Cassell Coliseum
 Internet Coverage Live Stats
 Radio WJIM 1240AM | Click Here to Listen
Keaton Gillogly - play-by-play
 Game Notes  Michigan State | Virginia Tech
 Statistics  Michigan State | Virginia Tech
 Social Media @MSU_wbasketball   |  Facebook

The Hokies are 6-2 on the season but have dropped two of their last three games, including Wednesday's 71-65 loss at Indiana in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Virginia Tech is led by Uju Ugoka's 18.5 points and 10.6 rebounds, as she recently scored 32 points against IU. The Hokies have been effective defensively, holding their opponents to 55.1 points, 31.4% shooting and 23.0% from 3-point. VT is also +12.6 on the glass this season.

Michigan State trails the all-time series against Virginia Tech, 2-1. The Spartans won 57-29 last season at Breslin Center (Nov. 18, 2012), after dropping the first two meetings in 1994 and 2000. Michigan State has never played in Blacksburg.

Today will also mark just the second trip to the state of Virginia for Michigan State. The Spartans played at Old Dominion on Dec. 2, 2007.

LAST MEETING (MSU 57, VIRGINIA TECH 29 - Nov. 18, 2012 - Breslin Center)
Recap | Box Score
- The game went back and forth early with four lead changes, but Michigan State closed the half on a 14-2 run over the final 4:36 to take a 30-16 lead into halftime. The Spartans grew their lead to as much as 30 with a 13-0 run over nearly a seven minute span late in the game.
- Jasmine Hines led the Spartans offensively with 12 points on 6-for-11 shooting in only 19 minutes. Jasmine Thomas, Klarissa Bell and Becca Mills each added 10 points in the win. Bell and Thomas each had game highs with five assists and three steals.
- MSU held Virginia Tech to 25.6% from the field and forced 21 turnovers.
- The 29 points by Virginia Tech were the second fewest points scored in Breslin Center history (27 - Michigan on Feb. 19, 2009).
- The 29 points allowed were the third fewest allowed by MSU in the 3-point era and ninth lowest all-time.
- It was the fewest points that Virginia Tech has scored in a game in its program's history (first season - 1976-77).
-The 13 second half points were the fewest allowed by MSU in a half since Northwestern scored 11 in the second half on March 4, 2011.
- Michigan State held a 30-10 advantage in points in the paint.

- MSU was led by 20 points from Annalise Pickrel, and 19 points and 10 rebounds from Aerial Powers.
- The Spartans held FSU to 17.2% (5-for-29) shooting in the first half, including 1-for-6 from behind the arc.
- The Spartans out-rebounded the Seminoles, 46-36, despite FSU entering the night with a +10.0 rebound margin for the season.
- Florida State (19-for-30) took 23 more free throws than MSU, making 14 more.
- Michigan State played without starting point guard, junior Kiana Johnson, who sat out in an infection.
- Powers had her second-straight double-double. She is the first Spartan since Courtney Schiffauer on Dec. 8 and 16 last season to record back-to-back double-doubles, and the first MSU freshman to do so since Lykendra Johnson on Feb. 8 and 12 in 2009.
- Pickrel led MSU in scoring for the first time this season, becoming the fifth different Spartan to do so in the first eight games.
- Pickrel went 8-for-14 from the field (a career high in field goals made), including 4-for-8 from behind the arc (a season-high), en route to her team-high 20 points. She also added nine rebounds and two blocks.
- Freshman Tori Jankoska made her first career start.
- Junior center Jasmine Hines made her season debut today after missing the first seven games with a concussion.
- MSU has five double-doubles on the season so far. All of last year, the Spartans only had four.
- MSU fell to 4-3 all-time in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Last Sunday vs. IPFW, redshirt freshman Aerial Powers became the fourth Spartan to post a double-double so far this season, including three freshmen. MSU is the only school in the Big Ten with four different players with a double-double. Also, it is the first time since 2006-07 that MSU has had four different players tally a double-double.

On Wednesday, Powers had her second-straight double-double, giving the Spartans five total on the season. All of last year, the Spartans only had four.

Early on in the 2013-14 season, the Spartans have been extremely efficient offensively and are looking like one of the best offensive teams during Coach Merchant's tenure at Michigan State. MSU is top-4 in the Big Ten in points (4th, 78.6), field goal percentage (3rd, 46.0%) and assists (3rd, 16.6).

On Wednesday, Michigan State had a streak of at least 70 points in six-straight games snapped. It was the longest stretch by the Spartans 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).

As a team, Michigan State is third in the Big Ten in field goal percentage at 46.0%, while individually, two Spartans are among the top-10 in the conference. Aerial Powers is sixth at 54.8%, while Annalise Pickrel is seventh at 54.2%. Branndais Agee would be in the top-12 at 51.2% but has not met the requirements.

Michigan State has already shot at least 50% from the field three times in the first eight games. All of last season, MSU shot over 50% on only five occasions.

20-20-20 VISION
In the overtime win over No. 23/21 Dayton, three Spartans posted at over 20 points - Tori Jankoska (24), Aerial Powers (24) and Annalise Pickrel (21). It was the first time since Feb. 8, 1998 that three MSU players reached 20 points in the same game.

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.

Patience and progression have been two common words to describe Klarissa Bell's playing career at Michigan State. Growing up in East Lansing and being named Michigan's Miss Basketball as a high school senior, she came to MSU with high expectations. However, through her first 48 games as a Spartan, she struggled to find a role and a spot on the floor. Bell averaged just 2.2 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 10.2 minutes during that time. However, Merchant inserted her into the starting lineup on Jan. 29, 2012 vs. Penn State and she has started every game since.

As a starter, Bell has helped Michigan State to a 38-15 record, while averaging 9.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 33.9 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 8.9 points, but is second in and assists (3.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5), and fourth in both rebounds (5.0) and steals (1.4).

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%.

Senior Annalise Pickrel made a huge breakthrough last year in her junior season. After averaging 3.3 and 2.5 points in her first two seasons, Pickrel increased her scoring output to 9.3 points per game, which tied for third on the team. Her +6.8 point increase ranked third in the Big Ten last season.

Pickrel has begun her senior season on a high note, building off her success last season. Through eight games, she leads the team with 15.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks, in addition to averaging 2.4 assists (third on the team) in 32.8 minutes. Pickrel is shooting 54.2% from the field, 48.1% from the 3-point line (13-for-27) and 85.0% (17-for-20) from the free throw line. Among Big Ten players, Pickrel fourth in 3-point field goal percentage, seventh in field goal percentage, 11th in points, blocks and free throw percentage, 12th in rebounds and offensive rebounds, and 14th in 3-pointers per game.

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 97 3-point field goals made, while ranking fourth with a career 36.3% 3-point field goal percentage.

Junior Kiana Johnson has orchestrated the Spartan offense through her first three seasons in green and white. Johnson has led MSU in assists in each of her first two seasons, and ranks fifth on the Spartan career list with 4.3 assists per game. She has been equally careful with the ball, posting a career assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.95 (273:140), which is second in the MSU record books. So far in 2013-14, Johnson is third in the Big Ten, 33rd in the nation and leads the team with 5.7 assists per game, and leads the conference and is sixth in the country with a 4.44 assist-to-turnover ratio.

She has led MSU in assists in her last four games, totaling 30 assists to only four turnovers. Last 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. Johnson missed the Spartans' last game at Florida State, a game in which MSU had 25 turnovers.

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.

Early in the 2013-14 season, junior Becca Mills is going to be asked to fill a lot of minutes in the post due to some early season injuries. Head coach Suzy Merchant has praised Mills' offseason work ethic and early season effort. In her first two seasons, Mills has totaled 552 points (8.2 points per game), so she is accustomed to shouldering the expectations.

Mills has been up-and-down so far this season, having gone two games in double-figures, two games below, two games in double-figures and two games below over the first eight games. For the season, she is fourth on the team with 9.4 points and third with 6.0 rebounds in 26.9 minutes.

Freshman Tori Jankoska has made a quick impression on the 2013-14 Spartan season. She came off the bench for the first seven games, before entering the starting lineup on Wednesday for the injuried Kiana Johnson. Jankoska is third on the team and 17th in the Big Ten with 13.8 points, having scored in double-figures in six of the eight games. Jankoska was the first Spartan freshman ever to begin her MSU career with four-straight double-figure scoring games.

Jankoska has been a tremendous threat from behind the arc, ranking seventh in the Big Ten in 3-pointers per game (2.0), while shooting 30.8%. She has also been effective from the free throw line, ranking second on the team and 13th in the conference with an 82.8% clip.

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.

Redshirt freshmen Branndais Agee and Aerial Powers return from season-ending injuries. Agee, a high school All-American, played in only five games last season, averaging 2.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 13.2 minutes, before tearing her right ACL. Powers, who was a top-100 recruit and a two-time Michigan AP Class B Player of the Year, missed the entire season after tearing the Achilles tendon in her left ankle during preseason practice.

Both players are expected to be major contributors this season, but Powers has been the first to make an immediate impact. She is second on the team with 14.0 points, which is 16th in the Big Ten, and is tied for the team lead with 7.1 rebounds, which is 12th in the conference, and leads with 2.4 steals, which is fourth. She is also is averaging 2.3 assists in just 24.3 minutes. Powers is also sixth in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (54.8%). 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 last Sunday vs. IPFW, 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. Powers followed it up with another double-double on Wednesday at Florida State with 19 points and 10 rebounds. She became the first Spartan since Courtney Schiffauer on Dec. 8 and 16 last season to record back-to-back double-doubles, and the first MSU freshman to do so since Lykendra Johnson on Feb. 8 and 12 in 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 4.3 rebounds in only 13.1 minutes. She is also third on the team with a 51.2% field goal percentage.

Junior Jasmine Hines came to East Lansing as Michigan's high school career points and rebounds record holder, but her minutes have been limited over her first two seasons at Michigan State. However in those minutes, her production has been effective, averaging 6.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in only 14.2 minutes. Hines has led MSU in field goal percentage in each of her first two seasons.

Hines returned to the lineup for the first time this season on Wednesday at Florida State, after missing the first seven games due to a concussion.

In Coach Merchant's seven seasons, the Spartans are 47-15 (75.8%) following a loss.

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. When the Spartans have scored at least 70 points, their record is 62-5 (92.5%), but on Sunday had a 44-game winning streak snapped when reaching that number. Also, when they hold opponents to 60 points or less, their record is 112-11 (91.1%).

The Spartans have been extremely effective closing out games over the last couple years, winning 85 of their last 86 games (98.8%) when leading with five minutes left, including winning 36 games in a row. In Coach Merchant's tenure, Michigan State is 127-5 (96.2%) when holding a lead with five minutes left.

Last season, Michigan State went 25-9 marking the 10th-straight season that the Spartans have won at least 20 games. The streak is the longest active streak in the Big Ten (Penn State is second with three-in-a-row). Entering this season, MSU is one of 11 teams in the nation to have won at least 20 games in each of the last 10 seasons - Baylor, Bowling Green, Connecticut, Duke, Green Bay, Marist, Middle Tennessee State, Stanford, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

The Spartans' 25 wins were the third-most in program history (2004-05 - 33 wins, 2010-11 - 27 wins).

The Spartans finished the Big Ten season at 10-6 and in a tie for third place last season. Michigan State has now won at least 10 Big Ten games in 11-straight seasons. It is the longest active streak in the Big Ten (with Penn State second at three). MSU is 127-55 (69.8%) in conference play over the last 11 seasons, trailing only Ohio State (136-46; 74.7%) in wins.

The Spartans have now finished third or better in the conference in each of the last five seasons - winning the title in 2010-11, and placing second in 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2011-12. In all, MSU has finished no worse than third place in eight of the last nine years.

During Coach Merchant's tenure, Michigan State has a 69-33 (67.6%) Big Ten record. The win total is second in the conference over that span (Ohio State-71), while her winning percentage is 12th-best in the 32-year history of the Big Ten Conference. More recently, MSU has won 44 of its last 59 Big Ten regular season games (74.6%).

Michigan State made its fifth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012-13, and its 10th in the last 11 years. Overall, the Spartans qualified for their 12th straight postseason. The five appearances in a row tie the longest stretch in program history. MSU has won at least one game in eight of its last nine NCAA Tournament trips.

MSU is one of 19 schools in the country (and one of only two in the Big Ten) to make the NCAA Tournament the last five seasons - Baylor, Connecticut, DePaul, Duke, Fresno State, Georgia, Gonzaga, Green Bay, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State, Middle Tennessee, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, South Dakota State, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt.

In Coach Merchant's first six-plus seasons at MSU, the Spartans have gone 145-65 (69.0%). Her winning percentage is the 10th-best all-time among Big Ten coaches, and second among active conference coaches. Entering the year, her 140 wins were the fourth-most by a Big Ten coach in their first six seasons. During her span, the 145 wins are second among Big Ten schools, trailing only Ohio State (154). Merchant has won at least 20 games in nine-straight seasons, not including the shortened 2006-07 season due to her maternity leave. In her career, she has 10 20-win seasons.

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.

Michigan State led the Big Ten in rebounds margin for the third-straight season, and for the fourth time in the last five years, last season. The Spartans have been top-40 in the country in rebound margin each of the last six seasons, getting as low as ninth nationally in 2010-11.

MSU has out-rebounded 82 of its last 99 opponents (82.8%). After getting out-rebounded by 23 in its opener at Notre Dame, Michigan State has a +10.6 rebound margin in its last seven games.

The Spartans led the Big Ten in conference games last season with a +6.3 margin. MSU has led the league in three of the last five seasons in conference games only.

Michigan State is 18-2 in overtime games over the last 11 seasons in overtime games. The Spartans had won 15 straight before a loss to Illinois on Jan. 26, 2012.

Michigan State is 2-2 all-time on Dec. 7, but hasn't played on this date since 2005.




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