Dec. 13, 2007
TIPOFF - GAME 10
No. 21/21 MICHIGAN STATE (7-2) vs. No. 9/9 OKLAHOMA (6-2)
When: Sunday, Dec. 16 12 p.m.
Where: Breslin Center East Lansing, Mich..
TV: Big Ten Network (DirecTV Ch. 220; DISH Network Ch. 439)
Dan Gutowsky (Play-by-Play); Stephanie White (Analysis)
Radio: WVFN 730 AM and msuspartans.com (Rick Berkey: Play-by-Play)
Internet: Gametracker at msuspartans.com
"Bust the Bus" - bring an unwrapped toy and drop it off on Dean Transportation bus between gates B & C at the Breslin Center and receive a free ticket to the Minnesota game on Dec. 28.
Overall: MSU leads, 1-0
Last meeting: MSU 80, @ Oklahoma 60 (12/21/05)
MSU: Suzy Merchant (Central Michigan, 1991)
Overall: 208-122 (13th year)
At MSU: 7-2 (first year)
OU: Sherri Coale (Oklahoma Christian, 1987)
Overall: 238-130 (12th year)
At OU: same
SPARTANS RETURN HOME TO FACE NO. 9 OKLAHOMA THIS SUNDAY AT BRESLIN CENTER
After playing six of its last seven games on the road, No. 21 Michigan State (7-2) returns home this Sunday, Dec. 16 to face No. 9 Oklahoma at the Breslin Center at noon. The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.
The Spartans are coming off one of their most impressive performances of the season with a dominating 83-58 win at Indiana State last Saturday. The Sycamores (5-3) entered the game winning 35 of their last 40 games at home, including a win over No. 20 Vanderbilt earlier this season, but the Spartans limited ISU to 27 percent shooting in handing Indiana State its worst home loss in five years.
For the second straight week, sophomore center Allyssa DeHaan was named Big Ten Player of the Week following her performance at Indiana State. DeHaan nearly registered the third triple-double in school history with 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks, while also tying a career high with five assists. She was 9-for-17 from the field and 6-for-6 at the free-throw line.
A LOOK AT NO. 9 OKLAHOMA (6-2)
No. 9 Oklahoma enters Sunday's game riding a six-game winning streak after losing to No. 3 Maryland and No. 1 Tennessee to open the season. The Sooners, who also played in the Caribbean Challenge in Cancun, Mexico, began their winning streak with wins over No. 18 Arizona State and Mississippi State at the Moon Palace Resort. OU has also beaten North Texas, Arkansas State and Illinois. Oklahoma is coming off a 67-47 win at Tulsa last Saturday. The Sooners' schedule is currently ranked as the ninth-toughest in the nation.
Two-time All-American and preseason Player of the Year candidate Courtney Paris leads OU in scoring (17.8 ppg) and leads the nation in rebounding (16.0 rpg). The junior has recorded an NCAA record 69 consecutive double-doubles. In her first meeting against MSU as a freshman in 2005, Paris had 29 points and 21 rebounds in the Spartans' 80-60 victory. Her twin sister, Ashley, is second on the team with 13.1 ppg and 7.0 rpg. The Sooners' roster also features Carlee Roethlisberger, who is the younger sister of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and Abi Olajuwon, who is the daughter of NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon.
MSU ATHLETICS LOOKING TO "BUST THE BUS" ON SUNDAY
The MSU Athletics Department is looking to "Bust the Bus" on Sunday before for the women's basketball game vs. Oklahoma. Fans who bring a new unwrapped toy and drop it off on the Dean Transportation bus between gates B & C at the Breslin Center will receive one free general admission ticket to the Minnesota game on Dec. 28 at 2 p.m. The toys will be given to Toys for Tots.
TWICE AS NICE
For the second straight week, Allyssa DeHaan has been named the Big Ten Player of the Week. It marks the fourth time in her career she has earned the award and she becomes the first Spartan player to win the award back-to-back weeks since Liz Shimek (Dec. 5 & 12, 2005).
Led by DeHaan's near triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks, No. 23 Michigan State handed Indiana State its worst home loss in five years with a dominating 83-58 win Saturday, Dec. 8 before a crowd of 4,492 at the Hulman Center.
DeHaan, the nation's leading shot blocker, swatted eight shots against ISU, tying her own mark for the second-most blocks in a game in MSU history. DeHaan now has 193 career blocks, just one shy of MSU's all-time record (194 set by Kristen Rasmussen). The 6-9 sophomore center, who set the Spartan single-game record with nine blocked shots against Indiana on Dec. 28, 2006, has blocked eight or more shots on seven occasions in her career.
Not only was DeHaan 9-of-17 from the field and 6-for-6 at the line, she also tied her career high with five assists. As if the offensive effort wasn't enough, DeHaan limited Sycamore forward Laura Rudolphi, the team's second-leading scorer with nearly 15 points a game, to one point on 0-for-12 shooting.
ADD ME TO THE LIST
The State Farm Wade Trophy Committee decided unanimously to add Michigan State sophomore center Allyssa DeHaan to the 2007-2008 State Farm Wade Watch List, the committee announced Dec. 11. She joins the pool of 25 players selected during the preseason. DeHaan is one of just three sophomores on the list.
The committee elected to add DeHaan to the Wade Watch based on her on-court success early on in the season.
The renowned "Wade Watch" list for the State Farm Wade Trophy is comprised of student-athletes who are members of an NCAA Division I institution and are selected based on the following criteria: game and season statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability. The national awards committee who selects these candidates is comprised of leading basketball coaches, journalists and basketball administrators.
The last Spartan to be named to the Wade Watch List was Liz Shimek during the 2005-06 season.
MINNESOTA GAME TIME CHANGE: TIP WILL BE MOVED UP TO 2 P.M. ON FRIDAY, DEC. 28
With the Michigan State football team playing its first bowl game in four years on Friday, Dec. 28 at 5 p.m. vs. Boston College in the Champs Sports Bowl, the MSU Athletics Department has announced that the women's basketball game vs. Minnesota in the Breslin Center scheduled for 7 p.m. that same night has been moved up to 2 p.m.
QUICK LOOK AT THE SPARTANS
MSU returns two starters and seven letterwinners from last season's team that went 24-9 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. However, only one starter from last year is currently in the lineup (Allyssa DeHaan). MSU's starting lineup features three freshman, one sophomore and one senior. Out of MSU's 12 active players, nine are freshmen and sophomores.
Sophomore 6-9 center Allyssa DeHaan, who set a Big Ten record last season and finished second in the nation with 145 blocked shots, leads the country with 48 blocked shots (5.3 pg). A preseason All-Big Ten selection, she was named second-team All-Big Ten last season and was tabbed the Big Ten Freshman of the Year after averaging 12.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg. Through nine games, DeHaan leads the team in scoring (17.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.4 rpg). DeHaan is closing in on MSU's all-time blocks record - she has 193, just one shy of Kristen Rasmussen's record 194. DeHaan is on the Wade Trophy and Wooden Award Watch Lists for national player of the year.
The Spartans lost Aisha Jefferson to a season-ending knee injury in the second exhibition game against Lake Superior State. Jefferson, one of three captains named by Coach Merchant at the beginning of the season, was an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick last year after averaging 10.4 ppg and 5.6 rpg.
The other returning starter and tri-captain, junior guard Mia Johnson, tore her ACL during summer workouts and missed the first eight games of the season. Orginally not expected back until the start of Big Ten season, Johnson saw her first action of 2007-08 with two minutes at Indiana State (Dec. 8). Johnson averaged 8.3 ppg and 3.9 rpg last season, her first for the Green and White after transferring from Saint Louis University in 2005-06.
Sophomore center Lauren Aitch (8.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg), who received a medical redshirt last season due to a torn ACL, is back and healthy this season. Coming off the bench, she has scored in double figures four times this season, including a career-best 16-point performance vs. Clemson Nov. 29. The Spartans will rely on a heralded freshman class for minutes this season. The class, ranked among the top 20 in the nation, features point guard Brittney Thomas (5.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.8 apg) and forwards Kalisha Keane (13.6 ppg), Cetera Washington (5.1 ppg) and Taja Wilson (3.1 ppg). Thomas, Keane and Washington have started every game for the Spartans. Senior guard Courtney Davidson is having her most productive season as a Spartan. She is averaging career bests in points (8.7) and minutes (26.0). She is third in the Big Ten in 3-point field-goal percentage (.373) and fourth in 3-pointers made (18).
Senior tri-captain Alisa Wulff entered this season never starting a game while scoring 51 points and making nine 3-pointers in 32 career games for the Spartans. In her season year, she has started every game and has scored 30 points with eight 3-pointers, including a career-best 11 points vs. Northern Illinois Nov. 22.
YOUNG SPARTANS GETTING HELP FROM FRESHMEN CLASS
Michigan State features one of the youngest teams in the Big Ten, as the Spartans are the only team in the league to start three freshman (Kalisha Keane, Brittney Thomas, Cetera Washington) in every game this season. Overall, MSU's 12 active players consist of nine freshmen and sophomores.
MSU lost All-Big Ten guards Victoria Lucas-Perry (13.5 ppg) and Rene Haynes (10.4 ppg) to graduation and honorable mention All-Big Ten forward Aisha Jefferson (10.4 ppg) to a season-ending knee injury. Junior guard Mia Johnson (8.3 ppg) missed the first eight games of the season with a knee injury and is just starting to get back into the rotation.
Thus far, the freshmen have responded, accounting for 40 percent of MSU's points and 42 percent of the team's rebounds. Keane is second on the team and 10th in the Big Ten in scoring with 13.6 ppg; Thomas is second in the Big Ten in assists (4.8 pg); and Washington averages 5.1 ppg and 3.2 rpg. Off the bench, Taja Wilson is scoring 3.1 ppg in 9.3 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 VS. OKLAHOMA - MSU 80, OKLAHOMA 60
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - With Liz Shimek leading a balanced effort, Michigan State was able to overcome another big game by Oklahoma's freshman phenom. Shimek scored 25 points and had a season-high 14 rebounds to lead Michigan State (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today; No. 11 AP) to an 80-60 win over Oklahoma (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today; No. 17 AP) on Dec. 21, 2005.
In a meeting of dominant inside players, Shimek guided her team to victory by simply staying on the court. Michigan State built much of its lead while Courtney Paris, who entered the game seventh in the nation in scoring and second in rebounding, was on the bench.
Shimek scored 12 of her 18 first-half points when Paris wasn't on the floor, and the Spartans took a 34-20 lead at halftime.
Paris scored 23 of her 29 points in the second half, but it was not enough to lead the Sooners back from a 22-point deficit.
With Paris out of the game, the Spartans (8-2) scored the final 10 points of the first half, then continued pulling away with a 14-6 run after the break. Laura Hall hit back-to-back baskets, Shimek and Rene Haynes made 3-pointers and Victoria Lucas-Perry's layup pushed Michigan State's lead to 48-26.
LAST TIME OUT - MICHIGAN STATE 83, INDIANA STATE 58 - DEC. 8 - TERRE HAUTE, IND.
Led by Allyssa DeHaan's near triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks, No. 23 Michigan State handed Indiana State its worst home loss in five years with a dominating 83-58 win Saturday, Dec. 8 before a crowd of 4,492 at the Hulman Center. The Spartans had five players score in double-figures, including Kalisha Keane's career-best 20 points and 11 rebounds, marking her first career double-double. The Sycamores (5-3), who defeated No. 20 Vanderbilt at home earlier this season, entered the game winning 35 of their last 40 games at home.
The Spartans played one of their most efficient games of the season, outscoring the Sycamores 40-12 in the paint and dishing out 25 assists against a season-low seven turnovers. Courtney Davidson collected a career-high seven assists, while Keane had five. MSU, who leads the Big Ten in field-goal percentage, shot 49 percent from the field (33-of-67) and 90 percent (9-for-10) at the free-throw line.
DeHaan, the nation's leading shot blocker, swatted eight shots against ISU, tying her own mark for the second-most blocks in a game in MSU history. The 6-9 sophomore center, who set the Spartan single-game record with nine blocked shots against Indiana on Dec. 28, 2006, has blocked eight or more shots on seven occasions in her career. Not only was DeHaan 9-of-17 from the field and 6-for-6 at the line, she also tied her career high with five assists.
As if the offensive effort wasn't enough, DeHaan limited Sycamore forward Laura Rudolphi, the team's second-leading scorer with nearly 15 points a game, to one point on 0-for-12 shooting. MSU's defense held Indiana State to 28 percent shooting and halted the Sycamores' potent fast-break attack to just four points.
"We had some concerns going into the game," said MSU head coach Suzy Merchant. "They have a balanced offensive attack and can hurt you in many different ways. Taking them out of their transition game was big for us. We didn't want to allow them to have any easy looks. I really think Allyssa's length was causing problems for them down low.
"Offensively, in the second half we wanted to get the ball inside first, then go outside. We took too many quick outside shots in the first half. We definitely had more patience in the second half, and that opened up our outside shot."
Michigan State scored a season-high 47 points and hit eight of its season-high nine 3-pointers in the second half. The nine 3-pointers tied a season best; MSU also hit nine against Evansville on Nov. 11.
Keane took over in stretches of the second half, scoring 12 of her 20 points and going 5-for-6 from the field and 2-for-2 from 3-point range after the break.
The Spartans led most of the game and took a 36-29 advantage into halftime, but completely dominated second-half action and outscored the Sycamores in the final 20 minutes, 47-29. MSU led by as many as 28 points in the second half.
INDIANA STATE NOTES:
Sophomore guard Mandy Piechowski tied a career high with two 3-pointers and six points.
Junior guard Mia Johnson, wore tore the ACL in her right knee during summer workouts, saw her first action of the season. She played the final two minutes of the game, missing one 3-point shot and recording a foul.
MSU now leads the overall series against Indiana State, 4-0.
The last time Indiana State lost at home by more than 25 points came during the 2001-02 season against Creighton, a 76-49 loss to the Bluejays.
HOW ABOUT THAT DEFENSE
The Spartans are one of the stingiest defensive teams in the Big Ten, leading the league in blocked shots (6.3 pg) and field-goal percentage defense (33.8 percent). MSU also ranks among the league leaders in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (third; 27.1 percent) and scoring defense (third; 56.3 ppg).
MSU has held seven teams under 40-percent shooting, including five under 33 percent. The only teams to shoot over 40 percent were LSU and Old Dominion.