The Michigan State Spartans women’s basketball team was dealt a key blow to its guard depth, when it was reported on Thursday that starting guard Alyza Winston has left the program, effective immediately, and entered the transfer portal.
Winston started all 10 games for the Spartans so far this season, averaging 26.7 minutes per game and was the second-leading scorer on the roster with 12.2 points per game to go with 3.0 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.6 rebounds per game. The junior guard was one of eight players in the main rotation for Michigan State. which was already entering the season short-handed after losing senior Tory Ozment and junior Julia Ayrault to season-ending injuries prior to the start of the season.
MSU welcomes Illinois to the Breslin Center tonight (Thursday) for the second game of early league play. The Spartans enter the matchup at 6-4 (0-1 Big Ten), while Illinois enters the matchup at 4-4 (0-0). Fans attending are encouraged to wear ugly holiday sweaters and bring a durably toy or tossable/soft toy that can be thrown on the court at halftime as part of the Toy Drive Night being hosted by the team.
Join us tomorrow for our Toy Drive Night! Doors open at 5:30pm! Donation bins will be at each entrance for durable toys and tossable/soft toys can be thrown on the court at halftime. We’re calling it our ! Please wear your ugly holiday sweaters! pic.twitter.com/XbnNoqVzQW— Michigan State Women's Basketball (@MSU_WBasketball) December 8, 2021
The games marks Michigan State’s home conference season opener and the Spartans hold a 24-10 mark in East Lansing against Illinois. Overall, the game marks the 74th meeting all-time between the two programs, with MSU leading the series 45-28. Illinois has lost night-straight games in the series dating back to 2014, which was also the last win in East Lansing in a 71-61 victory over the Spartans on Jan. 23, 2014.
Illinois features Kendall Bostic, a Michigan State transfer who spent her first season in East Lansing last year, who is averaging 11.5 rebounds per game, good for 13th nationally and best in the conference. Also on the team is East Lansing native Aaliyah Nye, who leads the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game, good for 18th in scoring in the Big Ten. Nye is the only player averaging double-figures in scoring.
The game tips at 7 p.m. EST and will stream on the subscription only service B1G+.
Spartans fall at No. 9/11 Iowa
Michigan State was on the road in Iowa City this past Sunday to take on the No. 9/11 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten opener for both teams. The Spartans fell to Iowa 88-61.
After falling behind 20-14 in the first quarter, the Spartans managed to outscore Iowa 23-19 in the second quarter to cut the Hawkeyes’ lead to just two heading into the locker room. Iowa came out hot in the third quarter, however, outscoring MSU 33-11 to take a commanding lead. Iowa went on to finish the game 88-61 with Caitlyn Clark hitting a triple-double of 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
Nia Clouden had her 20-point game game streak snapped at six, as she managed just 18 points in the road loss, while still leading Michigan State in scoring. DeeDee Hagemann was second on the team in scoring with 12 points along with her six assists. Tamara Farquhar also hit double-figures on the day with 10 points.
The lone bright spot in the loss was Michigan State entered this week leading the nation in total assists with 196, and ranked eighth nationally in assists per game with 19.6.