Senior guard Jankoska breaks records in leading MSU
On Tuesday night, senior guard Tori Jankoska broke two records for the MSU women’s basketball team. The first came early in the game with Jankoska just seven points away from becoming the all-time leading scorer.
Later in the game, the captain broke the single-game scoring record, finishing with 42 points. After the dust settled and MSU upset No. 11 Ohio State University, Jankoska had a program-leading 1,853 points for the green and white.
“I’m happy, I mean there’s no other way to say it,” Jankoska said. “The most important thing is that we won ... this was big for our team, big for the Big Ten championship run. we got to protect our home court, everybody stepped up and did what they needed to do. It was one of the funnest game I’ve ever been a part of, and it’s not even because I was breaking records.”
This season, Jankoska averaged 22.8 points per game, with her highest scoring game before Ohio State was 39 points against Oakland University.
The minute the guard’s 3-pointer swished the nets of the basket, the Breslin Center crowd rose to its feet after she broke the record. In the timeout shortly after, her teammates congratulated her.
After fainting in a game earlier this year, head coach Suzy Merchant was back on the sidelines. Her presence restored on the bench, Merchant said one thing stuck out to her while watching her senior captain play — consistency.
“I was enjoying watching her, you know when she came off the sideline, I’ve witnessed some pretty cool moments with kids, wins and different things, but to do it the way she did it, it just was consistent,” Merchant said. “From the jump it was not even a question, she was in a zone and I’ve not seen many players get in a zone like that. I don’t know if our fans have ever really seen that happen that much at the Breslin on the women’s side.”
In the first half alone, Jankoska scored 31 points, which caused Ohio State to have problems closing the 13-point deficit. The Spartan lead soon grew to 20 points in the third quarter. Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said the team tried to take her out of her rhythm and to keep the ball out of her hands, neither of which were successful.
While solid throughout the night, Jankoska received help from some of her teammates, who made momentum-changing shots at crucial times in the game. Sophomore forward Hana Vesela and redshirt-freshman forward Victoria Gaines landed 3-pointers that kept the lead in the double digits. Gaines said Jankoska helps her teammates play harder and at a higher level.
“She brings so much energy, her presence is just powerful because of what she brings and just gets everyone together,” Gaines said. “It just excites everybody, just making us want to play harder to her potential.”
As the game was coming to a close, Jankoska squeaked by the single-game points record, contributing 42. The record previously belonged to Maxann Reese, who scored 41 points against Iowa in 1999.
After a record-breaking night, along with downing a ranked Big Ten rival, the Spartans improved their record to 3-1 in conference play. Next up, MSU will take on Rutgers University on Jan. 14 at New Brunswick, N.J. as it continues Big Ten play.