One Down, Three to Go: Women’s Basketball Starts Tough Four-Game Stretch

The first of a four-game stretch in eight days is over for the No. 17 Michigan State Spartans (16-4, 7-2 in the Big Ten).

After defeating Wisconsin 77-54 on Sunday, January 31, MSU will have two days to prepare to face off against the University of Michigan on Wednesday, February 3.

A notable stat from the Wisconsin game and something to watch going forward is the playing time for the MSU starters. Tori Jankoska, Aerial Powers, Branndais Agee, Jasmine Hines and Akyah Taylor played 38, 35, 31, 29 and 25 minutes respectively against the Badgers.

With four games in just over a week, some of the starters could be looking at over two hours of playing time. In that time frame, that is an enormous amount of physical and mental stress to put on players that MSU will lean on heavily to finish out the second half of the Big Ten season.

The team’s leading scorer and redshirt junior, Aerial Powers, talked about their busy schedule.

“We have this crazy week coming up,” Powers said. “All of those teams (Wisconsin, UM, Maryland, Iowa) are really good teams. Energy is going to be high…it’s going to be a grind.”

Following the UMich game, the Spartans will have less than 48 hours before facing a team that is tied for first in the Big Ten – a team that is ranked fifth in the country – Maryland.

Because the original Maryland game was postponed twice due to weather, it was finally rescheduled, moving the U of M game up one day to Wednesday and squeezing Maryland in on Friday.

“It’s not going to be an easy week – with three road games and one-day preps for two games,” MSU head coach Suzy Merchant said.

Preparation for the Spartans will be limited once again as they will be traveling on Saturday from Maryland to Iowa.

Michigan State and Iowa have already faced each other this season and the result was a 80-73 MSU win in East Lansing.