Green Bay in the Big Dance: A Look at the Spartans

Courtesy: Green Bay Athletics
Release: March 21, 2011
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Junior Julie Wojta will have a key matchup with MSU's Lykendra Johnson.

WICHITA, Kan. ( - Fresh off its 59-55 NCAA Tournament win over Arkansas-Little Rock on Sunday evening, No. 13/11 Green Bay (33-1) quickly turned its attention to Tuesday's second round opponent, No. 12/13 Michigan State (27-5). The fourth-seeded Spartans knocked off 13th-seeded Northern Iowa 69-66 Sunday night following the Phoenix win at INTRUST Bank Arena. As head coach Matt Bollant and his team prepare for Tuesday's game, takes a look at Michigan State.

Michigan State has lost just five games this season, with three of the five setbacks coming to Ohio State. The Spartans hold their opponents to just 38.7 percent shooting from the field, including just 27 percent from long range (ranks 14th in the country).

In its victory over Northern Iowa, Michigan State was outrebounded 35-34, but the Spartans have a plus-8.2 rebounding margin this season, ranking 11th nationally. Junior Lykendra Johnson is averaging 8.9 rebounds and grabbed seven rebounds Sunday in just 22 minutes after picking up two early fouls.

While the Spartans do not have a starter listed at over 6-foot-1, they also do not have a starter under 5-foot-10. Senior guards Cetera Washington and Brittney Thomas stand 6-foot and 5-foot-10, respectively.

"Their athleticism is definitely going to be an advantage for them," said senior Kayla Tetschlag (Sheboygan, Wis.). "They have a lot of size that obviously we do not match up with, but I think we bring a lot to the table too."

Michigan State is led by senior Kalisha Keane, who has knocked down 68 three-pointers this season and is averaging 16 points per contest. Keane is averaging 17 points, five rebounds and five assists.

G: #15 Cetera Washington, Sr., 6-0 (5.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg; 11 points, 7 rebounds vs. UNI)
G: #20 Brittney Thomas, Sr., 5-10 (8.9 ppg, 2.9 apg; 7 points, 3 assists vs. UNI)
F: #32 Kalisha Keane, Sr., 6-1 (16.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg; 17 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists vs. UNI)
F: #33 Taylor Alton, Jr., 5-11 (6.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg; 14 points, 4-9 3FGs vs. UNI)
C: #30 Lykendra Johnson, Jr.., 6-1 (11.9 ppg, 8.9; 12 points, 7 rebounds vs. UNI) 

Green Bay has played seven of its 34 games against common opponents of Michigan State. The Phoenix went 7-0 in games against Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota, Milwaukee (x2) and Detroit (x2). The Spartans posted an identical 7-0 record, with two wins against Wisconsin and Minnesota.

In its three games against Big Ten opponents this season, the Phoenix won at Minnesota 79-75 on Nov. 14, defeated Wisconsin 69-43 at the Kress Center on Nov. 18 and knocked off Penn State 79-74 in a Caribbean Challenge on Nov. 26.

In its two home games against Horizon League opponents, Michigan State dominated Detroit 82-42 on Nov. 21 and squeaked past Milwaukee, 55-48, on Dec. 8.  

In a matchup of two double double threats, Michigan State's Johnson and Green Bay's Julie Wojta (Michicot, Wis.) will spend some time fighting in the paint. Both players are the second-leading scorers for their respective teams, with Wojta averaging 13.7 points per game and Johnson totals 11.9 points per clip.

Both post players are versatile and have the ability to beat teams from inside and out. Wojta, who had 14 points and five rebounds on Thursday, leads the team in assists and has knocked down 15 three-pointers. Johnson has knocked down 20 three-pointers and has ripped down 125 offensive rebounds on the season.

"They have the ability to go and get it. Johnson is a physical presence at the five," said head coach Matt Bollant. "With her, when the ball goes off the rim the game kind of begins, kind of like their men's team. She can just go get it."

For the second-straight game, Tetschlag, the Co-Horizon League Player of the Year, will be pitted against a conference player of the year from another league. Tetschlag matched UALR's Chastity Reed point for point on Sunday, and Tuesday she will be matched at times with Keane, the Big Ten Player of the Year.

The three-point shot could play more of a role in Tuesday's game than it did in Green Bay's win over UALR on Sunday. Both teams guard the three-point line well (Green Bay eighth nationally; Michigan State 14th nationally), but both can also shoot it effectively from long range. Michigan State makes 6.7 triples per contest, led by Keane's 67. MSU hit 8-of-20 from three on Sunday. Green Bay, with seven different players that have made at least 15 three-pointers this season, is averaging 6.6 makes per game. Senior guard Celeste Hoewisch (Hortonville, Wis.) is the team's top threat, hitting 54-of-127 threes (42.5).

For more information on the NCAA Tournament and for exclusive content on the Phoenix throughout the postseason, please visit's NCAA Tournament Central presented by Taco Bell.

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