All Five Spartan Starters Earn All-Big Ten Recognition
EAST LANSING, Mich. â€“ Fresh off its Big Ten Championship, the Michigan State womenâ€™s basketball team was well represented on the postseason All-Big Ten teams. All five Spartan starters earned all-conference recognition, led by redshirt freshman Aerial Powers being named to the First Team.
Michigan State was the only team in the Big Ten with five players named to the All-Big Ten teams. The five recipients also ties for the most in program history with the 1995-96, 2002-03, 2004-05 and 2008-09 teams.
Joining Powers, senior Annalise Pickrel earned second team honors, while senior Klarissa Bell, junior Becca Mills and freshman Tori Jankoska were honorable mention selections. Bell was also on the All-Defensive Team and was the teamâ€™s Big Ten Sportsmanship honoree.
Powers, who is the first Spartan freshman to be named to the first team, was also on the five-member All-Freshman Team.
In Suzy Merchantâ€™s seven seasons, Michigan State has a Big Ten-best 25 All-Big Ten selections.
Powers leads the team in points (13.8), rebounds (8.0) and steals (1.8), while also fourth in assists (2.4) and blocks (0.6) in only 26.2 minutes. She is top-10 in the Big Ten in rebounds and steals, while 10th in the conference, shooting 50.0% from the field.
Powers is having arguably the best season ever by a Spartan freshman. Among all-time MSU freshmen, she currently is third in points (401), sixth in rebounds (231), seventh in assists (70), sixth in blocks (18) and first in free throws made (95). Her 13.8 scoring average is currently the best and her 8.0 rebound mark is fifth. In addition, she has the most 20-point games (6) and the second-most double-doubles (8) among Spartan freshman.
Pickrel, who earned all-conference honors for the first time, is having a career year as a senior, averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. She leads the team in blocks (1.1), while ranking second in rebounds (7.1), and third in points (12.6) and assists (2.7). Pickrel is also second on the team and top-15 in the Big Ten with 1.7 3-pointers per game and a 36.9% 3-point field goal percentage.
Bell was voted on the All-Big Ten teams for the second-straight season, and becomes the seventh All-Defensive Team selection in program history and the first since 2010-11. Bell battled injuries for most of the season, to average 7.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals on the season. She is ninth in the league in assists, while also tying for sixth with a 1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. Defensively, Bell anchors the Spartan defense that led the Big Ten in conference games in points allowed, field goal percentage defense and 3-point field goal percentage defense.
Mills is also a first-time recipient of postseason conference recognition. She is fourth on the team with 9.9 points and third with 5.6 rebounds, while leading the team and ranking seventh in the conference in field goal percentage at 51.3%. Mills is also second with 21 blocks on the year.
Jankoska has made an immediate impact in her first season on the Spartan campus. She has started 13 games, including the last 10, and is second on the team with 12.7 points and 1.2 steals, while also adding 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Jankoska has been a weapon from behind the arc, leading the team with 2.1 3-pointers (ninth in the league) and a 37.4% 3-point field goal percentage (12th in the conference). Like Powers, Jankoska is also climbing up the Spartan freshman lists, currently ranking sixth in points (367), ninth in assists (66), second in 3-pointers (61) and third in 3-point field goal percentage (37.4%).
The Spartans ended the regular season on Sunday in a tie for Penn State at 13-3 for the Big Ten regular season title. Michigan State is 21-8 on the season and will face the winner of Michigan and Indiana on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis.