No. 16 Spartans Set to Host Wolverines in New Year's Eve Matchup
Freshman Jasmine Thomas and the Spartans look to bounce back after Monday's loss at Wisconsin.
Freshman Jasmine Thomas and the Spartans look to bounce back after Monday's loss at Wisconsin.

Dec. 30, 2009

No. 16/24 MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (9-4, 0-2) vs.
rv/rv MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (9-3, 1-1)

Date: Thursday, Dec. 31
Time: 2 p.m. ET
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Arena: Breslin Center
TV: Big Ten Network (Lisa Byington - play-by-play; Vera Jones - analyst)
Radio: WVFN 730 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play; Mo Gerhardt - analyst)
Internet: Live audio and stats at
Hometown Day: Kalisha Keane

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The Wolverines are coming off a 63-59 home loss to Northwestern on Monday and enter the game 9-3 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten. Michigan is led by four players in double-figures, including Veronica Hicks (14.3; ninth in the Big Ten), Dayeesha Hollins (13.3; 12th), Carmen Reynolds (11.3; 18th) and Krista Phillips (10.8; 19th). Hollins leads the team in assists with 4.2, good for fifth in the league, while Jenny Ryan leads in rebounding with 6.9 and steals with 2.3, ranking her sixth and fourth in the league, respectively. Phillips is third in the Big Ten with 2.3 blocks per game. As a team, Michigan is second in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (45.2%), steals (9.75) and 3-point field goals made (6.50).



Michigan State leads the all-time series 53-15, and have won four-straight and 12 of the last 13 meetings. At Breslin, MSU has won seven in a row and are 15-4 overall. All-time in East Lansing, the Spartans are 21-9 against Michigan. In the two meetings last season, MSU held the Wolverines to 32.0 points per game, including a record-setting 27 points allowed in the last meeting on Feb. 19, 2009.

The Spartans are second in the Big Ten in RPI this season, ranking 12th according to Ohio State is first at ninth. The MSU schedule is the toughest among conference foes and ranks fifth nationally. As a conference, the Big Ten is second in RPI and fourth in strength of schedule.

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. 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 12 losses, with two of them coming at the hands of MSU. Connecticut and Stanford also have two top-10 wins this season.

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 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 1,463 points and is also seventh with 810 rebounds. DeHaan is also fifth with 305 made free throws and eighth with 567 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. Against 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 3.84 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 710 blocks. North Carolina is first with 789, followed by MSU, Duke (691), Baylor (688) and Connecticut (666).

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 8.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in 21.0 minutes, while shooting 36.5% 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 18th all-time with 1,036 points. In addition, she is also climbing the career rebounds list, sitting in 20th-place with 574, and is 16th with 414 made field goals and 19th with 199 made free throws.

The depth of the 2009-10 Spartans has paid dividends early in the season. The MSU bench is averaging 32.7 points, 20.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists, while playing 88.0 minutes per game, compared the opposition's 16.0 points, 14.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 62.1 minutes.

Junior Kalisha Keane (9.0 points) leads the Big Ten in bench production, while redshirt senior Lauren Aitch (8.7 points) is third in the conference off the bench.

Through the early portions of the 2009-10 season, the Spartans lead the Big Ten in blocked shots with 7.77 and total rebounds (44.9). They are also second in rebound margin (+7.5), assists (16.69) and offensive rebounds (15.67), and third in scoring offense (72.5).

Individually, redshirt sophomore Lykendra Johnson ranks among the conference leaders in many categories: offensive rebounds (3.5; 1st), rebounds (8.3; 3rd), blocks (10th; 1.4), field goal percentage (8th; .505) and scoring (24th; 10.0). Senior Allyssa DeHaan is second in the league in blocks with 3.4, and is also tied for ninth in rebounds (6.5), 10th in free throw percentage (.784) and 14th in scoring (12.7).

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.

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.

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.

This season, MSU has averaged 4,698 fans through seven games, to place third in the Big Ten.

Michigan State is 1-1 all-time on December 31. The only other two games on New Year's Eve were a 71-54 loss at Indiana in 2000 and a 56-46 win over Wisconsin at the Breslin Center in 2006.