I would be lying if I told you that I follow women’s college basketball as closely as I do men’s college basketball, but I think it’s time we all start paying attention to the ladies of the Michigan State program. Suzy Merchant’s team is off to an 8-1 start, and is coming off of a huge upset win against the (at the time) No. 3-ranked Oregon Ducks.
Michigan State, now ranked at No. 23, has won five games in a row. The squad’s only loss came on Nov. 22 in the Cancun Classic in Mexico against the North Carolina State Wolfpack — a team that is currently 10-0 and ranks No. 10 in the country.
The MSU women handed Oregon its only loss so far this season, and also have wins against Virginia, Oakland, Bowling Green, Texas Southern, Wright State, Kennesaw State, and East Tennessee State.
Following finals week, the Spartans return to the court for a matchup at Hartford on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. MSU then rounds out its non-conference schedule with a home meeting against Florida Atlantic before opening Big Ten Play against Iowa on Dec. 30.
Statistically, the Spartans are strong. MSU is averaging 86.6 points per game while only allowing 63.3 points per contest. The team is shooting .488 percent from the floor, .430 from the three-point line and .693 from the free throw line. Defensively, the women are allowing opposing offenses to shoot just .388 percent from the field and .323 from beyond the arc, while their opponents are making .654 percent from the charity stripe.
The team is led by senior center Jenna Allen, who averages 16.4 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game, while making nearly 58 percent of her shots. Junior guard Shay Colley has missed some time, but is contributing 13.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists. Guards Taryn McCutcheon and Nia Clouden score about 12 points per game, while McCutcheon is averaging about 6.4 assists per game and Clouden dishes out about 4.9 dimes in each contest.
The Spartans are off to a fantastic start. Let’s hope they can keep it up.