Wichita, Kan. — The Spartans just managed to survive Sunday and now they have two days to prepare for a Green Bay, who is riding a 24-game winning streak and has lost only once all season.
Both teams played in close games in the first round and I expect this game to be no different. Let’s see how these teams match up on paper.
The Spartans have a tough matchup in Green Bay’s Celeste Hoewisch, a battle-tested senior averaging 13.4 points on her way to winning the Horizon League Co-Player of the Year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
Senior guard Brittney Thomas will have her hands full covering Hoewisch and although she’s a great defensive player, Hoewisch is capable of taking over a game on both sides of the ball.
Edge: Green Bay
Senior forward Kalisha Keane and junior forward Lykendra Johnson make up one of the best duos in the country. When they are hot, this team is successful and can contend with the best of them. When they’re cold, it could spell disaster.
Keane was awarded Big Ten Player of the Year because she does a little bit of everything for her team. Johnson is the Defensive Player of the Year and is dominant on the glass.
But don’t expect Green Bay to be too impressed. Kayla Tetschlag shares the Horizon League Co-Player of the Year honor with her teammate and Julie Wojta averages more rebounds than both of the league MVP’s, while nearly matching their scoring.
Expect Keane and Johnson to have worked all of the kinks out after a tough outing against Northern Iowa.
MSU head coach Suzy Merchant feels comfortable putting almost any of her players into a game in any situation. Therefore, the Spartans have 10 players averaging more than 10 minutes per game.
On the other hand, Green Bay head coach Matt Bollant only uses about two substitutes per game.
Those two are sophomores Adrian Ritchie, who averages just more than nine points per game, and Lydia Bauer, who averages about 7.5 points.
It’s gotten the job done so far, but facing a team such as MSU which thrives on playing an in-your-face style of defense, using only two subs will really wear down his team.
Green Bay is a dangerous team that has heart, always hustles and plays with chips on its shoulders from not being recruited by the bigger schools.
The Spartans wear their hearts on their sleeves and very few teams can match their passion for the game. Never do you see a lack of effort from a Spartan on the court.
But MSU might have met its equal here.
Merchant never is outcoached. Her team never seems to be unprepared for any challenge.
However, on the opposite end of the court will be Bollant, who is a three-time Horizon League Coach of the Year and has only 15 losses in his four-year career at Green Bay. He never gets outcoached either.
Both are great coaches who get the most out of their teams and have long careers ahead of them no matter what happens in Tuesday’s game.
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