Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Preview: Michigan State looks to bounce back at home against Wisconsin

January 11, 2023
<p>Michigan State&#x27;s Alisia Smith (4) up against Wisconsin&#x27;s defense on the game in East Lansing on Saturday, Mar. 6 2021.</p>

Michigan State's Alisia Smith (4) up against Wisconsin's defense on the game in East Lansing on Saturday, Mar. 6 2021.

Photo by Jillian Felton | The State News

Following Saturday’s 94-85 fall to the Terrapins, Michigan State women's basketball will be back at the Breslin Center Wednesday night to face Wisconsin. 

In Saturday’s game, the Spartans handled the first half with strong offensive efforts, but fell short in the third quarter, allowing Maryland to get a hold of the lead. 

While the green and white were able to shorten the Terrapins' lead in the final few minutes of play, they failed to complete the comeback in the fourth quarter.

— Michigan State Women's Basketball (@MSU_WBasketball) January 7, 2023

31 points in the fourth quarter! Spartans never stop!! pic.twitter.com/4BUWqGxZ5O

“I think our lack of offense led to our inability to seem to want to guard the ball better,” Head Coach Suzy Merchant said. “Usually your defense has to get better when things aren’t going your way at the offensive end. That happened in one quarter, and we didn’t really punch back there.”

Sophomore guard/forward Matilda Ekh had trouble finding her offensive groove on Saturday, unable to sink her first basket until midway through the second quarter. Ekh then managed to find her rhythm, collecting a team-high of 20 points by the end of the game.

A few team veterans had standout performances, including senior forward Taiyier Parks, who picked up 12 rebounds, senior guard Moira Joiner and senior guard/forward Tory Ozment each collected five assists.

19 of MSU’s baskets on Saturday were converted from behind the arc, setting both a school-high and putting the Spartans in the record book next to Iowa and Minnesota for most 3-pointers in a Big Ten game. The green and white have also now attempted the most 3-pointers in a game (44) in Big Ten history. 

— Michigan State Women's Basketball (@MSU_WBasketball) January 10, 2023

𝟭𝟵 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗲𝗲-𝗽𝗼𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀 scored by the Spartans in the game against #13 Maryland set the program record for the most three-point field goals in one game! #RiseUp × #SpartanStrongHER pic.twitter.com/BamQATTZQe

“I was actually surprised when I saw the stat sheet,” Merchant said. “I knew that we made quite a few but I didn’t know it was 19 and I certainly didn’t feel like we shot 44 3's.”

Scouting the Opponent

Wisconsin (5-11 overall) is coming off an 81-77 conference win versus Minnesota on Sunday. Prior to the victory over the Golden Gophers, the Badgers suffered back-to-back losses to Illinois and Purdue. 

Guards to look for are senior Julie Pospisilova, junior Brooke Schramek and graduate student Avery LaBarbera. Pospisilova and LaBarbera each collected 20 of Wisconsin’s 81 points and seven rebounds while LaBarbera picked up seven assists. Schramek picked up 14 points and eight rebounds.

“They have got a freshman center that's super athletic," Merchant said. "Five kids in double figures, they'll find your weakness and break you down."

The last time the Spartans faced the Badgers was Feb. 16 in Madison when the green and white outlasted their opponent, 74-67.

MSU will look to collect consecutive wins over Wisconsin. The game is set to tip off at 7 p.m. and will be available for streaming on Big Ten Plus.

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