The Spartans defeated Illinois 69-53 on Wednesday evening in Champaign, Ill. Before the game, MSU announced some shocking news.
Prior to tip-off, it was announced that junior guard, Kiana Johnson had been suspended. There has been no further comment or statement from the team besides the official statement.
“Kiana Johnson has been suspended indefinitely from the Michigan State women’s basketball team due to a violation of team rules,” the official statement said.
In the past couple of interviews with head coach Suzy Merchant, issues with Johnson seemed to unveil themselves. After the Spartans’ 51-61 loss to Illinois on Jan. 23, Merchant seemed very unhappy with Johnson.
“Probably our biggest problem right now is Kiana (Johnson),” Merchant said. “She’s 2-20 in the last two games. It’s killing us and she’s turning the ball over and not really playing with the aggressiveness at least defensively, and running the team and setting people up. I don’t know what’s going on, but we’ve got to get that kid right.”
MSU has played a few games without Johnson this season already. Johnson suffered from a heart infection and missed two games, which also happened to be losses for the Spartans. Johnson was also missing for a road game against Ohio State due to personal issues that were not disclosed.
In the past when Johnson missed games, the Spartans looked to freshman guard, Tori Jankoska to fill the void. Jankoska also started two games against Wisconsin and Purdue after the OSU absence.
The Spartans will stay on the road to play No. 24 Nebraska. The game is set for Feb. ruary 8, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.
Jennifer Aldridge is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: Nubia Buckingham/Impact Sports