Senior center Jenna Allen became the 27th Spartan to score 1,000 career points on a layup against Nebraska Feb. 17. Allen is the eighth player during coach Suzy Merchant’s tenure at Michigan State, to reach the acclaimed milestone. The last player to reach the mark was Branndais Agee on Nov. 25, 2017.
Allen, a 6-foot-4 center, is the lone senior on this year’s roster and was a captain along with junior guard Taryn McCutcheon.
“I’m just very thankful and fortunate, to score a thousand points here at Michigan State University,” Allen said, “I’m in a league of elite players now. ... I’m just really proud of myself.”
A four-year letterwinner at Bedford North Lawrence High School, Allen played for her father her senior year, averaging 16 points and 11 rebounds. The team went 26-1, losing in the Class 4A regional championship round, 48-40 to Columbus North, on Feb. 24 2015.
Her impressive high school career included setting the school record for career rebounds (943), scoring 1,495 points (third in school history), 37 career double-doubles, an overall record of 104-5 and two state championships during her sophomore and junior seasons.
A four-star recruit, Allen became one of the top centers in the nation.
The Bedford, Indiana native had not originally planned on playing her college career in the green and white, but rather the Indiana University red and white.
In August 2013, Allen verbally committed to the Hoosiers’ recruiting 2015 class, but later withdrew her commitment following the resignation of coach Curt Miller in July 2014.
In September 2014, Allen decided to commit to her second choice, MSU, who shared the 2013-14 Big Ten regular season title with Penn State.
“Everything happens for a reason and I truly feel like I’m meant to be here,” she said.
As a freshman, Allen played in all 34 games. Her debut against Western Michigan on Nov. 15, 2015, resulted in six points and three rebounds. She finished the 2015-16 season with an average of 4.5 points per game. She was awarded the Pat Canning Coaches Award at the 2016 banquet.
During her sophomore season in 2016, Allen scored her first double-double against Western Michigan Nov. 18, which led to her first start against Oregon Nov. 22. She scored 10 points against the Ducks. The Spartans lost to Arizona State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament March 17, 2017, where Allen played nine minutes and scored two points. Allen also earned her first Academic All-Big Ten honor.
At the end of the 2016-17 season, Allen averaged 6.9 points per game. At the 2017 banquet, she was awarded with the Sixth Player Award.
Allen was one of three Spartans to play in all 33 games as a junior, starting 25 of them. Her first double-double of the season came against Western Michigan Dec. 4, 2017, with 10 points and 11 rebounds. After scoring a career best 28 points against Notre Dame Dec. 6, 2017, Allen had 16 games in double figures that season.
Allen played 16 minutes in the Spartans’ 111-109 4OT loss to Indiana in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament. Allen received Academic All-Big Ten Honors. Finishing with an average of 9.9 points per game, Allen was awarded Most Improved Player Award at the 2018 banquet.
Allen’s senior year has some noteworthy wins including an 88-82 win over No. 3 Oregon, an 84-70 win over No. 16 Iowa and a 77-60 win over No. 9 Maryland, contributing to the Spartans’ perfect record at home this season.
“Honestly it’s been the best four years of my life,” Allen said.
The layup to reach 1,000 points happened in the first quarter during the Spartans-Cornhuskers match-up. Allen narrowly missed a double-double, with 13 points and nine rebounds in that game.
Michigan State lost 82-71, making the Spartans the 9th seed for the Big Ten Tournament.
As the 2018-19 season nears its end, Allen is averaging 12.9 points per game and has 1,007 career points as of Feb. 20.
Allen, a kinesiology major, hopes to one day go chiropractic school after finishing off her basketball career.
“Right now the plan is, if I can to play overseas or maybe in the WNBA if it’s possible.”
The Spartans look to bounce back from the loss to Nebraska when they host Ohio State at 6 p.m. Feb. 21. Michigan State is 13-0 at home this season.