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Preview: Women's hoops to host Iowa for home Big Ten opener

December 12, 2020
<p>Sophomore forward Nia Hollie (12) fights for the ball against Iowa's sophomore forward Makenzie Meyer (3) in the game against Iowa on Feb. 1, 2018, at the Breslin Center. The Spartans fell to the Hawkeyes, 71-68 in overtime. (State News | Annie Barker)&nbsp;</p>

Sophomore forward Nia Hollie (12) fights for the ball against Iowa's sophomore forward Makenzie Meyer (3) in the game against Iowa on Feb. 1, 2018, at the Breslin Center. The Spartans fell to the Hawkeyes, 71-68 in overtime. (State News | Annie Barker) 

Coming off their first conference win against Minnesota (1-2) on the road last week, Michigan State women's basketball (3-0) is gearing up to host the University of Iowa Hawkeyes (4-0) at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12.

Five Big Ten women's teams are ranked in the Week 2 AP Poll, including No. 14 Maryland, No. 15 Indiana, No. 17 Northwestern, No 18. Ohio State and No. 19 Michigan.

The conference is also represented on the Dec. 8 USA Today/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Poll, including No. 14 Maryland, No. 15 Indiana, No. 17 Northwestern, No. 19 Ohio State and No. 20 Michigan. Iowa received 29 votes here.

A look at this week's opponent

Iowa is undefeated thus far into the season, with its most recent win being over Iowa State 82-80.

Freshman Caitlin Clark leads the Hawkeyes, averaging 28.5 points, while junior Monika Czinano, sophomore McKenna Warnock and sophomore Gabbie Marshall trail her, averaging 20, 15 and 10 points per game, respectively.

Clark is leading the Big Ten in six statistical categories, including total assists (28), assists per game (7), field goal attempts (82), points per game (28.5), steals (10) and three-pointers attempted (39).

She is also in the top three of the Big Ten, ranking second in field goals made (41), final points (114), three-pointers made (13), three-pointers per game (3.5) and ranking third in free throws made (18).

She was named Big Ten Women's Basketball Player and Freshman of the Week on Dec. 7.

Last time on MSU hoops

After the game against Minnesota, where she put up 14 points in the first quarter on 5-5 shooting, and finished off with 25 total, it's clear that junior guard Nia Clouden is deserving of her preseason honors.

Sophomore guard Alyza Winston is the future at point guard, the heir to Clouden.

Against Detroit Mercy (0-3), Winston scored 11 points on 5-8 shooting. Against Minnesota, she played the best game of her career wearing green and white, draining 20 points on 8-12 shooting and 4-7 from beyond the arc.

It's clear the Spartans are capable of making noise in the conference this season. They seem to have an answer to everything, whether calling a timeout at the right time, making a substitution or relying on veteran players, coach Suzy Merchant knew what she was going. And it kept working.

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