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MSU Women’s Basketball Week One Recap: 500th win, 3-0 start, 2022 early signees, and B1G Freshman of the Week

Syndication: Lansing State Journal Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Michigan State Spartans women’s basketball team finished the first week of the 2021-2022 season in style. There is really no other way to put it for such a stellar, news-filled opening week of action. MSU moved to 3-0 on the season with wins over Morehead State, Niagara and Valparaiso. In addition, head coach Suzy Merchant hit her 500th career win as a head coach, the early signing period for the 2022 class came and went with some notable additions, and freshman guard DeeDee Hagemann was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week. So without further ado, let’s break down the past week.

Record-Setting Win

The Spartans opened the season last week on Nov. 9 against Morehead State in an afternoon matchup at the Breslin Center. Michigan State prevailed 91-31, fueled in part by a school record 17 three-pointers.

Overall, the Spartans went 17-of-28 from behind the line with six players scoring in double-figures. Junior guard Alyza Winston led the team with 20 points, while senior guard Nia Clouden added 15. Winston also hit a career-high in steals, grabbing six, while Clouden led in assists with seven. Senior guard Laurel Jacqmain had a career-high 11 points coming off the bench, while freshman guards Mathilda Ekh scored 11 and Deedee Hagemann scored 10 in their debut as a Spartans. Junior guard Moira Joiner also scored 10 points.

Michigan State started out fast, and didn’t really let up after jumping out to a 22-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Eagles managed to keep it just a tad bit closer in the second quarter, getting outscored 19-10.

In the third quarter, Winston accounted for well over a third of Michigan State’s scoring. Winston scored 10 of MSU’s 26 points, single-handedly outscoring Morehead State’s six points in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Spartans held the Eagles to a slightly lower difference in scoring, besting the visitor 26-7. Overall, all 13 players in uniform on the bench for Michigan State saw game action in this one.

2022 Class Early Signing Day

Last Wednesday wasn’t just the early signing day for the men’s basketball team. The women’s team added two big prospects for the 2022 class, included one player who comes from strong Spartan lineage. Michigan State added two National Letters of Intent from Theryn Hallock and Abbey Kimball, both from Grand Rapids.

Hallock attends Forest Hills Central and is a 5-foot-11 guard. During her junior season last year, she reached the 1,000-career point mark while averaging 23.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 6.6 steals per game. She has earned three-time all-conference honors, including first-team honors as a junior, and was a first-team all-state honoree as well. Hallock is also considered one of the favorites for 2022 Miss Michigan Basketball. Her father, Ty Hallock, played football for Michigan State before continuing onto a NFL career. Her brother, Tanner, was also on the football team at MSU, and her other brother, Tate, is currently a redshirt-sophomore on the team, listed at safety.

Meanwhile, Kimball plays for West Catholic High School as a 5-foot-10 guard. She is rated at the No. 18 player in the nation at her position, and the No. 80 player overall in the country by HoopGurlz. Kimball averaged 22.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 5.0 steals per game as a junior while being selected to the Michigan Associated Press All-State first-team and the Grand Rapids Dream Team first-team. She is a three-time captain who hit the 1,000 career point mark as a junior last season and captured first-team all-conference honors for three-straight seasons. Kimball is also a candidate for 2022 Miss Michigan Basketball.

Spartans move to 2-0

The Spartans got off to a fast start in a Sunday win over Niagara. The Ohio State Buckeyes men’s basketball team sure needed a lesson from the Michigan State women’s team in this one folks (Ohio State narrowly defeated Niagara, 84-74), as the Spartans started off hot and never truly let up.

Fueled by a 28-8 first quarter, Michigan State powered past the Purple Eagles by a final score of 89-65. Winston once again led the team in scoring with 17 points, and added in a career-high six assists just for good measure. Clouden scored the first six points of the game, and finished the game with 12 points. Hagemann and junior forward Taiyier Parks both scored 11 points. While Winston had a career-high assist total, Hagemann had seven assist for the game high.

Hagemann earns Big Ten Freshman of the Week

Highly-touted freshman guard DeeDee Hagemann was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday. Hagemann scored in double-figures in both games in her debut first week as a Spartan, while adding five and seven assists, respectively.

Hagemann averaged 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while also averaging 6.0 assists. She became the ninth Spartan all-time to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week accolades, and the first since Nia Clouden last did on Dec. 31, 2018.

Spartans earn Suzy Merchant’s 500th Career Win

Michigan State moved to 3-0 on the season for the seventh-straight season, but even more impressively powered past the Valparaiso Beacons to earn head coach Suzy Merchant her 500th career win in a 73-62 victory on Tuesday night.

Merchant officially holds a 500-277 career record as a head coach with the win over Valparaiso. She also moved to 299-157 in her career record at Michigan State. With one more win, Merchant would become just the second head coach in MSU women’s basketball history to win 300 games at the helm. Karen Langeland is the sole Spartan right now with that distinction, holding a 376-290 record in East Lansing. However, Merchant is far closer right now in Big Ten wins, trailing Langeland’s 156 career league wins in Big Ten action by just 12.

The Spartans overcame early turnover trouble in in this one to power past the Beacons for the win. Michigan State outscored Valparaiso 23-12 in the first quarter and 24-16 in the third quarter, but struggled 13-16 in the second quarter and 13-18 in the fourth quarter.

Michigan State had four players score in double-figures in this game, marking the third-straight game at least four have done so. Clouden led the team with 18 points, while grabbing nine rebounds, and dishing out seven assists. Meanwhile, graduate student forward Tamara Farquhar scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to notch the first double-double for the team. Winston scored 17 points as well, while Freshman forward Matilda Ekh added 11 points as well.

Michigan State will conclude its four-game homestand against Bryant on MSU Day on Friday, Nov. 19 at 12 p.m. at the Breslin Center, before hitting the road for three-straight games.

Coach Merchant Post Valparaiso Remarks