Freshman guard DeeDee Hagemann has seemingly solidified her position as the sixth-woman on the Michigan State women’s basketball team. In just her first college season she’s averaging 7.5 points, 5.0 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game and is almost always the first player off the bench, providing the Spartans with a burst of energy every time she steps foot on the court.
“It helps us a lot because DeeDee is a key factor in our offense and defense so having her coming off the bench with a spark and picking us up is very important for our team,” graduate student forward Alisia Smith said.
Hagemann gave them the spark they needed in a tight game against Marshall on Sunday when she created a four-point play for the team immediately after coming off the bench. These momentum shifting plays have become a common occurrence for the freshman, whose stellar court vision has allowed her to play beyond her years.
“She’s been really good," senior guard Nia Clouden said. "She’s kind of like the sixth man and every time she comes in whether it’s practice or in the game she knows her job is to bring energy and she does a great job at that. She does a good job at setting people up.”
Although she knows how to set her teammates up to score, she can also take it to the basket and rack up some points herself. The 5-foot-7 guard has no problem driving into the paint and going up against her 6 foot opponents and drawing fouls. She plays fearlessly, diving for every ball and playing relentless defense no matter the size of her opponent. Her tenacity on both sides of the ball is what makes her such an asset for the Spartans.
This was on full display on Sunday in the game against Marshall.
“She was the one who wanted to stop their best player and guard her at the end and that says a lot about her as a freshman, Head Coach Suzy Merchant said. I think she also did a good job setting people up, getting herself to the free throw line.”
Merchant also believes she could be in the starting lineup, but she likes what she sees from her in the sixth woman role and that it doesn’t matter too much to Hagemann whether she starts the game or comes off the bench.
“She just wants the team to do well," Merchant said. "I think her and (Taiyier Parks) coming off the bench gives us that spark.”
The team will need that spark from Hagemann and the rest of the team going into the next few weeks of competition. They’ll take on a strong 6-1 Notre Dame team Thursday at home before entering Big Ten play on the road against Iowa, the eight ranked team in the country, on Sunday Dec. 5. The Spartans will then return home to take on Illinois on Thursday Dec. 9 for more Big Ten play.
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