MSU'S KEY TO WINNING ITS FIRST OUTRIGHT BIG TEN TITLE

     I'm talking women's basketball here.  Michigan State has never won an outright women's Big Ten basketball title.  The Spartans have shared crowns in 1997 and 2005 under coaches Karen Langeland and Joanne P. McCallie.  After Ohio State wins at home Sunday over last place Northwestern, right, both OSU and MSU will be 11-3 with four games remaining.
    The Spartans four are home with Michigan next Thursday, then at Wisconsin and home against both Minnesota and Purdue.  The first two games should be wins and the last two they'll be favored but MSU doesn't really overpower any one.
     MSU may have to win all four to finish 15-3 and share with the Buckeyes.  But MSU can only do it, in my opinion, with the one weapon it has that no one else across the country has-- a veteran and experienced 6-9 center in Allyssa DeHaan. 
     She scored 20 points to go with 10 rebounds and six blocked shots in Thursday's overtime win at Indiana.  She played 41 of 45 minutes even though her foot is a problem.  But she'll have to play over it.  She needs to look to score, in my opinion, every time she gets the ball and she needs it in the low post.  When she doesn't score her team tends to struggle more.
     I kind of think it's up to DeHaan how far MSU goes from here.  If she asserts herself and takes true ownership of her team, then MSU can do some things in the post season.  If she's average then her team is average at best.
     It's an awful year in women's Big Ten basketball, the worst top to bottom I can remember.  But someone has to win the league title and no one will remember how good or bad the league was, so if the Spartans can win they can revel in a rare success in this sport.
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