After the postponement of back-to-back matchups against Michigan on Jan. 26 and 28, Michigan State women’s basketball has found a new opponent in No. 7 Maryland, who the Spartans will face Thursday at 4 p.m.
This game was initially scheduled for Feb. 10 but was moved up after Michigan State’s matchups against Michigan were postponed and Maryland’s matchup against Rutgers was postponed.
This game being scheduled wasn’t an easy process but ultimately will help the Spartans after seeing four of their games be postponed thus far this season.
“I talked to K.P (Kevin Pauga, Michigan State associate athletic director), and he's like, ‘There's really no games that have been canceled right now for us to put in. It's unfortunate, either people are down and out and can't play or there's no games that are canceled yet,’” Michigan State women’s basketball Head Coach Suzy Merchant said on her radio show. “Sure enough, as soon as he said that, by 3 p.m. that day Rutgers had canceled their game with Maryland. I think they just wanted to move some things now and get any games that we can play, and then maybe that opens up some things later for people that are shut down.”
For the players, this can also be a bit of a whiplash, but that’s ordinary for what everyone has been dealing with in the pandemic as sophomore guard Moira Joiner points out.
“Honestly, this year everything's like that,” Joiner said on Merchant's show. “I think we've done a good job just like bouncing back from anything. Expect the unexpected, but I think we're just happy to play.”
The Spartans will now have three games in the matter of one week after beating Wisconsin last Sunday and by facing two AP Top 25 teams in No. 7 Maryland on Thursday and No. 16 Indiana on Sunday.
“They're (Maryland) just naturally good, so we're going to spend the next couple days just working on some things that I think they do well at,” Merchant said. “They're a very talented team, and we'll certainly have our hands full on the road.”
In their last matchup against the Terrapins, the Spartans came up short despite a valiant comeback effort led by Maryland native Nia Clouden, who scored a career-high 32 points.
In that loss, the team came together in the locker room and talked about the next time they could face Maryland. While that time has come sooner than expected, this is a team that will be motivated to play them again after a heartbreaking loss at home.
“It was a really close game," Clouden said after their loss to Maryland on Jan. 7. "We think we can compete with anybody in the league, especially Maryland. We’re really looking forward to that game to be able to prove that we can beat them, that we can beat anybody in the league and just being able to play hard, and we know that things didn’t go our way tonight, but we’re just excited to have another chance at it.”
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