MSU takes on Providence Thursday at noon; faces Hartford Saturday at 2 p.m.
The No. 23/24 Michigan State women's basketball team will wrap up its non-conference portion of the schedule with road games at Providence and Hartford this week. The Spartans take on Providence Thursday, Dec. 20 at noon and Hartford Saturday, Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. Out of MSU's 12 non-conference games this season, eight are away from the Breslin Center, the most since 1981-82.
The Spartans are coming off a hard-fought 66-55 loss to No. 9 Oklahoma Sunday at the Breslin Center. MSU led by 11 points at halftime, 28-17, and was up most of the second half. After the Spartans went up 53-46 with 5:44 remaining, the Sooners closed the game on a 20-2 run. Oklahoma (7-2), whose only losses are to No. 1 Tennessee and No. 4 Maryland, hit six free throws in the final minute to seal the victory. Courtney Davidson and Alisa Wulff each recorded career highs with 18 and 14 points, respectively.
Providence enters Thursday's game on a four-game winning streak. The Friars are 8-2 overall with wins over Brown, Iona, Manhattan, Florida International, Fordham, Rhode Island, Harvard and Central Connecticut and losses to Hartford and Illinois. Sophomore guard Kendria Holmes leads the team with 12.3 ppg.
Hartford (9-2) has won three games in a row, owns an RPI of 20 and is receiving votes in the Coaches' Poll. The Hawks have beaten the likes of BYU, Virginia, St. John's and Marist, while their only losses have come to Kansas and UMass. Michigan State defeated Hartford in the Spartan Clash last season at the Palace, 58-45. The Hawks are led by ninth-year head coach Jennifer Rizzotti, who is the school's all-time winningest coach at 153-100. She has won three America East tournament titles and two regular-season championships.
ANOTHER BLOCK RECORD FOR DEHAAN
Allyssa DeHaan became MSU's all-time leader in blocked shots after recording five against Oklahoma on Sunday, upping her total to 199. She reached the mark in just 43 career games. Kristen Rasmussen previously held the record with 194 blocks in 118 career games.
DeHaan, who set the Big Ten single-season record with 145 blocked shots her freshman year, is on pace for 162 blocks through the regular season. She currently leads the nation with 54 blocks through 10 games (5.4 avg.). The NCAA single-season record for blocked shots is held by Amie Williams of Jackson State, who had 152 in 2003.
The NCAA career record is 480, set by TCU's Sandora Irvin from 2002-05. Jessica Davenport of Ohio State owns the Big Ten career record with 384.
AND YET ANOTHER RECORD WAITING IN THE WINGS...
With 199 blocks in 43 games, Allyssa DeHaan is just one block away from becoming the fastest player in NCAA Division I history to reach the 200-block milestone while playing in her freshman and sophomore seasons. By comparison, Sandora Irvin, the NCAA's all-time blocks leader, had just 134 blocks in 43 contests, and Oklahoma's Courtney Paris needed 60 games to reach 200 blocks.