#16 Michigan State Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Michigan State Spartans

Overall Rank: #16
Conference Rank: #3 Big Ten
#16 Michigan State Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview
Michigan State Team Page


With a talented cast of characters that included some in-state talent and out-of-state help, Michigan State once again impressed its fellow Big Ten Conference foes. Outside the conference the Spartans were not as intimidating, but this is mainly due to a tough schedule that included losses to Notre Dame, Florida State and Virginia Tech. Several of the top players are back for another go-round, and that should help Michigan State to another dominant season. But can the Spartans crack the upper echelon and win the Big Ten title outright?

2013-14 Record: 23-10, 13-3
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Suzy Merchant
Coach Record: 163-72 at Michigan State, 364-182 overall

The good news for Michigan State starts in the scoring department, where three of the top four players are back. This should help the Spartans score some points, as Aerial Powers, Tori Jankoska and Becca Mills combined for close to 36 points per game. The team’s top rebounders and stealers are back as well, as Powers averaged over eight boards per game and had 59 steals in 33 contests. With most of the top scoring back and the rebounding looking pretty strong, Michigan State should be in solid shape in both departments. Powers’ ability to swipe the basketball away will be a huge plus for the Spartans in games where a little extra muscle is needed for victories. Jankoska, a native of the Saginaw, Michigan area (Freeland High School), is an ace shooter from the perimeter and that should not change in 2014-2015.

Annalise Pickrel, who was a graduate of Grand Rapids Catholic Central, completed her four-year stint with the Spartans and finished her senior year with 12.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. She was also an ace three-point shooter and slot blocker, and this means the Spartans may suffer in these areas. Although the Spartans return almost half their scoring in terms of starters, the three players gone averaged around 27 points a game. This means the Spartans will need to replace about a third of their scoring. That won’t be easy, but there are enough options back that Michigan State could be successful.

Final Projection:
Michigan State will miss Pickrel, Johnson and Bell, but the returning starters will provide enough of an oomph to help the Spartans to another solid finish in the Big Ten and in the overall circle. Three big tests loom for the Spartans before they even begin Big Ten play. Michigan State takes on Notre Dame at the Breslin Center in East Lansing and then has Baylor and Syracuse as part of the Florida Sunshine Classic. From there, the expanded Big Ten schedule starts just before the New Year and includes an early test against Nebraska. If Michigan State can come out of non-conference play stronger, it could hit 25 wins this year and gain a slightly higher tournament seed once NCAA play begins.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Branndais Agee, Sophomore, Guard, 5.9 points
Tori Jankoska, Sophomore, Guard, 12.4 points per game
Jasmine Lumpkin, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Aerial Powers. Sophomore, Forward, 13.4 points per game
Becca Mills, Senior, Forward, 10.0 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.3 (56th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.8 (88, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.5 (31, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.0 (69, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.2 (101, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.0 (68, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.2 (115, 10)
Rebound Margin: 7.3 (23, 2)
Assists Per Game: 16.2 (29, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 16.2 (196, 11)

Madness 2014 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#53 Jasmine Lumpkin


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