Friday, February 3, 2023

Preview: MSU women's basketball to face Oregon in third place game of PKI Tournament

November 27, 2022
<p>Freshman guard Abbey Kimball (2) shoots a basket during a matchup against Florida A&amp;M, held at the Breslin Center on Nov. 17, 2022. The Spartans defeated the Rattlers 109-44.</p>

Freshman guard Abbey Kimball (2) shoots a basket during a matchup against Florida A&M, held at the Breslin Center on Nov. 17, 2022. The Spartans defeated the Rattlers 109-44.

Photo by Jack Patton | The State News

After losing its first game of the season to fifth-ranked Iowa State, Michigan State women's basketball (6-1) will face the No. 18 Oregon Ducks in the third-place game of the Phil Knight Invitational.

Sophomore forward and leading scorer Matilda Ekh is expected to return to the team after missing the game against the Cyclones due to Swedish International Team duties.

Ekh's presence on the court will be a welcome sight for MSU as the team only managed to score 49 points against ISU on a 17-60 shooting from the field and a 2-18 clip from beyond the arc.

The Ducks come into the contest having only lost one game of their five this season. They fell in the semi-finals of the PKI to No. 8 North Carolina by six points.

Oregon is led in scoring by freshman forward Grace VanSlooten, who averages 14 points a contest. She also shoots above 50% at .509.

After being dominated by 6-foot-6 senior forward/center Stephanie Soares last time out, MSU will have to be wary of sophomore center Phillipina Kyei. The 6-foot-8 anchor leads her team in rebounding, snatching 8.6 boards a game.

This will be the fourth-ever meeting between the Spartans and the Ducks, as MSU won the last meeting in East Lansing in 2018. Oregon was 2-0 against the green and white before that matchup.

Head Coach Suzy Merchant wants to see more fight from her team especially against another quality opponent such as Oregon.

"We are at that point right now where we have to man up a little bit," Merchant said. "We are playing another really good team on Sunday. It will be another opportunity to step up."

Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. on ESPN2.

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