#22 Michigan State Women's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Michigan State Spartans

Overall Rank: #22
Conference Rank: #3 Big Ten
#22 Michigan State Women's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview
Michigan State Team Page


Michigan State made it to the NCAA Tournament with their defense and rebounding. Coach Suzy Merchant will get the same from this group. Last season the Spartans ranked 13th in the nation in scoring defense and 21st in rebounding. Those numbers should be about the same. The defense will not take big risks and garner too many steals or blocks, but few teams in the nation play better, straight up defense. Rebounding is a team effort and a few departures will not change how effective the Spartans are on the glass.

2012-13 Record: 25-9, 10-6
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Suzy Merchant
Coach Record: 140-62 at Michigan State, 341-182 overall

The Spartans went seven deep last year and five of those seven are back. The versatility of the frontcourt can be very difficult to defend. Becca Mills, a 6-4 junior, can really open up the offense. Her ability to play with her back to the basket or facing the basket almost always makes the opposing defender uncomfortable. Annalise Pickrel is another big forward who can shoot. She knocked down 36.7 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc and led the team with 65 made three-pointers on the year. Jasmine Hines, who is also 6-3, is a more traditional frontcourt bruiser. She could drastically increase on her 7.6 points per game with more work on her free-throws.  Senior guard Klarissa Bell led the team in scoring and rebounding with 10.5 and 6.1 averages, respectively. She will take a large chunk of the big shots for MSU. Kiana Johnson will join Bell in the backcourt. Johnson is a quality scorer too, but she also sets up the offense. Johnson is the main reason why the Spartans ranked second in the conference in turnovers per game.

And Michigan State must continue to win the turnover battle and dominate the glass in order to win games. This is a team that can be stagnant on offense at times and it is up to the defense to keep the Spartans in games even when the offense fails to score for minutes at a time. And getting every extra possession possible is a must. Coach Merchant will also hope to find more perimeter depth in 2013-2014. Last year Bell, Johnson and departed guard Jasmine Thomas all averaged at least 32 minutes per game. The depth was, and still is, in the frontcourt.

Final Projection:
Camille Glymph, Aerial Powers, Tori Jankoska and Branndais Agee are all options in the frontcourt. One of them will likely need to step into the starting lineup to replace Thomas and it would be huge if two others were ready to at least contribute serious minutes off of the bench. Glymph, a transfer from Auburn, has the experience and started a dozen games for the Tigers a year ago. The expectations are high for Jankoska. The Freeland, Michigan native averaged an amazing 30.9 points during her senior season of high school. Powers and Agee both redshirted last season and Agee did play in five games before tearing an ACL. If physically ready to go, Agee should be a major contributor. With all of those other new found options in the backcourt, Michigan State appears to be a deep squad. Even if it takes some time for the newcomers to find their ways, Bell, Johnson, Pickrel, Mills and Hines can carry Michigan State.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Kiana Johnson, Junior, Guard, 9.3 points per game
Camille Glymph, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Klarissa Bell, Senior, Guard, 10.5 points per game
Annalise Pickrel, Senior, Forward, 9.3 points per game
Becca Mills, Junior, Forward, 9.1 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 61.7 (171st in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 52.1 (13, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.3 (99, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.6 (66, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.3 (128, 6)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.7 (102, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.7 (217, 12)
Rebound Margin: 6.9 (21, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.7 (88, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.0 (36, 2)


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