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At home, MSU women looking to improve against Oakland

December 15, 2013

It’s been a rough stretch for the women’s basketball team, who have dropped their last three games by a combined 13 points.

A return home could be what the doctor ordered.

After a week off for exams, the Spartans (5-4 overall) will take on Oakland (2-6 overall) at Breslin Center on Sunday. It will be the first home game in two weeks for MSU.

The Spartans have been a strong offensive team at home, averaging 87 points on 49.7 percent shooting overall and hitting at a 40.4 percent clip behind the arc. It’s a dramatic improvement compared to their road stats, where the Spartans are averaging 65 points on 39.4 percent overall shooting and 25.3 percent from three-point land.

MSU has performed well against in-state rivals, going 24-2 under head coach Suzy Merchant.

It remains to be seen if junior guard Kiana Johnson, who missed the previous two games with an infection, will return to the lineup.

Freshman guard Tori Jankoska has started in her place, but has struggled with the new role, averaging six points on 17 percent overall shooting, with 21 percent from deep and 2.5 assists. Jankoska has been otherwise fantastic as a spark plug off the bench, so MSU will need a solid game from her.

MSU also will look for continued contributions from junior forward Becca Mills. Mills had the best game of her career in a loss against Virginia Tech, posting 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for her first career double-double. Mills could be the post presence the team currently is short on.

Redshirt junior center Madison Williams played briefly played in the Rice and Temple games, but tweaked her knee against Temple and has sat since.

Junior center Jasmine Hines, who spent the early part of the season recovering from a torn hamstring, played for the first time this season against Florida State, but turned the ball over and picked up two fouls in 14 minutes. She only played for four minutes against Virginia Tech. Mills could be the key to helping an ailing frontline.

MSU will take on Oakland at 2 p.m at Breslin Center.

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