Michigan State Women's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Michigan State Spartans
Big Ten (24-8, 10-6)


The expectations for Michigan State were quite low with the loss of their top three players from last season. However, Coach Suzy Merchant found a formula that works. The Spartans do not have a superstar, but they do have seven players who have stepped up their game and turned into an unselfish team that can win games.

Big Wins: 12/20 vs Texas Tech (50-48), 2/4 Michigan (61-46), 2/28 at Purdue (68-61)
Bad Losses: 1/27 Purdue (62-67), 2/16 at Michigan (69-70), 2/25 at Ohio State (60-67)
Coach: Suzy Merchant

Why They Can Surprise:
What this team does is play great defense. MSU does not go after steals or block a lot of shots, they simply play tough, straight up defense. And with an inconsistent offense, the defense must remain strong. The good news offensively is the team’s balance. All seven players who are in the regular rotation are a threat to score. Forward Annalise Pickrel is a great shooter from long range and guards Klarissa Bell and Kiana Johnson are not bad from long range either. Jasmine Hines and Courtney Schiffauer are the more traditional interior scorers. However, it is part-time starter Becca Mills that can open up the offense. Her ability to play with her back to the basket or facing the basket can be very difficult to defend since Mills stands 6-4.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The Spartans usually win the turnover battle, despite not forcing many of their own, and out rebound their opposition. That means it often comes down to how well the offense is executing. Players like Bell, Johnson and Jasmine Thomas often must create something out of nothing at the end of the shot clock and that does not usually work out very well. Another issue to watch out for is the lack of overall team depth. The Spartans seven player rotation rarely goes much deeper than that and, if it does, it is not for long. The depth is in the frontcourt so foul trouble is not a huge concern. However, tired legs for Bell, Johnson and Thomas in the backcourt are a concern. Bell will guard the opposition’s best scoring guard and the effort put in is immense. The longer the season and the game goes on, the tougher it will be for Bell to play shutdown defense and create offense.

Probable Starters:
Kiana Johnson, Sophomore, Guard, 9.2 ppg, 4.2 apg, 2.0 spg
Jasmine Thomas, Senior, Guard, 10.4 ppg, 3.1 apg, 5.3 rpg
Klarissa Bell, Junior, Guard, 11.1 ppg, 2.8 apg, 5.9 rpg
Courtney Schiffauer, Senior, Forward, 6.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg
Becca Mills, Sophomore, Forward, 9.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Jasmine Hines, Sophomore, Center, 7.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Annalise Pickrel, Junior, Forward, 9.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 63.1 (141st in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 51.6 (12, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.4 (103, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.4 (58, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.4 (118, 5)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.2 (88, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.8 (237, 11)
Rebound Margin: 7.8 (18, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.7 (102, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.9 (32, 2)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2012    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Louisville
2011    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Northern Iowa
2011    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to Green Bay
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Bowling Green
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Kentucky
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Middle Tennessee State
2009    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Duke
2009    NCAA    Regional Semifinal loss to Iowa State
2008    NIT        Second Round win over Bowling Green
2008    NIT        Third Round win over Kansas
2008    NIT        Fourth Round win over Michigan
2008    NIT        Semifinal win over North Carolina State
2008    NIT        Final loss to Marquette

*all team stats through 3/7


See All Women’s Basketball Postseason Capsules