For some of the players on the women’s basketball team, Thursday’s home game against Illinois will be business as usual. For others, it will be a family reunion.
Redshirt freshman guard Aerial Powers and redshirt junior center Madison Williams, former teammates at Detroit Country Day, will take on another former teammate, Illinois guard Amber Moore, as the Fighting Illini (8-10 overall, 1-4 Big Ten) face the Spartans (12-6, 4-1) at Breslin Center at 7 p.m.
MSU is coming off a 66-54 loss Sunday to Penn State.
Moore, one of the better guards in the Big Ten, is averaging 16.3 points per game and knocking down a conference-high 3.1 3-pointers per game.
The senior also narrowly leads her team in rebounds per game with six.
Illinois wrecks havoc in several defensive categories, ranking top-10 nationally and topping the conference in steals (11.6), turnovers forced (21.8), and turnover margin ( 6.5).
Despite the ability to create turnovers, the stats suggest Illinois is a poor defensive team.
They are last in the conference in field goal percentage defense (42.4 percent) and points allowed (71.4).
MSU submitted a clunker of an offensive performance on Sunday against then-No. 16 Penn State Sunday.
Thursday could be an opportunity to get back on track as they host a porous defense.
The Spartans are scoring an average of 75.9 points per game on 44.7 percent shooting, both of which rank as the best of head coach Suzy Merchant’s career.
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