Thursday, February 2, 2023

Preview: MSU women's hoops looking to collect another conference victory over No. 13 Maryland

January 7, 2023
<p>Freshman guard DeeDee Hagemann (0) prepares for a shot. MSU lost to Maryland at the Breslin Center 67-62 on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022.</p>

Freshman guard DeeDee Hagemann (0) prepares for a shot. MSU lost to Maryland at the Breslin Center 67-62 on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022.

Photo by Sheldon Krause | The State News

Michigan State women’s hoops is looking to add a fifth consecutive win on Saturday afternoon against Maryland. 

The Spartans have defeated their past two conference opponents, most recently with a 71-64 victory over Northwestern on Monday night. 

During Monday's game, the Spartans stunned the crowd, going 8-9 from the line in the first two quarters. However, the green and white fell short in the fourth quarter when they were 5-14 from the line, causing them to remain the worst ranked free throw shooting team in the conference.

The Spartans will need to perform similarly to Monday's first half at the line, especially against the Terrapins, the best free throw shooting team in the Big Ten.

Senior forward Taiyier Parks has been an asset to the team both on and off the floor since her return from injury. She played a season high of 25 minutes against Northwestern and notched 17 points.

Head coach Suzy Merchant noted that while Parks’s performance on the court has been telling, she’s noticed a shift in her overall mentality as well. 

“I think she’s really working from a place of confidence and that’s what we need her to do,” Merchant said.

Other players who stepped up on Monday night were sophomore guard/forward Matilda Ekh and graduate student guard Kamaria McDaniel

Ekh collected a season-high 21 points and recorded four assists alongside McDaniel’s 13 points and two assists. 

Merchant said she needs other players to step up offensively throughout the rest of the season, especially heading into rigorous conference play. 

Scouting the Terrapins

The Terrapins (12-3) are coming off a five game winning streak, with their latest victory coming against Rutgers on the road Monday. 

Three players to look for are senior guards Diamond Miller, Lavender Briggs and Abby Meyers. All three have scored over 1,000 points during their collegiate career.

Meyers notched 22 of Maryland’s 78 points on Monday along with five assists, while Miller picked up 15 total points. 

The last time the two teams met was on Feb. 3, 2022, when the Spartans fell to the Terrapins 67-62 at home. 

Head coach Suzy Merchant said that Maryland’s roster looks completely different from the team they faced last season. 

“They have five transfers, they play seven kids and all five of those transfers do play a lot,” Merchant said. “This year’s team is smaller and at times they go five out.”

While Merchant described head coach Brenda Frese's 2021-22 team as big and powerful, the Terrapins 2022-23 roster has proven just as strong, despite the decrease in size.

"They're just efficient scorers who can score the ball," Merchant said. "I think Brenda's done a really good job of saying okay we lost all of this and that's how we played last year, but this is how we're going to adjust to play this year.”

The green and white last defeated Maryland on Jan. 17 during the 2018-19 season. MSU will look to repeat this effort, build on its momentum and come away with another win in the ultra-competitive Big Ten.

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“We can’t let up just because we had a couple of good games,” Parks said. “The Big Ten is in a whirlwind right now, anyone can win at any given night.”

The matchup will be on Big Ten + and tipoff is set for 1 p.m.

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