Jan. 6, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Jasmine Thomas (1) passes the ball against Penn State Lady Lions guard Alex Bentley (20) during 2nd half at Jack Breslin Students Events Center. Penn State won 76-55. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Previewing MSU Spartans vs. Northwestern

At 8:00 PM, EST, the Michigan State Spartan Women will face off against the Northwestern Wildcat Women in Evanston, Illinois. So far, Michigan State is 16-4, 4-3 and Northwestern is 10-10 and 2-5. Kiana Johnson, MSU, has been leading MSU in Big Ten games  – 13.6 points per game, 3.6 assists, and 2.6 steals. Teammate Klarissa Bell has the overall Spartans lead with 12.0 points. Northwestern’s points leader has a 15.0 points per game average, so the Spartans will have to work hard to keep the ball from Hackney in order to win.

Johnson has led MSU in the last games with an 18.7 point per game average, including her career high of 22 points in the game against Nebraska. Annalise Pickrel is 37 for 106 for three pointers.

The Wildcats have a balanced team with five scorers ranked in the top 30 for the Big Ten for points. However, the Spartans lead the Wildcats in wins 38-22, with a 17 game winning streak over the Wildcats. In the last meeting, the Spartans closed out their season against the Wildcats with a 76-57 win.

The keys to winning tonight’s game will rest upon the Spartans’ ability to get the ball down the court and score. MSU has done well this season in their away games, and Suzy Merchant has a lot of confidence that they will keep that trend up. MSU’s defensive ability is very strong, but they need to make sure they keep the ball when they are on the offense. They have previously been very effective in locking down the lead scorer, though against Purdue they struggled in doing this. The women will also need to be careful about fouls to keep the opposing team out of the bonus.

The possible starting five for MSU will be:

  • #0 Kiana Johnson
  • #1 Jasmine Thomas
  • #31 Klarissa Bell
  • #24 Courtney Schiffauer
  • #4 Jasmine Hines

Are you tuning in? They won’t be on TV tonight, but they will be broadcast over the radio and online.

Tags: Michigan State Spartans Northwestern Wildcats Women's Basketball

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