The Michigan State women's basketball team (4-2) is hungry for more than turkey and potatoes as it make its return from the Big Apple to the mitten state — the ladies are looking to be dished another win after collecting their first two losses of the season against St. Francis BK (Tuesday) and Fordham (Sunday).
The Spartans will bus to Rochester to face the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (2-3) in a Black Friday special. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. on ESPN+.
The Spartans dropped both games while in New York by three points, 71-68 against Fordham and 66-63 against St. Francis BK. Senior guard Nia Clouden leads the Spartans with 18.2 points and 5.3 assists per game.
In a similar fashion, Oakland met No. 12 Michigan on Monday, where they fell 69-58 after being outshot in the first quarter 19-6. Senior guard Kahlaijah Dean leads the Golden Grizzlies, currently tied in fourth in the Horizon League for scoring with 18.6 points per game and ranked fifth in steals with 2.6 per game – she's one of two in the Horizon League to have this accolade, alongside IUPUI's Player of the Year graduate student center Macee Williams.
Oakland has a stacked, six-person freshman class with a wide variety of skill sets that could trouble the Spartans, whose freshman class hasn't seen much, if any, playing time yet this season.
For the guards, freshman Kendall Folley is a 5'7" guard from Lebanon, Ohio and was named the all-time leading scorer in Lebanon High School history. Freshman Kennedie Montue is a 5'11" guard from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and she was named the 2020-21 Valley News Dispatch Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Freshman Olivia Sims is a 5'9" guard from Toledo, Ohio and was named to the First-Team All-District selection and Third-Team All-State selection as a high school junior.
As for the forwards, freshman Miriam Ibezim is a 6'2" forward from Rochester, New York and averaged 19.8 points and 19.5 rebounds per game for her high school career. Freshman Prunelle Mungo is a 6'2" forward also from Lebanon, Ohio and was a three-year letterwinner in volleyball and basketball. Freshman Helen Staley is a 6-foot forward from Rosemount, Minnesota and was the all-time leading rebounder, while also scoring 1,000+ points in her high school career.
The Spartans freshman class has been led by guard/forward Matilda Ekh and guard DeeDee Hagemann.
Ekh, a 6-foot Sweden native, collected 23 points in New York, with a typical average before that of nine points and two rebounds per game.
Hagemann, a 5'7" Detroit, Michigan native averages 8.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. She's seen a total of 114 court minutes in five games played and shoots 48.5% from the field, 33.3% from beyond the arc.
The only other freshman who has made the final score sheet is forward Lauren Walker.
Oakland has also scored a former Big Ten conference player in sophomore guard Aaliyah McQueen. McQueen played for Illinois during her freshman season. She was featured in all 19 games, averaging 9.6 minutes per and she actually set a career high when the Fighting Illini and Spartans last met – she scored eight points on a perfect three-point shooting night, going two-for-two from beyond the arc.
The Flint native was the No. 22 wing in the mitten state's class of 2022 and was also named to the AP Division I Girls Basketball All-Michigan First-Team as a high school senior.
Also from the transfer portal, MSU scored fellow Big Ten conference player in graduate forward Tamara Farquhar. At Purdue, she was ranked 11th in program history with 6.5 rebounds per game and recorded six double-doubles.
As a Spartan, she's made her face prominent in the starting five over the last three games, replacing junior guard Moira Joiner after an injury Joiner faced in the game against Valparaiso. Farquhar has made a good replacement at the four for junior forward Julia Ayrault and senior forward Tory Ozment, who are on injury reserve this season, and she averages 7.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
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