EAST LANSING — Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant has just received another commit for the 2020-21 Spartan team in Matilda Ekh, a 6-foot guard/forward who comes from Västerås, Sweden.
“We are thrilled to add Matilda to the Spartan family,” Merchant said. “She has played at the highest level of international basketball in Sweden and on the world stage. We love her versatility and ability to be a playmaker and scorer. Her basketball IQ is off the charts, and we can’t wait to have her put on a Spartan uniform.”
Ekh (pronounced Eck) plays for Luleå Basket for coach Robin Sandberg. Additionally, she participated in Swedish First League and was named Rookie of the Year. Ekh won the U-19 Swedish Championship with her high school team, Riksbasketgymnasiet Luleå. Ekh won MVP and earned a spot on the All-Star team.
Merchant has just proven she is not afraid to step out into international waters. After all, she did coach USA Basketball as the head coach for the Women’s basketball team in the 2019 U.S. Pan American Games. She finished with a record of 4-1 and received a silver medal. The team was led by future WNBA stars Chennedy Carter out of Texas A&M and Mikayla Pivec out of Oregon State. Team USA lost to Brazil 79-73, who finished with a record of 5-0.
“It’s tough,” Merchant said after the loss to Brazil. “You have to give Brazil credit. Their guard play — they were better than our guards tonight, especially Taina Da Paixao. And, we turned it over early, uncharacteristically. So, you’d like to take maybe four or five of those back and have a shot at it again.”
Ekh could provide some much-needed depth for Michigan State with Kayla Belles off to BYU and graduating senior Coco Gaines leaving. She will join the recruiting class of Kendall Bostic (Kokomo, Indiana/Northwestern High School) and Jayla James (Upper Marlboro, Maryland/Riverdale Baptist), who transferred from Penn State.
Ekh, in her international play, has proven that she is a lightning rod and provides some much-needed scoring. This season, the Spartans only had two players average double figures in starting guards Nia Clouden and Taryn McCutcheon with 14.5 and 10.8 points per game respectively. Though Michigan State still did get production from freshman Moira “Mo” Joiner and redshirt-senior Shay Colley with 8.8 and 7.0 points per game respectively.
In the 2019 FIBA U-18 Women’s European Championship Division B, Ekh averaged 14.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. This guard/forward is the player that the Spartans need in a very competitive Big Ten conference.
Charlotte Steinberg is a beat reporter for Impact 89FM WDBM who primarily covers women’s basketball. Follow her on Twitter at @sportstalksbycs.