No. 15 MSU Opens Junkanoo Jam Against LSU Friday

Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant gestures from courtside in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
By  | 

EAST LANSING, Mich. - No. 15/16 Michigan State women’s basketball heads to warmer temperatures playing in the Junkanoo Jam for the third time, Nov. 29-30. The Spartans will begin the tournament taking on LSU on Friday, Nov. 29 at 5:15 p.m.

• This will be only the fourth meeting between the Spartans and the Tigers with MSU looking for its first win. The teams have not met since 2007. On Nov. 30, Michigan State will take on either Kansas State or Memphis who will meet at 3 p.m.

• Taryn McCutcheon is nearing several milestones as a Spartan. With 937 career points, McCutcheon is just 63 points away from becoming the 28th member of the 1,000-point club. She is also third in career assists with 486. She is just 88 helpers away from passing current MSU assistant coach Kristin Haynie who had 574 career assist during her Spartan career (2001-05).

• Michigan State is 5-0 for the first time since 2012-13, when MSU won its first eight games. Overall, it is the third time under head coach Suzy Merchant that the Spartans have started 5-0, joining 2012-13 and 2008-09.

• Freshman Julia Ayrault had a breakout performance against Hartford. She had a season-high 14 points, including scoring 13-straight for the Spartans. She became the fourth different Spartan player to lead or share the scoring lead this season.

SCOUTING LSU
The Tigers improved to 5-1 this season with a a 64-58 win over Rutgers in Baton Rouge on Nov. 24. LSU also has wins at home against New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana and road victories over Little Rock and Tulane.

LSU has already faced two teams on the Spartans’ schedule this season. The Tigers fell to No. 12 Florida State at home 70-62 on Nov. 9. Michigan State will face the Seminoles in Tallahassee in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge game on Dec. 5. The Spartans will also Rutgers twice in Big Ten action on the road on Jan. 20 and at home on Feb. 13.

The Tigers have three players averaging in double figures led by Khayla Pointer who averages 14.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Faustine Aifuwa scores 13.5 ppg, while Ayana Mitchell averages 12.5 ppg and leads the team with 9.7 rpg.

SPARTANS VS TIGERS SERIES HISTORY
Michigan State is looking for it first win against LSU in the teams’ brief history. The Tigers lead the overall series 3-0 and the teams have not met since 2007. This is the first meeting on neutral territory, as LSU the last meeting in Baton Rouge in 2007 64-41. In the only game in East Lansing, the Tigers won, 64-50. The previous season LSU won 72-52 in Baton Rouge.

LOOKING AHEAD - KANSAS STATE
Kansas State is 3-1 heading into the game with Memphis with its only loss coming against UT Arlington on Nov. 24. The Wildcats also have wins over Omaha, UIC and Oral Roberts.

The Spartans have the only win in the brief history with Kansas State. MSU defeated the Wildcats, 68-65 in East Lansing in 2008.

LOOKING AHEAD - MEMPHIS
Memphis is 3-3 this season heading to the battle with Kansas State. They have won two-straight games with wins over Southern Illinois and Toledo. The Tigers suffered three-straight losses to Eastern Kentucky, Louisiana Tech and George Washington.

Michigan State and Memphis have only met once with the Tigers earning the home win, 59-56 in 2002.

SPARTANS IN JUNKANOO JAM
Michigan State is playing in the Bahamas for the third time, after playing in the Junkanoo Jam in the 2009-10 season, going 2-0 with a 78-47 win over George Washingon on Nov. 27, 2009 and a wild, 93-90 double-OT win over Oklahoma State on Nov. 28, 2009. Senior Allyssa DeHaan was named the Lucaya Division’s most valuable player, while Kalisha Keane joined her on the all-tournament team.

During the 2015-16 season, the Spartans went 1-1 at the Junkanoo Jam. No. 20 Michigan State topped Cincinnati, 103-63 behind a then-career-high 30 points from Tori Jankoska in its first game. In the final game, MSU fell to No. 5 Baylor, 84-76. Jankoska and Aerial Powers both earned spots on the All-Tournament team.

2019 JUNKANOO JAM
Bimini Division
Kansas state
LSU
Memphis
Michigan State

Junkanoo Division
Georgia Tech
Rutgers
Seton Hall
Vanderbilt