Spartans Head East to Take on Providence and Hartford
Dec. 19, 2007
TIPOFF - GAME 11
No. 23/24 MICHIGAN STATE (7-3) at PROVIDENCE (8-2)
PC: Phil Seymore (Canisius, 1989)
SPARTANS FINISH NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE WITH ROAD GAMES AT PROVIDENCE AND HARTFORD The No. 23/24 Michigan State women's basketball team will wrap up its non-conference portion of the schedule with road games at Providence and Hartford this week. The Spartans take on Providence Thursday, Dec. 20 at noon and Hartford Saturday, Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. Out of MSU's 12 non-conference games this season, eight are away from the Breslin Center, the most since 1981-82.
The Spartans are coming off a hard-fought 66-55 loss to No. 9 Oklahoma Sunday at the Breslin Center. MSU led by 11 points at halftime, 28-17, and was up most of the second half. After the Spartans went up 53-46 with 5:44 remaining, the Sooners closed the game on a 20-2 run. Oklahoma (7-2), whose only losses are to No. 1 Tennessee and No. 4 Maryland, hit six free throws in the final minute to seal the victory. Courtney Davidson and Alisa Wulff each recorded career highs with 18 and 14 points, respectively.
Providence enters Thursday's game on a four-game winning streak. The Friars are 8-2 overall with wins over Brown, Iona, Manhattan, Florida International, Fordham, Rhode Island, Harvard and Central Connecticut and losses to Hartford and Illinois. Sophomore guard Kendria Holmes leads the team with 12.3 ppg.
Hartford (9-2) has won three games in a row, owns an RPI of 20 and is receiving votes in the Coaches' Poll. The Hawks have beaten the likes of BYU, Virginia, St. John's and Marist, while their only losses have come to Kansas and UMass. Michigan State defeated Hartford in the Spartan Clash last season at the Palace, 58-45. The Hawks are led by ninth-year head coach Jennifer Rizzotti, who is the school's all-time winningest coach at 153-100. She has won three America East tournament titles and two regular-season championships.
ANOTHER BLOCK RECORD FOR DEHAAN
DeHaan, who set the Big Ten single-season record with 145 blocked shots her freshman year, is on pace for 162 blocks through the regular season. She currently leads the nation with 54 blocks through 10 games (5.4 avg.). The NCAA single-season record for blocked shots is held by Amie Williams of Jackson State, who had 152 in 2003.
The NCAA career record is 480, set by TCU's Sandora Irvin from 2002-05. Jessica Davenport of Ohio State owns the Big Ten career record with 384.
AND YET ANOTHER RECORD WAITING IN THE WINGS...
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
HATE TO BRING IT UP...BUT WORTH MENTIONING
ADD ME TO THE LIST
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.
TWICE AS NICE
MINNESOTA GAME TIME CHANGE: TIP WILL BE MOVED UP TO 2 P.M. ON FRIDAY, DEC. 28
Sophomore 6-9 center Allyssa DeHaan, who set a Big Ten and NCAA Divison I freshman record last season with 145 blocked shots, leads the country with 54 blocked shots (5.4 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 10 games, DeHaan leads the team in scoring (17.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.1 rpg). DeHaan, MSU's all-time leader in blocked shots with 199, is on national player of the year watch lists for the Naismith Trophy, the Wade Trophy and Wooden Award.
The Spartans lost power foward 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. Originally 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 (8.3 ppg, 4.7 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 (4.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.8 apg) and forwards Kalisha Keane (12.9 ppg), Cetera Washington (4.6 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 (9.6) and minutes (26.6). She is third in the Big Ten in 3-point field-goal percentage (.447) and fourth in 3-pointers made (21).
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 senior year, she has started every game and has scored 44 points with 12 3-pointers, including a career-best 14 points vs. No. 9 Oklahoma on Dec. 16.
NO BREAKS IN THIS SCHEDULE
CAN'T FORGET ABOUT THE BENCH
at the official