No. 25 Women's Basketball Visits Virginia Tech Saturday
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.
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH
AGAINST THE HOKIES
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)
QUICK HITTERS FROM WEDNESDAY (rv/rv FLORIDA STATE 60, rv/No. 25 MICHIGAN STATE 58)
DOUBLING IT UP
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.
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).
EFFECTIVENESS FROM THE FIELD
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.
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 38-15 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%.
PICK AND POP
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.
TAKING CARE OF THE ROCK
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.
HOLDING DOWN THE POST
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
BOUNCE BACK ABILITY
CLOSING IT OUT
The Spartans' 25 wins were the third-most in program history (2004-05 - 33 wins, 2010-11 - 27 wins).
ANOTHER STREAK EXTENDED
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%).
FIVE CONSECUTIVE INVITATIONS TO THE BIG DANCE
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 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.
CRASHING THE BOARDS
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.
MORE TIME, MORE SUCCESS
ON THIS DATE
at the official