#37 Michigan State Women's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Michigan State Spartans
Overall Rank: #37
Conference Rank: #7 Big Ten
 Michigan State Logo
Michigan State snuck into the NCAA Tournament last year; the tenth appearance under Coach Suzy Merchant. The Spartans lost in the first round to Iowa State, but now the team’s top seven scorers including all five starters are back. That should lead to yet another NCAA Tournament appearance for the Spartans.
2020-21 Record: 15-9, 8-7
2020-21 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Suzy Merchant
Coach Record: 296-157 at Michigan State, 497-277 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Janai Crooms, Guard, 5.1 ppg
Kendall Bostic, Forward, 4.2 ppg
Mardrekia Cook, Forward, 3.6 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Nia Clouden, Senior, Guard, 18.7 ppg
Alyza Winston, Junior, Guard, 11.1 ppg
Julia Ayrault, Junior, Guard, 9.0 ppg
Alisia Smith, Senior, Forward, 8.7 ppg
Taiyier Parks, Junior, Forward, 7.8 ppg
Tory Ozment, Senior, Guard/Forward, 6.9 ppg
Moira Joiner, Junior, Guard, 5.9 ppg
Brooklyn Rewers, Freshman, Center, 2.4 ppg
Jayla James, Junior, Guard, 1.4 ppg
Laurel Jacqmain, Senior, Guard, 0.8 ppg
Key New Players
Isaline Alexander, Freshman, Forward
Matilda Ekh, Sophomore, Guard/Forward
Tamara Farquhar, Senior, Forward, Transfer from Purdue
DeeDee Hagemann, Freshman, Guard
Lauren Walker, Freshman, Forward
Nia Clouden led Michigan State with 18.7 points, 3.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game. The 5-8 senior also added 4.2 rebounds and connected on 33 three-pointers. Clouden is a great leader on the floor, but there is plenty of experience around her too. Alyza Winston was the only other double-digit scorer on the team and proved to be a very dangerous shooter. Moira Joiner is the other major shooting threat on the team and should again play that role off the bench. Julia Ayrault and wing Tory Ozment were regular starters last season and both are dynamic scorers who are at least a threat to shoot the ball from outside. Ayrault is a big 6-2 guard who led the team in blocks. The frontcourt will again revolve around Alisia Smith and Taiyier Parks. Smith averaged 8.7 points and 6.2 rebounds, while Parks added 7.8 points and 6.0 rebounds. Those two averaged fewer than 20 minutes each, but the Spartans can play both of them together as needed, but with plenty of size on the perimeter, MSU can certainly play with one forward very effectively. The addition of Purdue transfer Tamara Farquhar will add another tough rebounder in the paint. Coach Merchant has also brought in a very good recruit in DeeDee Hagemann who can make an impact right away. With all of that depth and experience, Michigan State should be a consistent team. That may not result in a big move up the Big Ten standings, but it should result in another trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.2 (29th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.8 (240, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.8 (31, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.3 (259, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (119, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.0 (90, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.2 (234, 13)
Rebound Margin: 3.1 (82, 4)
Assists Per Game: 16.9 (12, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.3 (83, 7)
Madness 2021 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#29 Damiya Hagemann