Monday, November 29, 2021

Women's basketball to host Wisconsin on Thursday

January 29, 2014

After two consecutive disappointing home losses last week against weaker competition, the women’s basketball team (13-7 overall, 5-2 Big Ten) regained its rhythm on the road Sunday, defeating Ohio State 82-68.

The Spartans will look to bring the momentum back home at 7 p.m. Thursday as they host Wisconsin at Breslin Center.

MSU is 4-0 on the road but fell to 1-2 at home in Big Ten play with last week’s skid. They were completely out of sorts, setting season lows in points scored in both games and giving up key rebounds and turnovers down the stretch of each loss.

Junior guard Kiana Johnson did not travel to Columbus, Ohio on Sunday because of personal matters. It remains to be seen if she will dress against Wisconsin.

After last week’s loss against Illinois, Merchant said she felt as though she was “coaching effort.” On Sunday, she saw a new mentality from her squad.

“Defensively, especially, I thought our kids picked things up on that side of the floor, intensity-wise,” Merchant said. “Our offense was still a little choppy, but I do think we were erring on the side of being more aggressive. I felt like in the game prior to that, we were pretty individualized out there and it was nice to share the ball a little bit and get back to fighting together.”

Starting for Johnson, freshman guard Tori Jankoska had one of her best games of the season, tying her career-high with 25 points and shooting 5-of-7 from deep. She’s been red-hot from downtown in her last eight games, shooting 51.1 percent on 45 attempts.

Junior center Madison Williams had the most dominant game of her career by far. She blocked seven shots, a career-high, and tied her career-high with eight rebounds in just 19 minutes of action.

If Williams gets the opportunity, she should have success against Wisconsin, perhaps one of the worst offensive teams in the Big Ten. The Badgers, currently on a three-game losing streak, rank last in scoring offense with 64.8 points per game, are second-to-last in field goal percentage at 40.9 percent and are the only team in the conference with a negative scoring margin at negative .3.

Redshirt junior forward Michala Johnson leads the Badgers with 15.6 points per game and is second on the team in rebounds per game with 7.6.

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