No. 16/18 Spartans Travel to Madison for First Big Ten Road Game
Junior Brittney Thomas and the Spartans look to avenge two late-season losses to Wisconsin last season.
Junior Brittney Thomas and the Spartans look to avenge two late-season losses to Wisconsin last season.

Dec. 27, 2009

No. 16/18 MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (9-3, 0-1) at

Date: Monday, Dec. 28
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Madison, Wis.
Arena: Kohl Center
Radio: WVFN 730 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play)
Internet: Live pay-per-view broadcast on ($2.99/game); Live audio and stats at
TV: none

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Game Notes in PDF Format

The Badgers entered the holiday break with a 10-2 record, and return to Big Ten play at 0-1 in the league. Wisconsin leads the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing only 52.4 points per game, but are 10th, scoring only 62.0. The Badgers are led by Alyssa Karel, who is 10th in the Big Ten in scoring at 13.9 per game. Tara Steinbauer leads in rebounding at 6.8, placing seventh in the league, and leads the league with a 93.5% free throw percentage. In addition, Lin Zastrow is tied for the conference lead in field goal percentage, hitting 55.2%.

Michigan State leads the all-time series 34-23, but Wisconsin won the last two meetings and three of the last four. All-time in Madison, MSU is 11-17 and have lost its last two.

In their win over Florida Gulf Coast, the Spartans set a new program record with 13 made 3-pointers, knocking down 13-of-19 (68.4%). The previous record of 12 was set twice, most recently on Nov. 26, 2000 against Northwestern. The 68.4 3-point field goal percentage is the second-best single-game percentage in the nation so far this season.



In addition, MSU also set season highs in points (94), field goals made (37), field goal percentage (64.9%) and assists (26). The 64.9 field goal percentage is also the second-best mark in the nation this season and the best showing for the Spartans since they shot 65.3% at Oakland on Dec. 5, 2002.

Michigan State has been a dangerous team this season against teams ranked in the nation's top-10. Against Xavier (Dec. 9), MSU became the first school to play three top-10 teams so far this season. With the win, the Spartans improved to 2-1 in those games, with the lone loss (No. 5/6 Notre Dame) coming by one point. To this point of the season, teams that have been ranked in the top-10 have had only nine losses, with two of them coming at the hands of MSU.

It was the only the second time in program history that a Spartan team has beaten two Associated Press top-10 teams in the same regular season. The 2002-03 Spartans knocked off No. 7/6 Purdue on Jan. 6 and No. 10 Minnesota on Jan. 23.

Each night, a different Spartan has stepped up as the offensive leader, as through 12 games, seven different players have led MSU in scoring. In addition, Michigan State is the only team in the Big Ten to have four different player score 20 or more points in a game.

In all, nine different Spartans have scored in double-figures in a game this season, including a school-record six in the win over Florida Gulf Coast. The last time a MSU team had six players in double-digits was Feb. 18, 1996 vs. Michigan.

Senior Allyssa DeHaan is one of only five Spartans to rank in the top-10 in both career points and rebounds. She is seventh place all-time with 1,454 points and is also seventh with 808 rebounds. DeHaan is also fifth with 304 made free throws and eighth with 563 made field goals in MSU career record books.

Senior Allyssa DeHaan entered her senior season on pace to break the NCAA Division I blocked shots record. In her last game vs. St. Bonaventure, she moved into a tie for third all-time with 446 blocks and needs only 35 rejections to surpass the record held by Sandora Irvin of TCU (2001-05). DeHaan is also third on the NCAA list with a 3.90 blocks per game average.

DeHaan became the Big Ten's all-time blocked shots leader during MSU's Big Ten Tournament game against Wisconsin on March, 6, 2009. She surpassed Ohio State's Jessica Davenport (384) for the record. In addition, in last season's win over Stony Brook (Nov. 16, 2008), she became the fastest in conference history to reach the 300-block plateau, needing only 72 games.

Michigan State is second in the nation in blocked shots early in the 2009-10 season. Entering last week, MSU was averaging 8.3 rejections a game, just one-tenth behind Baylor (8.4). Senior Allyssa DeHaan leads the charge, ranking fifth in the nation with 3.8 per game.

The Spartans are also among the nation's top-50 in five other categories, placing 15th in assists (17.3), 19th in field goal percentage defense (33.6%), 22nd in rebound margin (+8.5, 29th in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.98) and 35th in scoring offense (74.6).

Upon Allyssa DeHaan's arrival to East Lansing, the Spartans have been one of the effective teams in the country in protecting the rim. Since the beginning of the 2006-07 season, MSU is second in the nation with 707 blocks. North Carolina is first with 789, followed by MSU, Baylor (688), Duke (681) and Connecticut (662).

The Spartans had been among the NCAA leaders in blocks each of those three years, finishing the season eighth in 2008-09, 11th in 2007-08 and fourth in 2006-07.

Senior Allyssa DeHaan has played her best basketball this season against the Spartans' best competition. In MSU's games this season against teams receiving votes in the national polls, DeHaan is averaging 19.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.2 blocks in only 27.5 minutes per game, while shooting 57.4% from the field and 81.8% from the line.

On the flip side, in the remaining games, DeHaan is averaging only 8.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in 20.7 minutes, while shooting 34.8% from the field.

Redshirt senior Aisha Jefferson became the 20th Spartan to score 1,000 career points against Indiana. Jefferson's milestone point came on a free throw with 7:30 on the clock in the first half. Jefferson is currently 19th all-time with 1,028 points. In addition, she is also climbing the career rebounds list, sitting in 20th-place with 571, and is 16th with 410 made field goals and 19th with 199 made free throws.

With its 78-47 win over George Washington on Nov. 27, Michigan State won its 86th consecutive game when holding its opponent under 50 points. MSU's last loss came on Feb. 16, 1979 (48-42 to Indiana). All-time, the Spartans are 125-3 when keeping the opposition below 50 points.

The Spartans have relished playing extra time over the past seven seasons. With its 93-90 double overtime win over Oklahoma State on Nov. 28, MSU won its 12th straight overtime game, dating back to the 2003-04 season. The streak is the longest such run among Big Ten schools. Surprisingly, only two of the 12 wins have come at home. MSU's last overtime loss came on Feb. 28, 2002 against Ohio State, 89-82, in the Big Ten Tournament.

The win was also MSU's first double overtime victory since Jan. 15, 1995 vs. Iowa (71-70). The Spartans had lost their previous three double overtime contest.

The Spartans lead the Big Ten in RPI early in the 2009-10 season, ranking ninth according to The MSU schedule is the toughest among conference foes and ranks seventh nationally.

The depth of the 2009-10 Spartans has paid dividends early in the season. The MSU bench is averaging 33.4 points, 20.6 rebounds and 8.2 assists, while playing 87.8 minutes per game, compared the opposition's 16.3 points, 15.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 64.2 minutes.

Junior Kalisha Keane (9.0 points) and redshirt senior Lauren Aitch (8.7 points) pace the production, ranking as the top-two leading scorers off the bench in the Big Ten.

The Spartans just finished a season-long six game home stand, going 5-1. It is the first time since the 1982-83 season that MSU had played six straight games at home (Dec. 18, 1983-Jan. 9, 1983). In all, it is the sixth time in program history that MSU has played at least six consecutive games on its home floor.

Through the early portions of the 2009-10 season, the Spartans lead the Big Ten in blocked shots with 8.17 and total rebounds (46.2). They are also second in scoring offense (74.0), rebound margin (+8.0), assists (17.27), offensive rebounds (16.17) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.99).

Individually, redshirt sophomore Lykendra Johnson ranks among the conference leaders in many categories: offensive rebounds (3.4; 1st), rebounds (8.4; 3rd), blocks (8th; 1.5), field goal percentage (7th; .516) and scoring (25th; 9.9). Senior Allyssa DeHaan is second in the league in blocks with 3.7, and is also tied for seventh in rebounds (6.8), ninth in free throw percentage (.796) and tied for 13th in scoring (13.0).

Head coach Suzy Merchant won her 250th career game against Oklahoma State on Nov. 28. In her 14th season as head coach, Merchant has compiled a career record of 252-147 between Michigan State, Eastern Michigan and Saginaw Valley State. In addition, MSU's upset over No. 4 North Carolina was her 50th win as a Spartan and her first career win over a top-5 team.

Sophomore Lykendra Johnson has improved her outside shooting early in the 2009-10 season, having already matched her made 3-point field goal total from last season. This season, she is 9-of-25 (.360) from the arc, while last year she went 4-of-20 (.200) in 33 games.

Entering this season, no team ranked in the The Associated Press top-5 had played Michigan State in the Breslin Center. Now, in their first two home games of the season, two top-5 teams played the Spartans at Breslin. MSU upset No. 4 North Carolina, 72-66 on Thursday and No. 5 Notre Dame knocked off MSU, 68-67 on Nov. 19. No. 2 Georgia was the only non-conference top-5 team to play in East Lansing before the season, facing the Spartans on Dec. 17, 1988 at Jenison Field House.

Michigan State is the first team in the nation to face three top-10 teams so far this season.

The UNC win was the first home win over a top-5 non-conference opponent in MSU history. In all, the Tar Heels were be the 12th team ranked in the top-5 of the AP poll to play Michigan State in East Lansing. A matchup with No. 2 Ohio State on Feb. 20, 2005, was the last time a top-5 team played in Breslin before this season, the results a 66-64 Spartan win, MSU has won three of its last five games against top-5 teams at home, but are 2-10 all-time.

All-time, the Spartans are 33-28 against ranked-opponents at the Breslin Center. MSU has won six of its last seven games against ranked opponents at Breslin, including a 2-1 record this season.

In their two-plus years on the court together, the Spartans know good things will happen when seniors Aisha Jefferson and Allyssa DeHaan are both playing well. When both score in double-figures, MSU holds a 19-2 record, including the upset of No. 4 North Carolina.

DeHaan's scoring has shown to be a deciding factor in most Spartan games. When she reaches double-digits, Michigan State is 59-18 in her career. Also, when she leads the team in scoring, MSU is 37-6. Meanwhile, MSU is 33-14 when Jefferson tallies double-figures, including a 3-0 record this season.

The 2009-10 basketball season is the Spartans' 21st inside the Jack Breslin Student Events Center. MSU has an all-time record of 206-76 (.730) at Breslin and have been even more dominant of late in its cozy confines, posting a mark of 72-14 since 2003.

For the past five seasons, Michigan State has been one of the top programs in the country in regard to fan support. In each of the last five years, the Spartans have been among the nation's top 15, averaging over 6,000 fans per game. MSU was ninth in the country in 2006-07, averaging 6,737, while they were 10th in both 2005-06, with a school-record 6,787 average, and 2007-08 (6,317). In 2008-09, the Spartans finished second in the Big Ten and 13th in the country, averaging 6,024 fans.

So far this season, MSU has averaged 4,698 fans through seven games, to place second in the Big Ten.

Michigan State is4-5 all-time on December 28.