The Wisconsin women’s basketball team, looking to extend its current three game conference win streak, will play host to the Michigan State Spartans tonight in the Kohl Center.
The Spartans, currently ranked third in the Big Ten standings, have fallen short in just two of their seven conference games on the season. They will be playing to extend a three game conference winning streak of their own.
When asked how the Badgers would match up against their heavily favored opponent, UW head coach Jane Albright stressed the importance of beating the Spartans’ tough matchup zone.
“[Michigan State] only does one thing. They are not a jack-of-all-trades masters of none; they are matchup zones,” Albright said. “We are working on it three-and-two and two-and-three because we feel like that is what we have to do to be effective and keep a team off balance. They get you off balance because they rotate so well with one another. Obviously, to beat Purdue early on, they are a very, very good team.”
Slowing down Michigan State’s potent offensive attack, which scores an average of over 71 points a game, has also proven to be a difficult task for the Spartans’ opposition this year. Teams are not able to key on one, two or even three players defensively, because five different players have led the Spartans in scoring at least twice in their 18 games.
Michigan State’s Syreeta Bromfield, however, has proven to be the Spartans’ most efficient all-around player this season.
In the Big Ten, the six-foot senior forward currently ranks seventh in scoring (15.8 ppg), eighth in steals (2.26 spg), 11th in rebounding (6.5 rpg) and 13th in assists (2.79 apg). No other player in the conference ranks among the top 13 in each of these four categories.
The Spartans’ other starting forward, freshman Liz Shimek, has also had a big impact on the team’s success this season. Shimek, named Michigan’s Ms. Basketball last year, has posted a double-double in four of the Spartans’ 18 games and has come up one point or one rebound shy of a double-double on seven other occasions.
The Shimek and Bromfield combination has proven to be a formidable one-two punch in the Spartan frontcourt, but Michigan State’s offensive attack is anything but one-dimensional.
The Spartans are shooting better than 42 percent from beyond the arc, which ranks third nationally in three-point field goal percentage, and freshman Lindsay Bowen has knocked down at least one three-pointer in each of their last 16 games.
On any given night, Shimek, Bromfield, Bowen or any one of a number of Spartans could end up being the team’s hot hand.
As a team, MSU makes more than 46 percent of its field goals and 77 percent of its free throws, ranking the team 15th and 11th in the country, respectively.
When Michigan State does miss, it crashes the boards as well as anybody in the Big Ten, collecting an astounding 46.5 percent of its own misses (283 of a possible 609 rebounds).
MSU currently holds a Big Ten best rebounding margin of +10.6 and has only been out-rebounded in two games so far this year, at Georgia and Ohio State.
The Badgers will have their hands full when they square off against Syreeta Bromfield and the upstart Michigan State Spartans tomorrow night. Lello Gebisa, Emily Ashbaugh and company will not only have to find a way to contain MSU’s potent offensive attack, but will also have to find a way to keep the Spartans off the glass as well. Riding a three game conference win streak and playing in the friendly confines of the Kohl Center, the Badgers will be looking to upset the heavily favored Spartans.