In preparation for its first game of the season Thursday, the No. 25 MSU women’s basketball team held its annual Green and White scrimmage Sunday at Breslin Center.
Freshman center Madison Williams went down with an injury early, but players said the game gave them an opportunity to evaluate their preseason strengths and weaknesses.
“I think we have some perimeter kids, and we have the ability to do a lot of different things,” head coach Suzy Merchant said.
“So we’ll take a look now at what we have, what our core is going to be and that’s part of the process — seeing who can play under the lights and what they do and how they perform.”
For the first 20 minutes, the Green and White teams played each other. In the second half, the Spartans united to play the men on the scout team, which plays with them at practice.
While the Green team defeated the White team, fans said they were impressed with how well the complete team played against the scout team.
“I enjoyed seeing the
women hold their own against the men,” Grand Rapids, Mich., resident Molly Peskin said. “That was awesome that
they beat them.”
Recognizing their team has a lot of potential this season, the Spartans said the intrasquad competition specifically pointed out some of their weaker points that they can focus on this week during practice.
That includes being quicker on defense and being more successful with containing their opponents.
“It’s mostly just taking care of the ball and rebounding,” junior forward Lykendra Johnson said. “We didn’t shoot that well, but it’s just the small stuff that we’re trying to work on now and trying to get the ball in the paint and more rebounding.”
Within the first three minutes of the scrimmage, Williams went up for a rebound and lost her balance on the way down. She was taken off the court with assistance and did not return.
Merchant said she believes Williams injured her knee, and the results from her MRI Monday will shed more light.
“It’s no reason to panic until we know exactly what goes on,” Merchant said. “We’re just going to have to take a look and see what we have and maybe make sure we play different people (and) adjust to different positions.
“There’s kids going back and forth, and maybe they need to be a little bit in one spot right now for us until we can find out what (Williams’) status is.”
Johnson said her team is trying to be prepared for any obstacles with which it is presented, and encouraging consistent hard work and high intensity everyday will help the players do that.
In addition to the players competing against each other, the team held its first Halloween Hoops event, where fans were invited to wear their Halloween costumes, participate in a costume contest and meet the team.
“It’s the first time we’ve done the Halloween Hoops thing,” Merchant said. “We were
really excited about trying it, and I love the costumes and the atmosphere.”
Peskin, who was dressed as a 1920s flapper, attended the event with her 9-year-old daughter, Maddy, who was disguised as a Gothic rock star. They both said the unique Halloween event was a fun way to celebrate and watch their cousin, freshman guard Annalise Pickrel, play.
For the costume contest, the players selected their favorite costume and the coaching staff narrowed it down and, with the crowd’s help, decided on a winner. They chose a child dressed as a cowgirl.
“There was a really good crowd … so we think we’re going to try and keep this event,” Merchant said.