Michigan State women's basketball is looking to navigate through the waters of Niagara on Sunday for the second victory in their four-game homestand. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. on Big Ten+. The game is being put on in appreciation for all military personnel, so admissions for active duty members and veterans will be free.
Last time out, the Spartans (1-0) trampled Morehead State into the mud, 93-31. They collected a program record of 17 three-pointers and junior guard Alyza Winston recorded a career-high of six steals. Graduate student guard Laurel Jacqmain recorded a career-high of 11 points, highlighted by back-to-back treys in the fourth quarter.
They've shown they can fill in the gaps left by junior guard Julia Ayrault and senior guard/forward Tory Ozment nicely by being flexible at the four.
Women's basketball Head Coach Suzy Merchant is also nearing some exciting milestones, establishing herself as one of the premier coaches in MSU history and in the Big Ten conference.
After last week's victory, her overall MSU record stands 297-157 and her career record stands 498-277. She is looking to become the second MSU women's basketball coach to capture 300 wins – Karen Langeland, who was the head coach from 1976-2000, is the all-time leader in program history with a 376-290 record.
Niagara was in the mitten-state on Friday as well, where they lost to Oakland 77-64. The Purple Eagles are 1-1 overall after an 81-71 comeback win in their home opener against Loyola Maryland, where four of their players recorded double-digits in points.
MSU holds an overall series lead over Niagara, 1-0, after a very memorable 116-50 win on Nov. 8, 2008 at the Breslin. In that game, the Spartans set the record for margin of victory, winning by 66 points, and the record for most points scored in a game. They came close to matching that margin against Morehead, winning by 62 points.
Niagara has been led by the Parker sisters thus far. Junior guard Angel Parker leads the team in scoring, averaging 16 points and 5.5 assists per game. Her younger sister, freshman guard Aaliyah Parker, is second in scoring with 14.5 points per game and leads the team with 9.5 rebounds per game.
While senior guard Nia Clouden has her own lengthy list of preseason honors, Angel Parker was named to the preseason All-MAAC First-Team and the Purple Eagles were selected by their conference to finish seventh this season.
The Spartans roster is heavily weighed on the veteran side, though they did introduce five freshmen in guard DeeDee Hagemann, forward Lauren Walker, guard/forward Matilda Ekh, forward Isaline Alexander and center Brooklyn Rewers. They also introduced Purdue graduate student transfer Tamara Farquhar.
There is a fair mix of old knowledge and new knowledge that might benefit the Spartans on Sunday.
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