The Michigan State Spartans women’s basketball team hit the road over the past week for a three-game road trip. MSU went 1-2 in the away matchups, while adding a home win over Marshall ahead of the game tonight against the No. 24/25 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 14th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Michigan State 68, Fordham 71
First up on the road was a game in the Bronx on Sunday, Nov. 21 against the Fordham Rams. The Spartans lost a close one in Rose Hill Gym, falling 71-68 to Fordham.
The game moved Michigan State to 4-1 on the season, while Fordham moved to 3-1. Senior guard Nia Clouden led the Spartans with 22 points to go with her five rebounds. The game marked her second-straight 20-point game. Graduate student Tamara Farqhuar grabbed 10 rebounds and had a career high four blocks, marking her second straight-game with double-digit rebounds. Junior guard Alyza Winston scored 13 points and freshman guard DeeDee Hagemann added 11 points to round out players with double-figures for MSU.
Michigan State 63, St. Francis Brooklyn 66
Yet another tough loss faced the Spartans in the second-straight road game on Tuesday, Nov. 23 at St. Francis Brooklyn. Michigan State fell to the Terriers by a final score of 66-63.
Michigan State rallied from an 11-13 deficit at the end of the first quarter to lead 32-29 at the half. Both teams managed 19 points in the third quarter, but a late rally by the Terriers, outscoring MSU 18-12 in the final quarter ended with the three-point victory for the home team.
Clouden finished the game with 21 points for her third-straight 20-point game. Freshman forward Matilda Ekh added 14 points and a career-high four steals, while junior Moira Joiner came off the bench to add seven points and six rebounds. Junior forward Taiyier Parks had 10 boards to register her first double-digit rebound performance of the season.
Michigan State 84, Oakland 71
The Spartans snapped the two-game losing streak with a win in Rochester, Michigan over the Oakland Grizzlies on Friday, Nov. 26. MSU won 84-71 thanks to strong first and third quarters, moving to 5-2 on the season and sending the Grizzlies to 2-4.
Five players for Michigan State ended the game in double-figures led by Clouden’s fourth-straight 20-point game. Clouden finished with 23 points while freshman forward Ekh added a career-high 17 points. Also setting a career-high was Parks who fell just shy of a double-double with her 16 points and eight rebounds. Winston added 12 points and senior forward Alisia Smith added 13 points. Hagemann set a career-high 10 assists, leading MSU among individual players in the team’s season-high tying 27 helpers.
Marshall 75, Michigan State 85
The Spartans finally returned from the three game road stand to the Breslin Center on Sunday, Nov. 28 to face off against the Marshall Thundering Herd. Michigan State overcame a halftime deficit of 40-46 to rally in the second half and emerge with an 85-75 win over the Thundering Herd.
The game marked a second-straight win for Michigan State, as the Spartans moved to 6-2 with the win, while Marshall moved to 3-2. The game also saw two players reach the 20-point mark for the first time since Dec. 12, 2020 against Iowa. Clouden led the team with 24 points in her fifth-straight 20-point outing, while adding eight assists and six rebounds. In addition, Smith added a MSU career high 20 points to go along with her six rebounds. Hagemann scored a season (and career) high 15 points as well.
No. 24/25 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Preview
The 14th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge brings the No. 24 (AP)/25 (Coaches) ranked Fighting Irish to East Lansing on Thursday night for a big showdown. The game is set for a 6 p.m. EST tip-off and will broadcast on the Big Ten Network with Mike Hall and Meghan McKeown on the broadcast remotely.
This year’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge is the first since 2019, as the Big Ten and ACC decided against all signs of equality and gender equity that holding the event for the women in 2020 wasn’t possible despite doing so for the men. Regardless, the Big Ten won the most recent challenge for the women in 2019, a first in the 13-year history of the event. The Big Ten currently trails this season 2-4 to the ACC after Wednesday's matchups. The league will need to win at least five of the eight games tonight to avoid a loss in the series and six to win.
The Spartans are 6-7 all-time in the challenge, with its last win coming most recently against Virginia in East Lansing in 2018. The matchup against Notre Dame marks the first time the teams will face off as opponents in the challenge, but Notre Dame leads the all-time series against MSU 11-10. The Spartans won the most recent matchup, however, in a 72-69 road win in South Bend on Nov. 14, 2019. The Fighting Irish had won the past seven in the series prior to that. The game tonight marks the first visit to East Lansing by Notre Dame since a 79-61 win by the Irish in 2016.
Notre Dame features four players averaging in double-figures for scoring. The Fighting Irish are led by sophomore forward Maddy Westbeld’s 15.4 points per game. Maya Dodson is second on the team with 12.3 ppg, Dara Mabrey averages 11.9 ppg, and freshman guard Olivia Miles rounds out the list with 11.6 ppg. Dodson is a graduate transfer this year from Stanford, while Mabrey is a senior guard transfer from Virginia Tech. Her sisters, Michaela and Marina are former Notre Dame players.
The Fighting Irish are averaging 79.9 points per game and give up just 57.0. The team is strong on the glass with 45.3 rebounds per game. Notre Dame comes into the matchup having split a pair of games at the Daytona Beach Invitational last week. A 71-67 loss to No. 21 Georgia in overtime was contrasted with a 64-62 win over No. 16/19 Oregon State. Notre Dame has already faced two common opponents to the Spartans, both wins for the Irish, coming over Bryant (94-35) and Fordham (71-56).