Spartans welcome in Boilermakers, look to avoid third straight loss


Tory Ozment/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Nathan Stearns, Women's Basketball/Field Hockey Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING — After winning three straight Big Ten contests to improve to 11-7 on the season, the Michigan State Spartans are currently mired in a miniature two-game skid that has seen them drop to 11-9 and 4-5 in conference. 

The Spartans will be looking to snap their recent slide this Thursday, as they welcome the visiting Purdue Boilermakers to the Breslin Center.

The Spartans, who are currently in the midst of an extremely difficult stretch of play, dropped both their in-conference contests last week against Northwestern and Iowa. 

Both of these clubs are currently ranked inside the AP top 25, as well as owners of identical 17-3 season records.  

Nia Clouden and Taryn McCutcheon were both held scoreless in the Spartans’ 76-48 thrashing at the hands of the Northwestern Wildcats last Thursday.

It was an overall substandard performance for the Green and White, as they turned the ball over 24 times and combined for an unsightly 4-for-14 mark from the charity stripe. 

Through three quarters, Michigan State traded body blows with Iowa on Sunday. The Spartans actually led going into the final frame 48-46.  

After Tory Ozment connected from three to tie the contest up at 53 in the fourth, the Hawkeyes ended the game on a 21-4 run. 

The end result was a 74-57 defeat for MSU. Despite the disappointing outcome, both Clouden and McCutcheon responded from their subpar efforts against Northwestern by combining for 22 points.

The visiting Purdue Boilermakers currently sport a 14-7 season record with a 5-4 conference mark. Like the Spartans, Purdue fell to Northwestern earlier in the season by a final score of 61-56.

Purdue is led by longtime head coach Shannon Versyp. The former Boilermaker point guard has led Purdue to nine NCAA tournament berths and two Elite 8 appearances in her 13 seasons as the head honcho. 

The Boilermakers are led in scoring by junior guard Karissa McLaughlin and senior forward Ae’Rianna Harris. Both of these players are currently averaging 13 points per game on the season. Harris also leads the team in rebounding, with 8.6 rebounds per game. Senior Dominique Oden is also having a solid final season, with averages of 12.5 points and 5.6 rebounds.

Purdue will come into Thursday’s contest as winners of two straight. It will be up to Clouden, McCutcheon and others to make sure that the Boilermakers do not leave East Lansing with a three-game win streak under their belts.

Contact Nathan Stearns at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @NathanStearns11.