Big Ten Spotlight: For Michigan State, 14 is magic number

EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 6: Michigan State Spartans head coach Suzy Merchant looks on during a regular season non-conference game between the Bowling Green Falcons and the Michigan State Spartans on November 6, 2018, at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 6: Michigan State Spartans head coach Suzy Merchant looks on during a regular season non-conference game between the Bowling Green Falcons and the Michigan State Spartans on November 6, 2018, at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Double sevens for the Spartans.

One can’t help but wonder if Michigan State Women’s Head Basketball Coach Suzy Merchant was experiencing a little deja vu after the Spartans’ 77-73 win over Michigan on Sunday.

It was the second win of the week by Merchant and company of the week, taking care of Illinois earlier in the week at home. In that game, the Spartans also scored 77 points and while one game was an evening affair and the other was played in the afternoon, the similarities are striking.

You could even say the similarities are a little eerie. Let’s look further.

Michigan State’s win over Illinois on January 24 included five Spartans scoring in double figures — with Shay Colley, Jenna Allen, and Taryn McCutcheon all scoring 14 points. Allen added nine rebounds, while Colley and McCutcheon each had four. Colley had seven assists while the other two each added a steal. Allen also had a block — her 14th of the year. The trio was helped by Sidney Cooks who scored 12 points and Victoria Gaines who added 11 off the bench. The fifth starter — Nia Clouden — didn’t score a basket, but dished out 11 assists against  just two turnovers in the win.

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The team as a whole dished out 25 assists as a team, and are 14-0 when acquiring more assists than their opposition. How many straight wins does Michigan St. have at home dating back to last year? 14. How many turnovers did the team have in the win? 14. How many total wins did the Spartans have on the season after the victory over the Illini? 14, of course.

It gets weirder.

Three days later, the Spartans traveled to Ann Arbor for their matchup vs. the Wolverines, coming away with a 77-73 victory. Once again, Gaines came off the bench and scored 11 for the Spartans as one of four players to score in double figures. The other three — Colley, Allen, and McCutcheon — all scored (you guessed it) 14 points for the second straight game as the Spartans scored 77 points for the second straight game and the third game in the last four. The team shot an astounding 42 percent from beyond the arc, making 11 of 26 three-point attempts. The Wolverines had 14 turnovers. The Spartans? Well, I think you know the answer to that.

The Spartans are now 15-5 on the season, including 5-4 in the Big Ten Conference. Michigan State has two home games this week, welcoming Penn State to town on Jan. 31 before the Boilermakers come for a Sunday afternoon matchup. The only game left for the Spartans against a currently ranked team is on Feb. 7 at No. 17 Iowa.