Women's basketball looks to bounce back against Indiana
From left to right freshman forward Akyah Taylor, sophomore center Jasmine Hines and junior Klarissa Bell stand together after the game Jan. 27, 2013, at Breslin Center. The Spartans lost to Purdue, 67-62. Julia Nagy/The State News
Indiana women’s basketball might be a Big Ten bottom dweller now, but MSU women’s head coach Suzy Merchant doesn’t expect that to last long under the guidance of first-year coach Curt Miller.
When Merchant wore a slightly different shade of green and white as the head coach at Eastern Michigan University, she dueled with Miller’s Bowling Green squads for six seasons. Miller won five-consecutive Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year awards as the Falcons’ coach, including Merchant’s final three seasons prior to coming to MSU.
“Those kids are already having a better experience, when you watch them play they’re not laying down, they’re never going to quit,” Merchant said. “He’s definitely changing the culture from the inside and that’s what has to happen when you take over a job, so I expect him to continue to build that.”
The defensive-minded Spartans (18-5 overall, 6-4 Big Ten) should be salivating over a contest with the worst-scoring offense in the Big Ten in Indiana (10-14, 1-10). Tipoff at Breslin Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Hoosiers should provide an ample opportunity for MSU to rebound from a tough road loss to No. 8 Penn State on Sunday.
STATS VS. RANKED TEAMS (0-4)
Points allowed: 68.5
High performer vs. ranked teams
Points per game: 12.8
Season average: 8.8
STATS VS. UNRANKED TEAMS (18-1)
Points allowed: 46.8
High performer vs. unranked teams
Points per game: 12.3
Season average: 11.6
Senior forward Courtney Schiffauer smiles as she approaches the referee to inbound the ball Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, at Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated the Wolverines, 61--46, improving their record to 6-3 in the Big Ten. Adam Toolin/The State News
On average, Indiana allows four more points than it scores and the Hoosiers are last in the conference in field goal and free throw percentages.
“(Miller is) a hard worker like all of us,” Merchant said. “He’s a good coach, hard worker, understands how big recruiting is — that won’t be an easy match up in the future I’m sure because of how hard he works. We’ve battled a few times.”