MSU Women Open B1G Action At Indiana
The Spartans begin their 36th season in the Big Ten.
|Michigan State (10-3, 0-0 B1G) vs. Indiana (7-6, 0-0 B1G)|
|Date||Thursday, Dec. 28|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Location||Bloomington, Ind. | Assembly Hall|
|Tickets||Click To Purchase|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network | WJIM-AM 1240|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Indiana|
|Statistics||Michigan State | Indiana|
|Internet Coverage||Live Stats|
|Social Media||@MSU_WBasketball | Facebook | Instagram|
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State will open Big Ten action on Thursday, Dec. 28 at Indiana at 7 p.m. at Assembly Hall. The Spartans start conference action after going 10-3 in non-conference action. MSU is one of seven B1G teams to reach double-digit wins in non-conference play. Indiana is currently 7-6, heading into the Big Ten opener.
• After 13 games, the Spartans have four players averaging in double figures. The Spartans are led center Jenna Allen, who is having a breakout junior campaign. Allen is averaging 11.3 points and a team-high 5.7 rebounds per game. Freshman Sidney Cooks is scoring 10.8 ppg, while redshirt sophomore Shay Colley adds 10.2. Rounding out the quartet is redshirt-senior Branndais Agee who is scoring 10.1 ppg.
• With 83 points against MVSU on Dec. 22, Michigan State topped the 80-point plateau for the fifth time in six games and the ninth time this season ... Friday marked the ninth time this season that MSU has hung at least 70 on the scoreboard, improving to 9-0 on the season ... Michigan State has won 115 of its last 125 games when scoring at least 70 points, and MSU is 132-17 under head coach Suzy Merchant when netting at least 70 points.
• No. 22/19 South Florida was the third ranked team that the Spartans have faced this season with a neutral site loss to No. 1/1 UConn and a road loss to No. 2/2 Notre Dame. Currently four Big Ten teams are ranked Ohio State (No. 12/11), Maryland (No. 15/14), Michigan (No. 23/21) and Iowa (No. 25/25). MSU is now 1-2 against ranked teams this season.
• The starting lineup of Taryn McCutcheon, Shay Colley, Lexi Gussert, Sidney Cooks and Jenna Allen is now 5-0 this season.
BIG TEN OPENERS
Michigan State is 23-12 in home Big Ten openers in 35 years in the league. Last season, the Spartans collected a New Year’s Day win over Illinois, 71-47.
Michigan State is 18-18 all-time in Big Ten openers, having won its last four of its last six ... Under Coach Merchant, the Spartans are 6-4 in Big Ten openers ... This is the second time in the last three years that MSU has opened Big Ten play on the road, falling to Ohio State, 85-80, in the 2015-16 season ... This is the first time since the 2011-12 season that the Spartans have opened B1G play with the Hoosiers. MSU captured that game in Bloomington, 63-49.
As the Spartans complete the non-conference portion of the schedule, Michigan State heads into Big Ten action with a 10-3 record. Last season, MSU also finished non-conference play with a 10-3 record. The Spartans production is up as MSU averages 80.5 points per game this season, compared to scoring 70.0 ppg last season through 13 games. Michigan State has a scoring margin of +15.7 this year compared to +9.3 during the 2016-17 campaign. The Spartan defense has been stellar this season with 10.5 steals per game, compared to 6.7 spg last year.
Last season, Tori Jankoska was the only Spartan averaging in double figures with 21.9 ppg. This year, four different players score in double digits led by junior center Jenna Allen, who is averaging 11.3 ppg. Freshman forward Sidney Cooks (10.8 ppg), redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley (10.2 ppg) and redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee (10.1 ppg) all score in double figures.
RISING THE CHARTS
Junior forward Jenna Allen has increased her scoring every season that she has been at Michigan State. This season, she is first in scoring, averaging 11.3 points and 5.7 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.
CAREER NIGHT FOR COLLEY
Sophomore guard Shay Colley’s career-high 27 points against South Florida topped her previous career-best of 16 points against Robert Morris in the season-opener. It was Collley’s second-straight double-figure scoring outing and third in the last four games, along with her fifth of the season.
Colley’s 27 points was the second-highest by a Spartan this season, behind junior forward Jenna Allen’s 28-point outing at Notre Dame, and also marked the third time this season that an MSU player has scored 20+ points in a game, as along with Allen’s 28 points, senior forward Taya Reimer tallied 20 points against Oakland.
SCOUTING THE HOOSIERS
Indiana enters Big Ten action with a 7-6 overall record. The Hoosiers have lost two out of their last three games, ending non-conference action with a 72-68 win over Yale on the road on Dec. 21. IU started the season, winning three-straight games before losing four of its next five. Buss is
The Hoosiers are once again led by Tyra Buss, who is tied for fifth in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 20.8 points per game. Amanda Cahill is tied for 16th in the league in scoring with 13.5 ppg. Buss is also 10th in the league in steals (1.9 spg) and first in minutes played (39.4 mpg).
As a team, the Hoosiers are averaging 68.5 point per game, while allowing 66.7. IU is 13th in the Big Ten in scoring margin (+1.8).
LAST TIME VS. INDIANA
For the second-straight game, four Spartans scored in double figures as the Michigan State women’s basketball team stopped Indiana, 69-60, at the Breslin Center on Feb. 2, 2017.
Senior forward Taya Reimer, senior guard Tori Jankoska and freshman guard Taryn McCutcheon all scored 15 points. Jankoska now has eight double-doubles this season and 21 for her career. Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee had her second double-double of the season 11 points and 10 rebounds. Jankoska once again came close to a triple-double with 15 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.
Indiana was led by Amanda Cahill who had 17 points and eight rebounds, while Tyra Buss added 16 points for the Hoosiers.
Michigan State has now won three-straight games, improving to 16-7 overall and 6-4 in Big Ten action. The Spartans jump the Hoosiers in league standings, as Indiana falls to 15-8 overall and 5-5 in conference action.
Michigan State leads the overall series with Indiana, 46-25, including going 20-13 at Assembly Hall. Last season, MSU defeated IU, 69-60, at the Breslin Center. The last time the team’s met in Bloomington the Hoosiers stopped the Spartans, 81-65, on Jan. 13, 2016. Current graduate assistant Jasmine Hines scored a team-high 24 points in the loss. MSU has won 10 0f the last 12 meetings with Indiana.
The Spartans have three players who are natives of the Hoosier State. Redshirt-sophomore Victoria Gaines, a native of Merrillville, will be playing his first game in Bloomington this season. Junior Jenna Allen, who hails from Bedford, played 20 minutes the last time MSU played at Indiana on Jan. 13, 2016. Senior Taya Reimer, a native of Fishers, will play her first game at Indiana as a Spartan.
The Big Ten ranks fourth in Tuesday’s Collegiate Basketball News conference RPI index (found at
RPIratings.com). Nine Big Ten schools are among the top 70 in the team RPI rankings as noted by NCAA.com and Collegiate Basketball News. Rutgers leads the group at No. 6, followed by No. 8 Ohio State and No. 24 Iowa. Maryland is next at No. 41, with Michigan State at No. 42, Michigan at No. 47, Minnesota at No. 56, Purdue at No. 57 and Penn State at No. 67.
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.
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 1,063 career points. She is currently fifth in scoring for the Spartans, averaging 9.2 points per game.
BOUNCE BACK ABILITY
In Coach Merchant’s first 11 seasons, the Spartans are 70-26 (72.9%) following a loss.
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.
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 19 against Quinnipiac. 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, 129-71 in the final 10 minutes. Overall at home, MSU has scored 523 points, while allowing only 319. Overall MSU is 6-0 at home this season.
AROUND THE BIG TEN
Freshman forward Sidney Cooks is second on the team in scoring, she also is 10th in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.551).
Sophomore Taryn McCutcheon is second in assists behind Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell, averaging 5.7 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. Redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley is 12th in assists with 3.9 per game. McCutcheon is also tied for 13th in assist/turnover ratio (2.2). Colley is also tied for fouth in the B1G in steals, averaging 2.3 spg.
MSU is tied for second in the league assists, averaging 19.1 apg. Iowa is first in the conference in assists with 23.8 apg. Michigan State is also first in rebound margin (+10.8) and third in steals (10.5).
AROUND THE NATION
The Spartans are ninth in the nation in assists with 248 and 14th in assists per game, averaging 19.1. Michigan State is also 26th in the nation in rebounds per game (44.0) This week, Taryn McCutcheon is 31st in the nation in assists per game (5.7 apg).
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 10.1 points through the first 13 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 167 of their last 173 games (.965) when leading with five minutes left, including 118 of their last 125. In Coach Merchant’s tenure, Michigan State is 202-11 (.948) when holding a lead with five minutes left. This season, the Spartans are 10-0.
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 15th in attendance, averaging 5,017 fans per game. They are fourth in the Big Ten behind Purdue (5,710), Ohio State (5,517) and Maryland (5,249).
LAST TIME OUT
Michigan State women’s basketball concluded the New Orleans Shootout with an 83-64 win over Mississippi Valley State to go 2-0 at the tournament held at Xavier University.
Four different Michigan State players scored in double figures led by 18 from junior forward Jenna Allen, who has scored in double-digits four the fourth-straight game. Senior guard Branndais Agee tied a season-high with 17 points. Freshman forward Sidney Cooks added 12 points, while senior forward Taya Reimer had her second-straight double-digit scoring contest with 11.
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.
IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
The Spartans improved to 174-96 (.644) all-time in the month of December. Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is 57-26 (.687) in the 12th month of the calendar year. The Spartans have won 29 of their last 42 games in December.
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 features a locker room and interactive areas that enhance the fan experience for the more than 500,000 people attending events each year.
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.
The Spartans open Big Ten action at Indiana on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. MSU will return to the Breslin Center on New Year’s to take on Rutgers in the home B1G opener at 4 p.m.
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.
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 nine times overall this season. MSU has won 115 of its last 125 games when scoring at least 70 points, and MSU is 132-17 under head coach Suzy Merchant when hanging at least 70 points on the scoreboard. This year, MSU is 9-0 when scoring at least 70.
AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is 28-48 against ranked teams, including 18-14 at home, 6-19 on the road and 4-15 on a neutral court. As a ranked team against fellow ranked team, MSU is 15-22 versus ranked teams. This season, MSU is 1-2 against ranked teams with a loss to No. 1 UConn, 96-62 and a defeat against Notre Dame, 90-59. MSU defeated No. 22 South Florida, 83-73, on Dec. 21.
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.
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.
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