MSU Concludes Non-Conference Home Schedule with Quinnipiac Monday
The Spartans take on the Bobcats at 9 p.m. as part of a doubleheader
|Michigan State (7-3, 0-0 B1G) vs. Quinnipiac (5-4, 0-0 MAAC)|
|Date||Monday, Dec. 18|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Location||East Lansing, Mich. | Breslin Center | Bag Policy|
|Tickets||Click To Purchase|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network | WJIM-AM 1240|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Quinnipiac|
|Statistics||Michigan State | Quinnipiac|
|Promotions||Doubleheader with MSU Basketball|
|Social Media||@MSU_WBasketball | Facebook | Instagram|
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State returns to the Breslin Center for its final home non-conference game of the season, taking on Quinnipiac on Monday, Dec. 18 at 9 p.m. The game is the second half of a doubleheader with the Spartans men’s basketball team. This is the fourth of five doubleheaders this season for MSU. Michigan State will then conclude the non-conference season at the New Orleans Shootout against No. 22/20 South Florida and Mississippi Valley State, Dec. 21-22.
• Against ETSU, three Spartans scored in double figures - freshman forward Sidney Cooks (16), junior forward Jenna Allen (16) and sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon (12), who earned her second career double-double with 12 points and 10 assists. She has had three double-digit assist games this year.
• Michigan State has been solid at home this season, already sporting a 5-0 record. The Spartans are out-scoring their opponents 89.8-52.8 at the friendly confines of the Breslin Center. Four different Spartans have been averaging in double figures at home. Freshman forward Sidney Cooks leads the way with 13.8 points per game, while senior forward Taya Reimer has scored 13.5 ppg. Senior guard Branndais Agee (12.8 ppg) and redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley (12.0 ppg) both score in double figures.
• Against East Tennessee State on Dec. 16, Michigan State set a new school record with 15 blocks. The previous record was 13 against Indiana on Dec. 28, 2006.
• The fourth quarter has been a productive one fore MSU, out-scoring its opponents 219-149 in the final 10 minutes of every game.
RISING THE CHARTS
Junior forward Jenna Allen has increased her scoring every season that she has been at Michigan State. This season, she is third in scoring, averaging 10.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. As a freshman, Allen scored 4.5 points in 34 games as a rookie. During her sophomore campaign, she averaged 6.9 ppg in an injury-plagued season.
Against East Tennessee State on Dec. 16, Michigan State set a new school record with 15 blocks. The previous record was 13 against Indiana on Dec. 28, 2006. Senior forward Taya Reimer and senior guard Branndais Agee added four blocks each, while freshman forward Sidney Cooks and sophomore forward Victoria Gaines swatted two apiece. Michigan State’s previous high this season was seven blocks against Oakland on Nov. 13.
LIKE THIEVES IN THE NIGHT
Michigan State has already had seven games this season with double-digit steals, including a season-high 15 against both College of Charleston and Detroit Mercy. Last season, the Spartans had only three games with double-digit steals. During 2016-17, MSU’s season-high in steals was 12 against Wyoming on Nov. 13 and Quinnipiac on Dec. 6.
Michigan State leads the overall series with Quinnipiac, 2-0. The Spartans traveled to the Bobcats last season, earning a 71-54 win. In that game, Tori Jankoska led MSU with a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds. The other meeting between the teams took place in Burlington, Vermont with the Spartans stopping the Bobcats, 81-48, in 2009.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS
Quinnipiac was last in action on December 9 when the Bobcats had their five-game win streak snapped with a home loss to Princeton, 60-46. It was only the fourth home loss the Bobcats have suffered in the three-plus seasons since the beginning of the 2014-15 season with one of the others coming last year to Michigan State, 71-54. Quinnipiac is coming off a Sweet 16 run in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
The Bobcats are facing their third Big Ten team of the season with a pair of road losses to Iowa and Ohio State. QU lost to No. 25/25 Iowa on Nov. 10, 83-67, while the Bobcats fell to No. 13/13 Ohio State, 95-63 on Nov. 17. Quinnipiac is 3-1 at home this season with wins over Northern Colorado, Dayton and Providence. Overall, the Bobcats average 62.9 points per game, while allowing only 64.2 ppg. QU averages 36.7 rebounds per game, while its opponents bring down 40.9 rpg.
Sarah Shewan leads the Bobcats in scoring averaging 13.3 ppg. Aryn McClure is second in scoring with 10.9 ppg. Last year against the Spartans, McClure led Quinnipiac in scoring with 12 points in the loss. Jen Fay is the top rebounder for the Bobcats, bringing down 8.6 boards per game.
REACHING A MILESTONE
Senior forward Taya Reimer reached a milestone, passing the 1,000-career point plateau against UConn on Nov. 25. Between her two seasons at Notre Dame and her two at Michigan State, she now has 1,047 career points. She is currently third in scoring for the Spartans, averaging 9.5 points per game.
HITTING THEIR SHOTS
In the thrilling overtime win over East Tennessee State on Dec. 16, Michigan State had its best first-half shooting performance of the season (.560). The Spartans continued to shoot well in the second half, shooting .500 from the field. Overall, it was the best shooting performance of the season (.537).
Michigan State played its first overtime game of the season with an 83-74 road win over East Tennessee State on Dec. 16. Last season, the Spartans were 1-2 in overtime games with at home against Western Michigan and road losses to Iowa and Nebraska. Overall, MSU is 33-20 in overtime games.
TAKING ON THE BEST
In the first nine games of the season, the Spartans have taken on both the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country. MSU has already faced top-ranked UConn and took on No. 2 Notre Dame on Dec. 6. Last season, Michigan State faced both No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Maryland in one season. The Spartans have never faced the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country in the same season.
The Spartan bench has been very strong this season. Michigan State is 7-2 when the Spartan bench out-scores its opponent. MSU’s bench has out-scored the opposition, 350-214. The reserves account for 43.4 percent of the Spartan offense, compared to 32.9 percent. Junior Jenna Allen scored 28 points off the bench against No. 2 Notre Dame on Dec. 6.
STINGY AT HOME
Against Rhode Island on Dec. 9, the 18 first-half points were the fewest allowed this season by the Spartans. MSU allowed only 22 points against Robert Morris and 27 against College of Charleston. The Spartans held the Rams to just 38 points, the lowest allowed for an opponent this season. The three fourth-quarter points were fewest ever in a quarter.
Michigan State has been dominating in the fourth quarter at home, out-scoring its opponents, 113-50 in the final 10 minutes. Overall at home, MSU has scored 449 points, while allowing only 264. The visiting teams are shooting only .342 from the field at the Breslin Center and .327 from beyond the arc.
MCCUTCHEON DISHES IT OUT
Michigan State has two players in the top 12 in the league in assists. Sophomore Taryn McCutcheon is second with 5.9 assists per game. Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell leads the league with 6.0 apg. She tied a career high with 12 against Notre Dame on Dec. 6 and added 10 assists in overtime against ETSU on Dec. 16. MSU is second in the league assists, averaging 19.4 apg. Iowa is first in the conference in assists with 24.0 apg.
AROUND THE NATION
The Spartans are 17th in the nation in rebounds per game (45.3), while also standing eighth in offensive rebounds per game (17.0). MSU is also 16th in assists per game (19.4) and 32nd in steals per game (11.5).
Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee became the 26th MSU women’s basketball player to reach 1,000 points with 10 points against No. 1 UConn on Nov. 25. Agee started the week by scoring a season-high 17 points in her hometown against Detroit, bringing her career point total to 991 and going over 1,000 against UConn. She now has 1,026 career points in the Green and White. Agee is averaging 10.0 points through the first 10 games of the season, which is second on the team. Tori Jankoska was the last Spartan to reach 1,000 points doing so on Nov. 27, 2015.
CLOSING IT OUT
The Spartans have been extremely effective closing out games over the last couple years, winning 164 of their last 170 games (.965) when leading with five minutes left, including 115 of their last 122. In Coach Merchant’s tenure, Michigan State is 199-11 (.948) when holding a lead with five minutes left. This season, the Spartans are 7-0.
FANS CONTINUE TO PACK THE BRESLIN
Michigan State women’s basketball continues to pack the Breslin Center, finishing the 2016-17 season ninth in the nation and first in the Big Ten home attendance. The Spartans averaged 6,011 fans in 14 home games this season. MSU had a total of 84,152 fans pass through the gates. This is the 13th-straight season that the Spartans have been ranked in the top 15 nationally in attendance. MSU has had a total attendance of at least 80,000 since 2005-06.
This season, Michigan State is 14th in attendance, averaging 5,176 fans per game. They are fourth in the Big Ten behind Purdue (5,689), Ohio State (5,589) and Maryland (5,249).
AGEE NAMED TO WATCH LIST
Michigan State redshirt-senior Branndais Agee was named to the watch list for the inaugural Cheryl Miller Award, which will be awarded to the top small forward women’s basketball; it was announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
She is one of five players from the Big Ten to be named to the watch list along with Indiana’s Amanda Cahill, Maryland’s Brianna Fraser, Ohio State’s Stephanie Mavunga and Wisconsin’s Cayla McMorris. Agee has already garnered preseason All-Big Ten honors by the coaches. Last season, Agee earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors along with fellow senior Taya Reimer and sophomore Taryn McCutcheon. During the 2016-17 season, Agee was second on the team in scoring and rebounding with 10.0 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
The Spartans improved to 171-96 (.640) all-time in the month of December. Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is 54-26 (.675) in the 12th month of the calendar year. The Spartans have won 26 of their last 39 games in December.
LOOK WHO’S BACK
Despite losing Michigan State all-leading scorer Tori Jankoska, the Spartans have many pieces from last year’s team returning, including starters Branndais Agee, Taya Reimer, Taryn McCutcheon and Victoria Gaines. Over 66 percent of the Spartan offense is back, including four of the top five scorers.
LAST TIME OUT
Michigan State women’s basketball outscored East Tennessee State, 17-8, in overtime to grind out a 83-74 road win over the Buccaneers Saturday night in Johnson City, Tenn. The Spartans used a school record 15 blocks to help seal the hard-fought road win.
MSU’s previous school record was 13 blocks against Indiana on Dec. 28, 2006.
Michigan State has now won two-straight games, improving to 7-3, while ETSU falls to 6-7 this season.
Freshman forward Sidney Cooks and junior forward Jenna Allen both scored 16 points in the victory, while sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon earned her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 assists. Senior forward Taya Reimer and senior guard Branndais Agee added four blocks each, while Cooks and sophomore forward Victoria Gaines swatted two apiece.
The Spartans welcome to their staff three former Michigan State players. Former Big Ten Player of the Year Kalisha Keane and All-Big Ten honorees Jasmine Hines and Annalise Pickrel are all graduate assistants with the Spartans this season.
All-time, the Spartans are now 31-15 in season openers, but 23-2 when the opener is in East Lansing. Coach Merchant is 8-3 in season openers at MSU, and has won 14 of her last 17, including her time at Eastern Michigan.
The game against the Bobcats is the final non-conference home game for Michigan State this season. The Spartans then hit the road for the New Orleans Shootout hosted by Xavier University. MSU will take on No. 22/2o South Florida on Dec. 21 and Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 22 before taking a break for the Holidays.
The Michigan State Athletics Department officially opened the Gilbert Pavilion and the Tom Izzo Hall of History on Friday afternoon in a ceremony at the Breslin Center.
The project was funded by private donations, including large contributions from Dan & Jennifer Gilbert and from Bob & Julie Skandalaris, with the gifts designated to the Breslin Center addition.
The addition features the Tom Izzo Hall of History, the Draymond Green Strength and Conditioning Center, a new ticket box office, a championship display, a recruiting lounge, alumni locker room and interactive areas that enhance the fan experience for the more than 500,000 people attending events each year.
The Spartans welcome two freshmen this season in forward Sidney Cooks and guard Claire Hendrickson. Cooks is a McDonald’s All-American from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Hendrickson, a native of Wyoming, Michigan, will miss the 2017-18 season after tearing her ACL in the first practice of the season. After sitting out last season after transferring from South Carolina, the redshirt-sophomore Shay Colley is able to take the court this season with the Spartans. She earned a gold medal this summer with the Canadian National Team at the FIBA Americas Women’s Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
AGAINST IN-STATE SCHOOLS
Michigan State has had great success against other collegiate programs in the state of Michigan over the past 13 seasons. Since the beginning of the 2002-03 season, the Spartans are 54-4 (.931) against in-state rivals, including a 39-4 (.907) mark under Coach Merchant. All-time, Michigan State is 187-59 (.760) against other Michigan schools.
AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is 27-48 against ranked teams, including 18-14 at home, 6-19 on the road and 3-15 on a neutral court. As a ranked team against fellow ranked team, MSU is 15-22 versus ranked teams. This season, MSU is 0-2 against ranked teams with a loss to No. 1 UConn, 96-62 and a defeat against Notre Dame, 90-59.
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. Overall, MSU has scored at least 70 points five times overall this season. MSU has won 112 of its last 122 games when scoring at least 70 points, and MSU is 129-17 under head coach Suzy Merchant when hanging at least 70 points on the scoreboard. This year, MSU is 6-0 when scoring at least 70.
BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE
Michigan State played in the 11th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge, falling to Miami, 67-57. The ACC captured this year’s Challenge title by a 10-4 count. Last season, Maryland, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue registered wins for the Big Ten. Michigan State lost to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome last season, 75-64. Overall, MSU is 5-6 in the Challenge.
In 2014, Michigan State came-from-behind to capture a 79-73 overtime win against Georgia Tech on Dec. 4. In 2015, Louisville came out fast and despite a second-half comeback by MSU, the Cardinals captured the win, 85-78. Last season, the Spartans traveled to No. 21 Syracuse, falling to the Orange in the Carrier Dome, 75-64.
This week’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge may have proved to be one of the most competitive in the series’ 11-year history, with 10 of the 14 games decided by 10 points or fewer, including four games decided by one point. What’s more, in eight of the 14 Challenge games, Big Ten schools either led or were tied in the fourth quarter.
B1G/ACC Challenge History
2017 - Miami 67, MSU 57
2016 - Syracuse 75, MSU 64
2015 - Louisville 85, MSU 78
2014 - MSU 79, Georgia Tech 73 (OT)
2013 - Florida State 60, MSU 58
2012 - MSU 68, N.C. State 51
2011 - Miami 76, MSU 60
2010 - MSU 72, Florida State 64
2009 - MSU 72, North Carolina 66
2008 - Georgia Tech 57, MSU 50
2007 - MSU 68, Clemson 51
Bold = home games
PK80 INVITATIONAL RECAP
Michigan State celebrated Thanksgiving weekend at the PK80 Invitational in honor of Phil Knight’s 80th birthday. The Spartans attended a Nike event before watching the MSU men’s team take on DePaul on Thanksgiving day. Michigan State fell to No. 1 UConn, 96-62, on Saturday, Nov. 25 in Eugene at Matthew Knight Arena. In the other game, Oregon defeated Oklahoma.
AGEE EARNS PRESEASON HONOR
The Big Ten Conference released the Preseason Coaches and Media Polls, in addition to the 10-member preseason All-Big Ten team on Monday. Michigan State redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee was named to the Preseason All-Big Ten team by the coaches. Reigning Big Ten co-champion Ohio State, which was the No. 1 pick in both the coaches and the media poll. Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell was named Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year in both polls.
MEET THE 2018-19 SIGNEES
Michigan State women’s basketball head coach Suzy Merchant announced the signing of three National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, including Nia Clouden (Owing Mills, Maryland/St. Frances), Tory Ozment (Buford, Georgia/Buford) and Kayla Belles (Ithaca, Michigan/Ithaca).
Clouden is a 5-8 point guard who plays for head coach Jerome Shelton at St. Frances Academy. She is currently ranked No. 43 overall and No. 13 at her position by ESPN HoopGurlz. Last March, Clouden was named Maryland Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year, becoming the third Baltimore-area player to win the award in 11 years. She was also the USA Today Maryland Player of the Year last season. She is a two-time captain, who averaged 14.2 points and 4.7 assists per game as a junior. Last season, the Panthers captured their second-straight IAAM Championship. St. Frances also advanced to the semifinals of the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals, falling in overtime. Clouden has also earned first-team Baltimore Sun honor in both 2016 and 2017.
Ozment is a 6-1 guard/forward who plays for head coach Gene Durden at Buford High School. Durden has captured five state championships during time at Buford. She is currently ranked No. 14 at her position by ESPN HoopGurlz. Last season, Ozment was named the AAAAA State Player of the Year as well as being named to the Georgia Athletic Coaches Associations All-State squad. Ozment earned Atlanta Tipoff Club and Atlanta Journal Constitution All-Metro team. Last season, she averaged 13.4 points and 3.8 assists per game, leading Buford on a run to the Class AAAAA State Championship. As a sophomore, she guided Buford to the AAAA Final Four, averaging 11.1 points and 3.5 assists per game.
Belles is a 6-3 forward who plays for head coach Ty Warczinksy at Ithaca High School. As a junior, Belles averaged 19.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, 3.4 blocked shots and 2.6 steals per game, earning Associated Press Class B all-state honors. She led the Yellowjackets to three-straight Tri-Valley Conference West Division titles, which included a run to the Class C Final Four during her sophomore campaign. She garnered first-team all-state honors three-straight seasons, averaging a double-double the last two seasons. She is a multi-sport athlete, who earned all-state honors in both basketball and volleyball. Belles will miss her senior year of high school after tearing her ACL over the summer.
Highlighting the Spartans’ ledger this season is 15 home games, including seven non-conference contests as well as eight Big Ten Conference match-ups.
Another focal showpiece of MSU’s 2017-18 schedule is playing in the inaugural PK80 Invitational to celebrate Phil Knight’s 80th birthday, where Michigan State will take on UConn at Matthew Knight Arena, hosted by the University of Oregon. The Michigan State men’s team will also be playing in the PK80 Invitational, with the men’s action being held in Portland.
Once again, the Big Ten will have a 16-game women’s basketball conference schedule format this season after all 14 teams played 18 games the previous two seasons. Michigan State will play in-state rival Michigan, along with Indiana and Maryland in home-and-home contests, while hosting Rutgers, Northwestern, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska and Wisconsin. The Spartans will play road games at Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue.