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Women's Basketball Hosts Colgate Sunday

Senior Klarissa Bell and the Spartans face Colgate for the first time in program history on Sunday.

Dec. 27, 2013

EAST LANSING, Mich. - After a break to celebrate the holiday season, the Michigan State women's basketball team returns to Breslin Center on Sunday to host Colgate, concluding its non-conference schedule. The Spartans (7-5) and Raiders (4-6) are set to tip at 2 p.m.

Michigan State (7-5) vs. Colgate (4-6)
 Date Sunday, Dec. 29
 Time 2 p.m. ET
 Location East Lansing, Mich. | Breslin Center
 Internet Coverage Big Ten Digital Network | Click Here to Watch 
Gametracker | Mobile Friendly Live Stats
 Radio WJIM 1240AM | Click Here to Listen
Keaton Gillogly - play-by-play; Mo Gerhardt - analyst
 Game Notes  Michigan State | Colgate
 Statistics  Michigan State | Colgate
 Tickets Purchase Here | Season Tickets
 Promotions Post-Game Freshman Autograph Signing
 Social Media @MSU_wbasketball   |  Facebook

The Raiders arrive in East Lansing with a 4-6 record and are coming off a 64-50 loss at Albany on Dec. 22. Lauryn Kobiela leads Colgate with 11.8 points, 4.5 assists and 1.7 steals, while Lansing native and Waverly High School graduate Carole Harris is second on the team with 11.1 points and first with 7.9 rebounds. The Raiders are averaging 65.1 points, but shooting only 37.6% from the field and 32.8% from 3-point. Colgate has a -1.4 rebound margin for the season.

Michigan State and Colgate meet for the first time.

- The Spartans split their two games at the Puerto Rico Classic, losing 63-57 to No. 13 Oklahoma State in the opener on Thursday, Dec. 19, before topping Georgetown, 67-54 on Friday.
- The Spartan defense stepped up, holding their opponents to 58.5 points, 31.1% field goal percentage and 24.0% 3-point percentage.
- Kiana Johnson dished out 16 assists, including 10 vs. Georgetown, compared to only two turnovers.
- Johnson had her first career double-double vs. Georgetown, the first double-double with assists by a Spartan since Kristin Haynie on March 27, 2005 vs. Vanderbilt.
- Annalise Pickrel and Aerial Powers each averaged 12.0 points and 7.5 rebounds to lead the team. Pickrel added 2.5 blocks and Powers had 2.5 steals, both team highs.

Michigan State is off to its best offensive season under head coach Suzy Merchant. The Spartans are averaging 74.9 points and have a 44.1% field goal percentage. The points per game average is more than six points better than any Merchant-led MSU team (the 2010-11 team averaged 67.3 points) and the field goal percentage is also the highest during the Merchant era (the 2008-09 team shot 42.1%).

Currently, the 74.9 points per game would be the second-best in program history, less than two points lower 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 12 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.

Michigan State has stepped up its defensive effort over the last three games, holding its opponents to 59.7 points, 31.6% field goal percentage and 25.0% from 3-point, compared to 68.4 points, 40.5% field goal and 38.3% 3-point shooting in its first nine games.

On Friday vs. Georgetown, junior Kiana Johnson became the sixth different Spartan this season to post a double-double. MSU is the only school in the Big Ten with six different players with a double-double (three schools have had three different players). In Michigan State history, it is the first time that a team has had six different double-doubles.

For the year, MSU has eight total double-doubles. All of last year, the Spartans only had four. Johnson's double-double was the first by a Spartan using assists since Kristin Haynie on March 27, 2005 vs. Vanderbilt.

Michigan State's offensive numbers at home and away have been drastically different. In the six home games, the Spartans are averaging 85.8 points, while shooting 48.8% from the field and 40.3% from 3-point, where they made 8.0 per game. However in its six games either on the road or on a neutral floor, MSU is scoring only 64.0 points, and shooting 39.0% from the field and 25.8% from behind the arc, with 5.2 3-pointers per game. In addition, their rebound margin at home is +12.0, while +0.2 on the road, and their assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.2 (18.5-15.5) at Breslin and 0.88 (14.5-16.5) on the road.

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 10.0 points and 6.0 rebounds outside of East Lansing.

Getting to the free throw line this season has been integral in the success of the team. The Spartans are 7-0 this season when going to the line more than their opponents, while losing all five games when the opponent has more attempts. In the seven wins, Michigan State is averaging 25.7 free throw attempts and putting the opponent to the line 16.6 times, while in the losses, MSU is only attempting 11.2 per game and allowing 22.2.

Michigan State has had to rely heavily on the production of three freshmen early on in the 2013-14 season. Branndais Agee, Tori Jankoska and Aerial Powers have all started at least one game and all have played a prominent role this year. The trio has combined to produce 40.7% of the Spartan offense, as Powers (13.8 points) and Jankoska (10.3) rank second and third on the team. The percentage is the highest in head coach Suzy Merchant's seven seasons. In the Big Ten, the percentage is third this season, trailing Indiana (52.7%) and Northwestern (48.8%).

Patience and progression have been two common words to describe Klarissa Bell's playing career at Michigan State. Growing up in East Lansing and being named Michigan's Miss Basketball as a high school senior, she came to MSU with high expectations. However, through her first 48 games as a Spartan, she struggled to find a role and a spot on the floor. Bell averaged just 2.2 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 10.2 minutes during that time. However, Merchant inserted her into the starting lineup on Jan. 29, 2012 vs. Penn State and she has started every game since.

As a starter, Bell has helped Michigan State to a 40-17 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 sixth on the team with 8.4 points, but is second in assists (3.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5), fourth in steals (1.0) and rebounds (5.3). She is seventh in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio and 14th in assists.

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 seven wins, Bell is averaging 9.7 points and 4.1 assists, while shooting 48.0%, and in the five losses, she is averaging 6.6 points and 2.6 assists, while shooting 29.5%.

Senior Annalise Pickrel made a huge breakthrough last year in her junior season. After averaging 3.3 and 2.5 points in her first two seasons, Pickrel increased her scoring output to 9.3 points per game, which tied for third on the team. Her +6.8 point increase ranked third in the Big Ten last season.

Pickrel has begun her senior season on a high note, building off her success last season. Through 12 games, she leads the team with 14.3 points and 1.3 blocks, in addition to averaging 7.3 rebounds (second on the team), 2.8 assists (third on the team) in a team-high 34.5 minutes. Pickrel is shooting 48.8% from the field, 46.0% from the 3-point line (23-for-50) and 84.4% (27-for-32) from the free throw line, all career highs. Among Big Ten players, Pickrel ranks among the top-15 in the Big Ten in nine different categories, including sixth in 3-point field goal percentage, seventh in minutes, eighth in 3-pointers and offensive rebounds, ninth in rebounds and blocks, 11th in free throw percentage, 13th in field goal percentage and 14th in points.

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 the last two seasons has been her production from the 3-point line. Leading the team in both categories each season, 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. This season, she is sixth in the conference at 46.0% and eighth with 1.9 3-pointers.

Pickrel is currently 10th in Spartan history with 107 3-point field goals made, while ranking fourth with a career 36.9% 3-point field goal percentage.

Junior Kiana Johnson has orchestrated the Spartan offense through her first three seasons in green and white. Johnson has led MSU in assists in each of her first two seasons, and ranks fifth on the Spartan career list with 4.3 assists per game. She has been equally careful with the ball, posting a career assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.02 (291:144), which is currently first in the MSU record books. So far in 2013-14, Johnson is 31st in the nation, third in the Big Ten and leads the team with 5.8 assists per game, and leads the conference and is second in the country with a 4.5 assist-to-turnover ratio.

In her last seven games (having led MSU in assists in six of those), Johnson has totaled 48 assists to only eight turnovers (6.0 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. She also had double-figure assists vs. Georgetown on Friday, en route to her first career double-double. It was the first double-double using assists by a Spartan since Kristin Haynie on March 27, 2005 vs. Vanderbilt. Also, Johnson became the first Spartan since Tamika Matlock in 1996-97 with multiple double-digit assists games in the same season.

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.

Freshman Tori Jankoska made a quick impression on the 2013-14 Spartan season. Jankoska is third on the team with 10.3 points, but has struggled lately, averaging just 4.0 points over her last five games. Jankoska was the first Spartan freshman ever to begin her MSU career with four-straight double-figure scoring games.

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.

Redshirt freshmen Branndais Agee and Aerial Powers returned from season-ending injuries last season. Agee, a high school All-American, played in only five games last season, averaging 2.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 13.2 minutes, before tearing her right ACL. Powers, who was a top-100 recruit and a two-time Michigan AP Class B Player of the Year, missed the entire season after tearing the Achilles tendon in her left ankle during preseason practice.

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 13.8 points, which is 16th in the Big Ten, and leads the team with 7.4 rebounds, which is eighth in the conference, and 2.3 steals, which is third. She is also is averaging 2.3 assists in just 25.5 minutes. Powers is also 12th in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (49.2%) and offensive rebounds (2.1).

Powers has earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors twice this season, including last Monday, becoming the first Spartan to do so. Over her last six games, she has posted three double-doubles, while averaging 16.7 points and 9.3 rebounds in 29.3 minutes.

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 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 6.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in only 14.1 minutes. She also leads the team with a 50.0% field goal percentage.

Early in the 2013-14 season, junior Becca Mills was asked to fill a lot of minutes in the post due to some early season injuries. Head coach Suzy Merchant has praised Mills' offseason work ethic and early season effort. In her first two seasons, Mills has totaled 552 points (8.2 points per game), so she is accustomed to shouldering the expectations.

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 9.3 points and third with 5.8 rebounds in 24.9 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.

Junior Jasmine Hines came to East Lansing as Michigan's high school career points and rebounds record holder, but her minutes have been limited over her first two seasons at Michigan State. However in those minutes, her production has been effective, averaging 6.1 points and 3.6 rebounds in only 14.0 minutes. Hines has led MSU in field goal percentage in each of her first two seasons.

Hines returned to the lineup for the first time this season at Florida State, after missing the first seven games due to a concussion. For the season, she is averaging 2.8 points and 3.2 rebounds in 11.4 minutes, but is coming off a seven-point, eight-rebound effort vs. Georgetown on Friday.

Nov. 23 marked the long-awaited return to the court of 6-7 center Madison Williams. The former McDonalds All-American suffered three ACL injuries over the past three seasons, limiting her to three career games entering this season. Williams stepped onto the court against Rice for the first time since Nov. 15, 2011 to a standing ovation from the Breslin Center crowd. In her five minutes of action, she went 3-of-4 from the field for six points, while also adding a rebound, a block and a steal.

After playing only one minute in the next game at Temple, Williams missed the next three games before returning against Oakland. She played six minutes, grabbing three rebounds and blocking two shots. Williams was back to playing steady minutes in Puerto Rico, clocking 13 against Oklahoma State and 11 vs. Georgetown.

In less than a full game (36 minutes) this season, Williams has totaled 10 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks.

Michigan State led the Big Ten in rebounds margin for the third-straight season, and for the fourth time in the last five years, last season. The Spartans have been top-40 in the country in rebound margin each of the last six seasons, getting as low as ninth nationally in 2010-11.

After getting out-rebounded by 23 in its opener at Notre Dame, Michigan State has a +8.7 rebound margin in its last 11 games. For the season, the Spartans are +6.1 on the glass to rank fourth in the Big Ten. They are also third in offensive rebounds (12.8) and offensive rebound percentage (34.6%) MSU has out-rebounded 84 of its last 103 opponents (81.6%), including eight of its 12 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.

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. When the Spartans have scored at least 70 points, their record is 63-5 (92.6%), but had a 44-game winning streak snapped when reaching that number vs. IPFW. Also, when they hold opponents to 60 points or less, their record is 113-11 (91.1%).

The Spartans have been extremely effective closing out games over the last couple years, winning 87 of their last 88 games (98.9%) when leading with five minutes left, including winning 38 games in a row. In Coach Merchant's tenure, Michigan State is 129-5 (96.3%) when holding a lead with five minutes left.

The 2013-14 basketball season is the Spartans' 25th inside the Breslin Center. MSU has an all-time record of 255-85 (.750) at Breslin and have been even more dominant of late in its cozy confines, having won 49 of its last 56 games (.875).

The Spartans ended their home schedule last season ranked 10th in the nation and second in the Big Ten with 6,352 fans per game. It marked the ninth-straight season that the Spartans have been among the nation's top-15 in attendance, and the third consecutive year their have been in the top-10. So far this season, Michigan State is second in the Big Ten with 5,798 fans per game.

Michigan State is 8-4 all-time on December 29, including a 57-47 win over Temple last season.



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