Sunday, February 25, 2024

Preview: Michigan State looks to end three-game skid in start of conference play

December 5, 2022
<p>Sophomore guard Matilda Ekh (11) drives toward the basket during a game against Georgia Tech, held at the Breslin Center on Dec. 1, 2022. The Spartans fell to the Yellow Jackets 63-66.</p>

Sophomore guard Matilda Ekh (11) drives toward the basket during a game against Georgia Tech, held at the Breslin Center on Dec. 1, 2022. The Spartans fell to the Yellow Jackets 63-66.

Photo by Jack Patton | The State News

After dropping its third straight game of the season to Georgia Tech last Thursday, Michigan State women's basketball (6-3) will try to get back on track in its first game of Big Ten play against Purdue (7-1).

The Boilermakers come into the Breslin Center with a two-game win streak after downing Syracuse in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge last week, winning by nine.

Fifth-year senior guard Lasha Petree leads the way for Purdue, as she ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 27th in the NCAA at 19.9 points per game. She also shoots the ball very efficiently, hitting on 53.4% of her shots from the field and 35.1% of them from beyond the arc. Senior guard Jeanae Terry is also a leader for the Boilermakers, as she dishes out eight assists per contest, which leads the Big Ten and is second overall in the country.

While Purdue leads the series history 43-27, MSU has won three out of the last four between the two squads. Last time they faced off, the Spartans ended Purdue's Big Ten Tournament title hopes with a 73-69 win in the first round.

Despite the recent losses, MSU has been getting lots of production from graduate guard Kamaria McDaniel and sophomore forward Matilda Ekh. In the last two games, McDaniel has combined for 54 points and eight assists while Ekh has put up 28 points on 50% shooting from the field.

Head Coach Suzy Merchant knows that in order to succeed in games like this against quality conference opponents, her squad will need to clean up the areas that have been obviously subpar in recent losses.

"We have an opportunity for us to continue to build and get better," Merchant said. "We don't have time for 60% from the free throw line and 25 turnovers and people to just kind of be vanilla out there. We need people to level up and step up and compete kind of find those guys that we can go to that are going to be consistent night in and night out."

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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