EAST LANSING, Mich. - No. 23/21 Michigan State remains in the Great Lakes State to take on in-state rival Michigan on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. on the Big Ten Network with Lisa Byington and Christy Winters Scott on the call. This is the first meeting of the season between the Spartans and the Wolverines. Overall, MSU stands 14-5 and 4-4 in Big Ten action. Michigan has an overall record of 12-8 and 3-5 mark in league contests.
• This is the first of two regular-season meetings between the Spartans and the Wolverines. In the regular-season finale on March 3, the two squads will meet in East Lansing.
• The Spartans have five players with at least 40 assists this season, led by junior guard Taryn McCutcheon who has 92 assists (4.8 apg). Freshman guard Nia Clouden has 87 total assists (4.6 apg). Shay Colley (48), Jenna Allen (42) and Victoria Gaines (40) also help the Spartans move the ball.
• MSU dished out 25 assists as a team, against Illinois as the Spartans improved to 9-0 when they have 21 or more assists in a game and 14-0 when recording more assists than the opposition.
• Now with 965 career points, Jenna Allen is just 35 points away from becoming the 27th player in Spartan to reach the 1,000 career points plateau. Allen was one rebound shy of a double-double with nine rebounds in the win over Illinois. MSU is now 9-0 this season 15-3 for her career when Allen leads the Spartans in rebounding. The nine rebounds pushes Allen over the 500 career rebounding mark, now with 502 career boards.
The Wolverines are 12-8 overall and 3-5 in B1G action following a 70-60 loss at Indiana on Thursday night in Bloomington. UM trailed for much of the game, but cut the gap to 60-58 with 3:16 to go, but that would be the closest the Wolverines would get, as the Hoosiers closed out the game with a 10-2 run. Senior guard Nicole Munger and freshman forward Naz Hillmon shared leading scoring honors with 16 points apiece, while Hillmon led UM with nine rebounds in her first outing after being named Big Ten Freshman of the Week and to the B1G Player of the Week Honor Roll.
Michigan is second in the B1G and 17th in the NCAA in rebound margin (+8.8), as UM is second in rebounding defense, holding the opposition to 32.4 rpg, while ranking fourth in rebounding offense (41.2 rpg). The Wolverines are third in offensive rebounds (14.4 pg), while ranking 10th in defensive rebounds (26.8 pg), and also lead the B1G in defensive rebound percentage, as 74.0 of their rebounds (535 of 723 total rebounds) are on the defensive glass.
UM is sixth in the B1G in scoring offense (72.0 ppg) and seventh in scoring defense (61.8 ppg), to rank sixth in scoring margin (+10.3). The Wolverines are fourth in the conference in field goal percentage (.442), 13th in 3-point field goal percentage (.294) and 11th in free throw percentage (.674). The Michigan defense is ninth in field goal percentage defense (.398) and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.309). UM is also sixth in assists (15.4 apg), while ranking ninth in steals (7.3 spg) and 12th in blocked shots (3.7 bpg). The Wolverines also third in turnover margin (+1.6).
Three Wolverines average double-figure scoring, led by senior center Hallie Thome with 13.1 ppg, to rank tied for 14th in the B1G in scoring, and also ranks tied for 17th in the league in rebounding (6.2 rpg), as well as 11th in blocks (1.2 bpg). Hillmon is second in both the B1G and NCAA in field goal percentage (.704), behind Iowa’s Megan Gustafson (.713). Hillmon is also tied for 18th in the conference in scoring (12.4 ppg) and leads UM and ranks 15th in the B1G in rebounding (6.6 rpg). Munger rounds out the Wolverine trio of double-figure averages with 11.0 ppg, and ranks fifth in the B1G in 3-point field goal percentage (.345) and tied for fifth in the league in 3-pointers per game (2.1).
Michigan head coach Kim Barnes Arico has a 146-81 record in her seventh season at the helm of the Wolverines. Overall, she has amassed a 416-287 ledger in her 20th season as a collegiate head coach.
SERIES HISTORY VS. MICHIGAN
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Michigan, 70-19. The Spartans have won five of the last six meeting with the Wolverines. Last season, the teams split games with the Wolverines, capturing the win in Ann Arbor on Jan. 23, 74-48. Michigan State stopped Michigan in East Lansing, 66-61.
LAST TIME VS. MICHIGAN
Lexi Gussert scored 11 of her 14 points in the first half to help her team build a double-digit lead and Michigan State held on to beat No. 21 Michigan 66-61 on Feb. 11, 2018.
MSU celebrated its annual Pink Game for breast cancer awareness and Girl Scout Day by packing the Breslin Center with 12,434 fans, which was the eighth-highest attendance in school history.
The Spartans (15-11, 5-8 Big Ten) had lost six straight, playing without one of their best players and a key reserve. The Wolverines (20-7, 9-5) have lost three of four, falling out of contention to win a Big Ten title.
Gussert led a very balanced Spartan attack with 14 points to go along with three rebounds, steals and assists. All nine MSU players that got in the game score at least two points. Both redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee and redshirt-sophomore forward Victoria Gaines both scored nine points and added five rebounds.