After losing its third game in a row, Michigan State women’s basketball (10-8, 2-5) will attempt to break that streak against arguably the best player in the country in Caitlin Clark and the No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes (14-4, 6-1).
Besides the All-American Clark, Iowa has other players that can fill it up as well. Fifth-year forward/center Monika Czinano averages 17.7 points per contest, which is good for sixth in the Big Ten.
Head Coach Suzy Merchant knows that her defense is in for a battle with a potent Hawkeye offense:
“Caitlin Clark's the best player in the country,” Merchant said. “She makes plays when they need them. Their post players are good and as efficient as anyone in the league. They surround themselves with really great shooters. They do score the ball extremely well. They're averaging 93 points a game in conference, so it's not just like a game or two. It's pretty consistent.”
Michigan State has struggled to close games all season long and Merchant said that they will have to be all gas and no brakes for all 40 minutes against the 10th best team in the country.
“It's a great challenge for our team, for sure," Merchant said. "And we've proven we can kind of step up there, but now we have to finish it. We got to play a complete game.”
After a tough performance against Michigan that followed a career night against Wisconsin, senior guard Moira Joiner said that consistency is something her team has been focusing on in practice.
“We've been just focusing on our effort and practice and our work ethic,” Joiner said. “What we want to do is be consistent and it takes hard work. We want to practice how we play. So if we get it done here today, we can do it tomorrow."
Graduate guard Kamaria McDaniel led MSU against the Wolverines with 12 points, which was good for her sixth straight game with double-figure scoring. She leads the team in that category with 14 double-digit outings on the season.
Sophomore forward Matilda Ekh made history for MSU against Michigan when she hit a 3-pointer on the first possession to tie Taylor Alton for the 14th most makes from beyond the arc as a Spartan. She has made 116 throughout her year and a half in East Lansing.
The Hawkeyes lead the Spartans in all time matches with a 41-30 record. Michigan State is 17-15 in games at home. Last time out, Iowa clobbered MSU 88-61 in Iowa City in Dec. 2021. Clark recorded a triple-double that game with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. The Spartans won their last game against the Hawkeyes at home though, coming out on top 86-82 around a year before their most recent loss.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. streaming on Big Ten Plus.