Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Preview: MSU women’s basketball heads to Wisconsin in attempt to break three-game losing streak

February 8, 2023

After being swept in their season series last time out by then No. 17 Michigan, Michigan State women’s basketball (11-12, 3-9) heads to Madison to take on Wisconsin for the second time this season. 

About three weeks ago, the Spartans fell at home to the Badgers 84-80 in overtime. Freshman forward Serah Williams had a monster night for UW, scoring 31 points and corralling 13 rebounds. Senior guard Moira Joiner’s career-high 20 points were not enough for MSU to pull out a win. 

Head Women's Basketball Coach Suzy Merchant will miss her fourth straight game as she is still recovering from her medical incident. Associate Head Coach Dean Lockwood will remain as acting head coach for the Spartans. 

After hitting three three-pointers against U-M, sophomore forward Matilda Ekh is now 11th all time in MSU history with 126 career threes made. She recently passed Branndais Agee who had 124 from 2013-2018. Next up on the list is Annalise Pickrel who made 138 shots from beyond the arc from 2010-2014.

A major issue this season for the Spartans has been finishing out comebacks, as all of their losses have been by 10 points or less. Three of their last six losses have been by four points each. 

Wisconsin sits at 7-17 on the season and 2-10 in Big Ten play. They are also on a three game losing skid after falling to Northwestern, Ohio State and Rutgers. 

Like their record, the Badgers sit near the bottom of the conference in scoring defense, allowing an average of 73.2 points per game which ranks 13th in the Big Ten. They rank just one spot higher on offense at 12th in the conference, scoring an average 68.3 points per contest.

Similar to the game against the Spartans, Williams leads her team in scoring with 15 points a game, which is good for third overall in the league. She also records 1.7 blocks a game and is a big reason why her team is so prolific in that area.

MSU is particularly strong at forcing the other team to give the ball away, and Wisconsin is no stranger to turning the ball over as they do so on average 18 times a contest. Expect Michigan State to press the Badgers hard to try and take advantage of their inability to keep a hold of the ball.

While the Badgers lead the series when played in Madison with a record of 19-18, the Spartans have won two of the last three matchups against the Badgers on the road. 

Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on BTN+. 

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