MSU women’s basketball set to face Nebraska in Big Ten matchup


Sarah Smith

Mo Joiner shoots the ball during Michigan State’s 84-81 overtime loss to No. 10 Iowa on January 18, 2023. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Joseph DesVergnes (Joe Dez), General Assignment Reporter

EAST LANSING — The Michigan State women’s basketball team will end its two-game road trip at the home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Thursday, Feb. 2. The Spartans look to get back to winning ways after suffering an 86-76 loss against No. 22 Illinois over the weekend. 

The Spartans will play their second straight game without head coach Suzy Merchant on the bench. Merchant suffered a medical incident on Jan. 28 that kept her from traveling with the team during its road stretch. 

Assistant coach Dean Lockwood will act as the interim head coach until further notice. 

The Cornhuskers lead the series history 9-5 against the Spartans, and are undefeated in Pinnacle Bank Arena. The last matchup at Nebraska was on Dec. 31, 2019, with the Cornhuskers claiming an 82-71 victory.

The Spartans enter this matchup 11-10 on the season and 3-7 in Big Ten play.  Michigan State is 1-5 in their last six matchups, a drastic fall compared to their 6-0 start to the season.

MSU is third in the Big Ten in assists per game (18.1) and ninth nationally. They are also ranked third in the Big Ten in steals per game (11.0). 

Some Spartans enter this matchup on a hot streak, including Moira Joiner, who has recorded at least 10 points in each of her last three games. Taiyier Parks scored in double figures the last two games, and Kamaria McDaniel recorded 23 points in MSU’s last outing against No. 22 Illinois. 

The Cornhuskers come into this game with a 12-9 record overall and 4-6 in the conference after an 80-76 loss to No. 6 Iowa. While Sam Haiby missed 10 out of Nebraska’s first 11 games due to injury, she has started to catch fire, averaging 12.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and two steals over the last five games. 

Haiby is also 15 points away from becoming the 13th player in Nebraska’s history to score 1,500 career points. 

The 6-foot 3 sophomore Alexis Markowski grabbed her ninth double-double of the season, scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds against the Hawkeyes. 

Tip-off from Lincoln, Nebraska is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. and the game will stream on Big Ten Network. The Spartans return to the Breslin Center on Sunday, Feb. 5 when they host Michigan at 3 p.m.