Wednesday, June 3, 2020

PREVIEW: Michigan State women's basketball takes on Penn State in regular season finale

The Spartans say goodbye to the regular season in a matchup against one of the worst teams in the Big Ten

March 1, 2020
<p>Sophomore guard Nia Clouden (24) during the women&#x27;s basketball game against Rutgers at the Breslin Center on Feb. 13, 2020. The Spartans ended a five game losing streak and defeated the Scarlet Knights 57-53. </p>

Sophomore guard Nia Clouden (24) during the women's basketball game against Rutgers at the Breslin Center on Feb. 13, 2020. The Spartans ended a five game losing streak and defeated the Scarlet Knights 57-53.

Photo by Connor Desilets | The State News

Michigan State women’s basketball (15-13, 8-9) will play their final game of the regular season at home against Penn State (7-21, 1-16).

Following a dominating 72-58 win over Illinois, the Spartans will return to the Breslin Center to face a Penn State team that has won only one game in Big Ten play.

As Sunday is Senior Day for the Spartans, the team will honor seniors Nia Hollie, Taryn McCutcheon, Shay Colley and Victoria Gaines in a postgame ceremony. While Gaines suffered an ACL tear in late January and is out for the rest of the season, the other three are expected to play with one of them fresh off of a big night.

Michigan State was powered to a strong finish on the road by a team-high 14 points from Colley in her second game back from injury. Her presence on the floor and offensive output will be key for the team heading into the Big Ten Tournament next week.

McCutcheon said that her team needs to understand the nature of the upcoming tournament.

“We need to be prepared and realize that it’s one-and-done in the tournament,” McCutcheon said. “I hope everybody wants to play after the Big Ten Tournament and we still have a chance. But we have to fight for it.”

While the Nittany Lions have been mired in mediocrity throughout the 2019-20 season and are currently riding a 13-game losing streak, they do boast one of the best players in the conference, if not the nation.

Junior Kamaria McDaniel is Penn State’s leading scorer and the second best in the Big Ten, averaging an impressive 19.5 points per game along with 4.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

McDaniel is assisted by senior Siyeh Frazier and freshman Makenna Marisa, averaging a combined 22.4 points per game. Frazier has proven herself to be remarkably efficient this season from the field as the holder of a 43.5% field goal percentage.

Michigan State will have to minimize McDaniel’s scoring efforts in an attempt to close out a season that has been plagued by injuries and adversity. With their seniors taking the court for the last time at home, they'll have more motivation than ever to finish strong.

Tipoff is set for 2:00 p.m. at the Breslin Center.

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