The Lady Raiders (8-1, 0-0) take on the Michigan State Spartans (10-1, 0-0) today at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas for the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic at 4:30pm CST. The Lady Raiders are coming off a routing of Northern Colorado last Sunday afternoon. Tech beat the UNC Bears 68-41 on Dec 16, 2012. The Lady Raiders are on a roll and have won their last seven games. This will be the toughest opponent Tech has played since the game with New Mexico.
Texas Tech and Michigan State are meeting for the 2nd time. The Lady Raiders beat the Spartans in 1988. The Spartans are the nation's top defensive scoring team. MSU is only giving up an average of only 42.7 points per game. The 427 points that MSU has allowed in its first 10 games are the third fewest all-time to begin the season, and the fewest since the addition of the 3-point line in 1987-88. Michigan State has been especially effective in shutting down the opposing team's leading scorer. Each player has been held below their scoring average by a combined margin of 7.0 points per game. The players have also combined to shoot 27.9% (31-for-111) from the field. Michigan State leads the Big Ten and is 19th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage defense (23.2%), while allowing only 35 3-pointers (3.5 per game) all season. Over the last seven games, MSU opponents have combined to shoot 20.7% (24-for-116) from 3-point range. The three of the last four opponents entered the game ranked top-20 in the nation in 3-point shooting, and the Spartans were able to hold them in check. Michigan State has turned the ball over only 12.1 times a game, which leads the Big Ten and is fifth in the country. As a result, the Spartans are allowing only 7.5 points off turnovers, while in turn, posting 17.3 points per game off their opponent's turnovers.
The Spartans are coming off a win over the Oregon State Beavers 49-35. The Spartans never trailed in the game, scoring the first five points and holding Oregon State scoreless over the first 3:48 and without a field goal for the first 6:39.
The Lady Raiders had been a force to reckon with in their last 7 games. They have dominated their opponents by outscoring them an average of 25.6pts per game. They have a 3 games in which the FG% was more than 62%. Tech's FT% have been above the 65% mark. Three of the Lady Raiders are averaging in the double figures. Casey Morris leads the pack with an average of 12.6 points/game followed by Christine Hyde at 12pts/game and Kelsi Baker at 10.9pts/game. Monique Smalls, Chynna Brown and Jackie Patterson round out the high scorers with an average of 8.5pts, 8.3pts and 8.1pts per game respectively. Coach Kristy Curry is in her 7th season and her current record at Texas Tech is 117-88.
The Lady Raiders are playing great Defense. Texas Tech have won the last 6 games by more than 23 points each game. They have a total of 111 Steals this season which is an average of 13.87 Steals per game. The Lady Raiders are out rebounding their opponents by a +6.4% margin and are averaging 13.9 Steals per game with a +9.4% turnover margin.
The Spartan's Head Coach, Suzy Merchant is in her 6th season with Michigan State. Her career record is 316-173 and is 59-27 in the six seasons at MSU She was hired at MSU on April 30, 2007, after spending time as a head coach at Eastern Michigan (1998-07) and Saginaw Valley State (1995-98). In her 17 years as a head coach, she has won more than 60 percent of her games, collecting a 316-173 (.646) career record, including 115-53 (.685) in her five seasons in East Lansing. Last season, Merchant became the fastest Spartan coach to 100 wins. She is also the winningest coach in Eastern Michigan history, compiling a 147-91 record in her nine seasons.
The Starting Lineups:
G Monique Smalls Averages 8.5 Pts and has 21 Steals
G Casey Morris Averages 12.6 Pts and has a 84.5% FT%
G Chynna Brown Averages 8.3 Pts and has 17 Steals
F Christine Hyde Averages 12.0 Pts and 6.4 Rebounds/game
F Kelsi Baker Averages 10.9 Pts and 5.3 Rebounds/game
G Jasmine Thomas Averages 10.8pts and 5.2 rebounds/game
G Victoria Timm Averages 6.6 Pts and 5.6 Rebounds/game
G Kyleigh Hiser Averages 2.7 Pts and has a 100% FT%
F Annalise Pickrel Averages 11.2 Pts and is a strong 3-pt shooter
F Klarissa Bell Averages 14.0 Pts and 5.8 Rebounds/game
To listen to the game go to TexastechTV (http://www.texastech.com/allaccess/)
The game can be heard on the radio 93.7 FM (Lubbock and on the Texas Tech Sports Network (www.TexasTech.com)
Live stats will be available on Gametracker at www.texastech.com/gametracker.