Women's Basketball Prepares for Puerto Rico Classic
Dec. 18, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women's basketball team is spending the week in San Juan, P.R. , in preparation of the 2013 Puerto Rico Classic. The Spartans begin competition on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET against No. 13/16 Oklahoma State (8-0) at the Coliseo Guillermo Angulo, before facing Georgetown (6-3) on Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE
AGAINST THE COWGIRLS
AGAINST THE HOYAS
IN REGULAR SEASON TOURNAMENTS
It is the Spartans' second trip to San Juan, having also participated in the 1994 San Juan Shootout on Dec. 19-21. MSU went 1-2, losing to Virginia Tech and Detroit, before beating Florida State to end the trip.
AGAINST THE NATION'S BEST
QUICK HITTERS FROM SUNDAY (MICHIGAN STATE 80, OAKLAND 62)
TOP FRESHMAN AGAIN
Currently, the 77.5 points per game would be the best in program history, less than a point higher than the 1996-97 team that averaged 76.8 points.
Already this season, the Spartans have scored 80 or more points in five of their 10 games. The total is the most in a season since 2005-06 and already the 13th-most in a single-season. In Merchant's previous six seasons, Michigan State reached 80 points only 17 times in 202 games.
DOUBLING IT UP
For the year, MSU has seven total double-doubles. All of last year, the Spartans only had four.
COMFORTABLE AT HOME
Individually, redshirt freshman Aerial Powers leads the team in Breslin Center scoring with 17.5 points and rebounding with 8.8, but has posted only 9.0 points and 5.3 rebounds outside of East Lansing.
CRASHING THE BOARDS
After getting out-rebounded by 23 in its opener at Notre Dame, Michigan State has a +11.0 rebound margin in its last nine games. For the season, the Spartans are +7.6 on the glass to rank third in the Big Ten. They are also third in offensive rebounds (13.0) and second in offensive rebound percentage (35.6%).
MSU has out-rebounded 84 of its last 101 opponents (83.2%), including eight of its 10 opponents this season.
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.
RINGING THE BELL FOR THE LAST TIME
As a starter, Bell has helped Michigan State to a 39-16 record, while averaging 9.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 33.8 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 8.4 points, but is second in assists (3.8) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7), third in steals (1.2) and fourth in rebounds (5.5). She is sixth in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio and 11th in assists.
Over the last three games, Bell has been asked to play extended minutes at point guard for the first time in her career due to the absence of Kiana Johnson. In those three games, she is averaging 4.7 assists, including a career-high seven on Sunday vs. Oakland.
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%. So far this season, the trend has continues, as in the six wins, Bell is averaging 9.2 points and 4.7 assists, while shooting 45.2%, and in the four losses, she is averaging 7.3 points and 2.5 assists, while shooting 29.7%.
PICK AND POP
Pickrel has begun her senior season on a high note, building off her success last season. Through 10 games, she leads the team with 14.8 points and 1.1 blocks, in addition to averaging 7.2 rebounds (second on the team), 2.6 assists (third on the team) in a team-high 33.7 minutes. Pickrel is shooting 52.9% from the field, 50.0% from the 3-point line (20-for-40) and 83.3% (20-for-24) from the free throw line, all team highs. Among Big Ten players, Pickrel ranks among the top-15 in the Big Ten in nine different categories, including second in 3-point field goal percentage, sixth in field goal percentage, eighth in minutes, eighth in 3-pointers, 10th in rebounds, 11th in offensive rebounds, 12th in points, 13th in blocks and 13th in free throw percentage.
So far this season, Pickrel has reached the 20-point plateau in three games, after doing so only once in her first three seasons.
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 10th in Spartan history with 104 3-point field goals made, while ranking fourth with a career 37.1% 3-point field goal percentage.
Over her last four games, Pickrel is shooting 58.3% (14-for-24) from the 3-point arc, including a career-high tying 5-for-6 effort vs. Oakland on Sunday.
TAKING CARE OF THE ROCK
In her last five games, has totaled 32 assists to only six turnovers (5.3 assist-to-turnover). Against IPFW, Johnson dished out a career-high 11 assists; the total tied 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 returned to the court in a limited capacity on Sunday vs. Oakland, after missing two games with a heart infection. In the two games she missed, the team totaled 39 turnovers and just 23 assists.
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 15th on the MSU career steals list at 1.7.
Jankoska has been a tremendous threat from behind the arc, ranking 10th in the Big Ten in 3-pointers per game (1.8). She has also been effective from the free throw line, ranking second on the team with an 81.3% 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 14.1 points, which is 16th in the Big Ten, and leads the team with 7.4 rebounds, which is seventh in the conference, and 2.2 steals, which is fifth. She is also is averaging 2.2 assists in just 25.2 minutes. Powers is also 11th in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (51.4%).
Powers has earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors twice this season, including on Monday. Over her last four games, she has posted three double-doubles, while averaging 19.0 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.
Powers had her best statistical output of the season 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 the second-most all-time by a freshman) and her rebounds were the most by a MSU freshman since Jan. 22, 2009. Powers followed it up with another double-double 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, who made her first career start last Saturday at Virginia Tech, 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 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in only 13.7 minutes. She also is second on the team with a 52.0% field goal percentage.
HOLDING DOWN THE POST
Mills has been up-and-down so far this season, as she has yet to put together more than two good games in a row. For the season, she is fourth on the team with 9.7 points and third with 6.1 rebounds in 26.7 minutes. Her best game this season came at Virginia Tech (Dec. 7), where she exploded for 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, for her first career double-double.
Hines returned to the lineup for the first time this season at Florida State, after missing the first seven games due to a concussion. After playing limited minutes in her first two games, Hines played 19 minutes vs. Oakland on Sunday, posting five points and eight rebounds.
WORTH THE WAIT
After playing only one minute in the next game at Temple, Williams missed the next three games before returning against Oakland on Sunday. She played six minutes, grabbing three rebounds and blocking two shots.
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.
MORE TIME, MORE SUCCESS
ON THIS DATE
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