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Michigan women's basketball honors Michigan State with warmup shirts following Monday's shooting

February 17, 2023
<p>University of Michigan graduate forward Emily Kiser dawns the team's specialty warm-ups, showing support for Michigan State after the mass shooting on the University's campus on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023. Courtesy of University of Michigan Athletics.</p>

University of Michigan graduate forward Emily Kiser dawns the team's specialty warm-ups, showing support for Michigan State after the mass shooting on the University's campus on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023. Courtesy of University of Michigan Athletics.

When the Michigan women’s basketball team traveled to Indiana Thursday, the Wolverines had their rivals heavy on their minds

It wasn’t because the two teams were set to square off any time soon, but instead because the Michigan State campus had been victimized by a shooting that left three students dead and five injured just days before. Head Women’s Basketball Coach Kim Barnes Arico and her team paid tribute to the MSU community by donning their rivals’ colors during warmups, wearing white shirts with a green heart and Spartan head in the middle.

Barnes Arico expressed her support for MSU, located just over 60 miles from her campus, as they begin to heal from the tragedy.

 “I can’t imagine what the Michigan State family is feeling right now, but I know our team and we have just incredible young women in our program that know a lot of the people that go to State, I mean they're our neighbors,” Barnes Arico said. “We want to make sure that we are there to support them and be there for them in this terrible time and to really try to fight for change and make a difference in the state of Michigan as well.”

MSU Interim Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dean Lockwood commented on the gesture Friday, speaking publicly for the first time since the tragedy.

 “I didn’t see it, but I did hear about it, and that was a very very thoughtful, very touching gesture on their part, very much appreciated,” Lockwood said.

Barnes Arico said Monday’s events hit close to home for her as a mom and basketball coach, but that she also used it as an opportunity to talk to her players about what’s happening in the country as well as the state.

While they were gathered, the team wrote notes with messages of support that were put in a jar with decorated the words “Spartan Strong” written in green that was then sent to the MSU women’s basketball program. One of the notes came from graduate student forward Emily Kiser.

umich-jar

 “From the day you step on Michigan’s campus you’re told to hate Michigan State, hate green, all of that, but when something that tragic happens, all that kind of goes out the window,” Kiser said. “It’s bigger than basketball. There’s not really much in that moment to really make it better but just to let them know that we’re thinking of them.”

Following Thursday’s game, Indiana Head Women’s Basketball Coach Teri Moren offered her support to the MSU community as well. Moren said she reached out to Suzy Merchant to let her know that she was thinking of everyone.

She said, as a coach, she could only imagine the calls she was receiving from the parents of her players trying to make sure their kids were okay.

 “Even though we’re competitive, at the end of the day we’re all a family here in the Big Ten, and out prayers and our hearts go out to that entire university, and the only thing we can do right now is make sure we’re trying to wrap our arms around each other here a little bit tighter as we move forward,” Moren said.

MSU women’s basketball was originally supposed to travel to Purdue last Wednesday, but the game was postponed. It’s unclear at this time if it will be made up. The Spartans are set to return to the court Saturday against Penn State for what is expected to be an emotional matchup for a community still reeling from tragedy.

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