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The Mittens come off


Women's basketball to host Michigan in interstate rivalry




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Michigan guard/forward Rachel Sheffer drives down to the baseline with then-junior forward Courtney Schiffauer keeping the pressure on her. The Spartans defeated the Michigan Wolverines 65-63, Sunday Feb. 5, 2012 at Crisler Arena. State News File Photo



Pink jerseys, Breslin Center, arch rivals.

The last time those three factors for the MSU women’s basketball team came together was Feb. 13, 2011, and culminated in a 69-56 victory against Michigan in front of the first sellout crowd in program history.

A similar stage will be set at 7:30 p.m. tonight when the Spartans (17-4 overall, 5-3 Big Ten) take on the Wolverines (16-5, 5-3).

MSU is sporting special pink jerseys — which has become an annual tradition as of late — for its Play 4Kay game. Play 4Kay is a national initiative aiming to promote breast cancer awareness and research through collegiate coaches and players.

The Spartans are riding an 11-game winning streak against Michigan and boast a 60-15 all-time record in the rivalry.

Tonight’s contest will have serious implications in the Big Ten race as MSU is one of five teams with a 5-3 conference record looking up at co-leaders Penn State and Purdue. As the winner of 19 of the last 20 match ups against Michigan, the Spartans have finished second or better in the Big Ten each of the past four seasons.

MSU will face a team with similar traits against first-year coach Kim Barnes Arico and the Wolverines. Michigan is No. 2 in the conference in scoring defense, behind MSU, while both teams are among the lowest-scoring offensive teams.

The Spartans defend the 3-point line better than any team in the conference and Michigan launches more than six treys a game, shooting 38.3 percent from behind the arch — second best in the Big Ten.

The game can be seen on Big Ten Network and the first 2,000 fans at Breslin Center will receive pink rally towels.


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