No. 23 Spartans (14-5) swept Illinois at home with a score of 77-60, meaning the team remains undefeated with a home record of 11-0. This brings their Big Ten record to 4-4.
The top scorers of the game included redshirt junior guard Shay Colley, junior guard Taryn McCutcheon, and senior center Jenna Allen with 14 points.
“I go into games excited about my match-up because it’s super fun for me to play defense. ... I move differently, I have a bounce to me because I know I’m doing well on defense,” McCutcheon said. “I feel like (the team) has a lot of confidence in me period, as teammates I think they’re great teammates and they’re always telling me to shoot. So when I hit shots they get super excited for me which is awesome."
The team has a 14-game home winning streak, which is a continuation from last year, however their away game record is only 2-4. With “U-M week” coming up for the team, everyone is excited to leave it all out on the court when they play against U-M on the road.
For the team, this is a game they know they cannot lose.
“I just know we have to kick them in the butt,” redshirt junior forward Victoria Gaines said. "At the end of the day, it’s another game that we have to focus for anyway. ... We’ve been in the slump lately for away games, but we’ve already got it in our heads ‘there’s no way we’re losing to Michigan. If that means we come back with one arm, there’s no way we should lose to Michigan.’ So hopefully, when we beat Michigan, that gets us going on away games and we have streaks and we get ourselves going and we become that complete team that we can be.”
MSU coach Suzy Merchant believes that her team can use the confidence built up from their win against Illinois to fuel their will to bring their best game when playing Michigan in the upcoming weekend.
“They’ll be fired up to play us, we’ll be fired up to play them, and certainly going to their court won’t be the easiest place to play,” Merchant said. “We’ll bring our tons of fan busses, too, so it’ll be a great environment. If you play at Michigan, if you play at Michigan State, those are the moments you remember.”