Spartans End Four-Game Road Trip at Xavier on Sunday
MSU returns to action after a week off of competition.
Dec. 12, 2008
(rv/-) Michigan State Spartans (6-3)
(rv/rv) Xavier Musketeers (7-3)
Date: Sunday, Dec. 14
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Arena: Cintas Center
Radio: WVFN 730 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play)
Internet: Live Stats and Audio at www.msuspartans.com
Statistically Savvy (NCAA Edition)
Entering the week, the Spartans were among the nation's top-50 in nine major statistical categories, including being in the top 25 in six. MSU was 10th in field goal percentage defense (32.3%), 11th in both rebound margin (+12.2) and blocked shots (6.2), 19th in scoring margin (+19.0), 20th in both field goal percentage (46.3%) and 3-point field goal defense (25.0%), and 21st in assists (17.0). In addition, the Spartans are 37th in scoring offense (74.4) and 41st in scoring defense (55.4).
Individually, junior Allyssa DeHaan is ninth in the country in blocked shots with 3.1 per game.
Statistically Savvy (Big Ten Edition)
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in almost every statistical category. The Spartans are first in scoring margin (+19.0), field goal percentage (46.3%), field goal percentage defense (32.3%), rebounds (45.4), rebounds allowed (33.2), rebound margin (+12.2), offensive rebounds (15.78), defensive rebounds (29.67), assists (17.00), blocks (6.22) and 3-pt. fg defense (25.0%). They are also second in scoring offense (74.4) and scoring defense (55.4), third in turnovers forced (20.4) and fourth in steals (9.56).
Junior Allyssa DeHaan is first in the Big Ten in blocks with 3.11. The Spartans have four in the top-15 in field goal percentage, not including freshman Courtney Schiffauer, who would lead the league if she met the minimum. Redshirt junior Lauren Aitch is seventh at 51.9%, followed by classmate Aisha Jefferson in 10th (50.5%), sophomore Kalisha Keane in 14th (48.1%) and junior Allyssa DeHaan in 15th (48.0%). Jefferson is also ninth in the conference in scoring at 14.4 points per game, while Keane is tied for sixth with 2.22 steals per game and Aitch is 10th in free throw percentage at 77.1%. From behind the arc, junior Mandy Piechowski is third with a 50.0% clip, followed by redshirt junior Mia Johnson in seventh at 41.4%. Johnson also is tied for eighth in the Big Ten in 3-point field goals made (1.5 per game).
On this Date
Michigan State is 4-0 all-time on December 14. The Spartans have not played on this date since 1997 when they beat Central Michigan 89-82. They also have wins in 1996 over Illinois State (66-64), in 1986 over Detroit (77-69) and in 1979 over San Diego State (58-42).
One Woman Show
Redshirt junior Aisha Jefferson had one of the most dominant single-game performances in Michigan State history last Saturday, posting a career-high 34 points and 11 rebounds at No. 14/10 Notre Dame. Jefferson's 34 points ties for the third most in a MSU single game and was the third most ever scored against Notre Dame. It was the most points scored by a Spartan since Maxann Reese scored a program record 41 points against Iowa on Jan, 29, 1999. Jefferson, who broke her previous career high of 20 in the first half, is also now fourth on the single-game list in field goals made (14) and attempted (28). It was Jefferson's fifth career double-double and her first since Feb. 11, 2007.
Jefferson leads the team and is ninth in the Big Ten, averaging 14.4 points per game. She has led the Spartans in scoring in a team-best four games.
Sophomore Brittney Thomas returned to the rotation in the game against Detroit (Nov. 19), after missing the first two games with a broken right hand. Since she has been back, her impact on the floor has been noticeable. With Thomas on the court, the Spartans have outscored their opponents by 78 points (349-271), but when she is sitting, MSU have been outscored by four points (132-136).
Holding Down the Opposition (First Half Edition)
The Spartans have been especially stingy in the first half of each game this season. The eight opponents have combined for only 212 points (23.5 per game).
MSU allowed only 13 points in the first half to Detroit on Nov. 19. It was the second fewest points allowed in a half in school history. The Spartans held Indiana to 12 points on Jan. 16, 2003. MSU also allowed 13 points in the second half of last season's opener against IUPUI.
DeHaan Reaches Milestone...
Junior Allyssa DeHaan became the program's 19th 1,000-point scorer with a basket with 14:48 left in the second half against Quinnipiac. DeHaan has moved into 18th on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,023 points. She also was the fifth fastest to the milestone, needing only 75 games (Mary Kay Itnyre - 65 games, Kris Emerson - 72, Lindsay Bowen - 73, Kisha Kelley - 74).
...And Approaches Another
Already the school's all-time block leader, DeHaan is only 61 blocks shy of the Big Ten career mark. She is currently third all-time with 323, trailing only Ohio State's Jessica Davenport (384) and Michigan's Trish Andrew (367). With her four blocks against Stony Brook (Nov. 16), she became the fastest in conference history to reach the 300-block plateau, needing only 72 games. Nationally, DeHaan is 157 blocks shy of the NCAA record.
The Spartans currently have a RPI of 66 according to CollegeRPI.com, with the Big Ten Conference ranking fifth in the nation as a whole. MSU is sixth in the conference, trailing Ohio State (4), Wisconsin (10), Michigan (25), Iowa (30), and Minnesota (34). Michigan State's strength of schedule is 77th.
Xavier enters the weekend at 7-3 overall, and are receiving votes in both national polls after beginning the season ranked in both. The Musketeers are 5-1 at home this season, with their lone loss coming against No. 12/13 Louisville. They had a five-game winning streak snapped last Sunday with a 65-55 loss at Cincinnati.
Like the Spartans, Xavier has been dominant defensively and on the boards this season. The Musketeers are seventh in the nation in field goal percentage defense (31.6%) and are 22nd in both points allowed (53.1) and rebounding margin (+9.2). They have also only turned the ball over 14.9 times per game and have hit 6.2 3-pointers per contest.
Sophomore Ta'Shia Phillips, a 6-6 center, has been main weapon for the Musketeers. Phillips leads the team in points (14.2), rebounds (11.3), blocks (1.8) and field goal percentage (64.0%). She is fourth in the nation in field goal percentage and 12th in rebounding. Phillips is the only Xavier player in double-figure points, but six players average at least 6.5 points.
Against the Musketeers
Michigan State and Xavier have never faced each other. However, the Spartans are 11-4 against Atlantic 10 teams, despite a 63-52 loss to St. Bonaventure last time out. Also, Michigan State is 2-0 when playing in the city of Cincinnati, having won at the University of Cincinnati on March 10, 1977 (96-61) and Dec, 4, 2004 (77-61).