MSU women's basketball gears up for Purdue on Wednesday
After chaotic weather this weekend, which caused the MSU women’s basketball team to postpone their game against Maryland to a later date, the Spartans are gearing up to play Big Ten opponent Purdue on Wednesday. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.
With the conference schedule in full swing, MSU only has 11 games left in the regular season before the start of the Big Ten Tournament. Coming into Wednesday’s matchup against the Boilermakers, the Spartans (14-4, 5-2 Big Ten) are in fourth place in the Big Ten standings, trailing Purdue (15-4, 6-2 Big Ten) by one game.
Wednesday’s matchup will not only be pivotal for the Spartans, but it will be one of the many games around the league that will begin to solidify the Big Ten standings.
A boiling hot offense - who to watch for
Coming into Wednesday’s contest, the Boilermakers are coming off a 90-point barrage in which they beat the Iowa Hawkeyes by a score of 90-73.
Leading Purdue in their win against Iowa was senior guard April Wilson, with 24 points, three rebounds and 12 assists. Wilson has started all 19 games and has been a work horse for Purdue this season, shooting 45 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point range, all while averaging 35.8 minutes a game. Wilson has been an assist machine this season, leading the team with 120.
Another name to look for is junior guard Ashley Morrissette. Morrissette helped Purdue to their 15th win of the season with 15 points, three rebounds and three assists. The 5-foot-9 junior has also carried a heavy workload, averaging 31.2 minutes per game. Morrissette is shooting 38 percent from field-goal range and 38 percent from beyond the arc.
Also assisting Purdue this season is sophomore guard Andreona Keys. Keys has averaged 30.7 minutes a game this season, all while putting up a 42 percent field-goal percentage, but has struggled from three, shooting 3-26 from beyond the arc.
MSU is well rested
MSU’s last game was against Rutgers on Jan. 19. The Spartan’s were able to beat the Scarlet Knights by a final score of 59-48.
Leading the Spartans offensively this season is junior guard Aerial Powers. Powers will enter Wednesday’s game averaging 18.8 points a game in 29.6 minutes per contest. Powers is shooting 41 percent from the field this season and 26 percent from deep. Powers is dangerously close to setting a new school record with double-doubles. With seven double-doubles already this season, Powers only needs two more to surpass former Spartan Mary Kay Itnyre for the school record.
Also aiding MSU’s cause this season is junior guard Tori Jankoska. Jankoska is averaging 16.7 points and 32.2 minutes a game this season in 18 games played. Jankoska is shooting 43 percent from field-goal range and 35 percent from beyond the arc. Both Jankoska and Powers have been a lethal combo this season, combining for 601 points in 1,052 minutes between the two.
Adding to MSU’s potent offense is sophomore guard Branndais Agee. While averaging 11.4 points and 27.1 minutes a game, Agee is quietly putting together an impressive season. Agee is shooting 46 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range, which leads the starting roster. Agee has a very good defensive game, too, with 11 blocks and a team-leading 40 steals.
A sturdy defense meets a potent offense
Wednesday’s game will boil down to which team can limit the turnovers. Purdue this season has had a streaky offence, averaging 69.6 points a game. Purdue’s defense averages seventh in the conference when blocking field goals, limiting opponents to .433 field goal rate, despite only giving up 58.8 points a game.
MSU on the other hand is a bit more well-rounded, averaging 76.4 points per game and only giving up 60.2 points a contest. The Spartans lead the Big Ten when defending the field goal, holding opponents to shooting 39 percent from the field.
When it comes down to it, it seems that MSU has found a recipe for success this season. The key to MSU’s success comes when they limit turnovers and prevent fouls. If the Spartans play cautiously and stay out of foul trouble, there’s no reason they can keep their stake in at the top of the Big Ten.