After suffering its fourth loss in a row against Purdue last time out, Michigan State women’s basketball (6-4) will look to turn its young season around on the road Sunday against No. 3 Ohio State (9-0).
MSU forces a late game comeback against the Boilermakers, but the Spartans failed to complete the turnaround in overtime. Head Coach Suzy Merchant talked about her team needing to have high energy throughout the game, not just in spurts. Over the past week, that has been a focus on the practice court for her squad.
“Just keep practicing, keep competing, keeping score, losers runs, stuff like that,” Merchant said. “Just kind of getting back to basics a little bit.”
Another point of emphasis over MSU's week of practice was free throws. Between Wednesday and Thursday, players had to make a combined 600 free throws. Sophomore forward Matilda Ekh knows that her team can’t afford to leave that many points at the line down the road.
“I think we have left 30 points in free throws our last three games, that just can’t happen,” Ekh said. “That is what we have been focusing on the past couple of days, ... that's like free points.”
Offensively this season, the Buckeyes have been a juggernaut compared to other Big Ten teams. They rank first in scoring in the conference, averaging 92.7 points a contest. They are led in scoring by senior guard Taylor Mikesell, who puts up 19.2 points an outing, which is good for fifth in the conference.
Ohio State leads the overall series 59-29, with its most recent win coming in the Big Ten Tournament last year. MSU will be looking for some revenge, as that was the game that officially marked the end of its entire season last year.
Ekh says a win against OSU would be huge for momentum purposes, especially coming off four consecutive losses.
“Getting this one would be very important to us,” Ekh said. “Going into Christmas break, a victory would be very, very good for us.”
Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon on Big Ten Network.
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