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Michigan State Women’s Basketball: Matilda Ekh named Big Ten Freshman of the Week

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Ekh is the second Spartan to win the award this season.

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

The Michigan State Spartans women’s basketball program owes a decent amount of its success to Swedish guard Matilda Ekh. She was named Freshman of the Week by the Big Ten on Monday afternoon.

Ekh has taken on a starting role for Michigan State and she has been vital for the Spartans. Last week, Ekh scored a career-high 20 points against Big Ten opponent Illinois. She is the second MSU player to get the award this year, as freshman guard DeeDee Hagemann was honored last month.

In Thursday’s comeback-win against Illinois, Ekh was 3-for-9 from the three-point line with a steal, three assists and three rebounds. Ekh scored 17 of her 20 points in the second half alone, as the Spartans mounted a comeback from a 38-26 deficit at halftime. MSU outscored Illinois 49-26 in the final 20 minutes.

Ekh is also the first Michigan State freshman to score 20 points in a game since Nia Clouden did during the 2018-2019 season.

She has started all 11 games for the Spartans and is the team’s second-leading scorer with 123 points total and 11.2 points per game. Clouden is Michigan State’s leading scorer at 19.2 points per game.

MSU head coach Suzy Merchant says that Ekh is the team’s top knock-down shooter and is someone who will have a larger impact going forward for a team that is down three would-be starters. Senior Tory Ozment and junior Julia Ayrault are out with injuries, while Alyza Winston entered the transfer portal last week.

“I kept telling DeeDee (Hagemann), ‘You gotta find Matilda (Ekh), she’s got a hot hand, we gotta feed that kid,’” Merchant said. “Everyone on the court should have known where she’s at.”

Michigan State heads to the West Palm Beach Invitational next to play Florida Gulf Coast and West Virginia on Dec. 20 and Dec. 21.