As their success has continued to mount this season, the question constantly posed to Michigan State women’s basketball teams players was whether they deserved to be ranked.
MSU junior guard Klarissa Bell thought so in early January and then after a loss to Penn State said the team shouldn’t worry about those things and focus on continuing to improve.
Now that the Spartans have jumped in the polls at No. 25, her teammates have echoed that sentiment.
Kiana Johnson wasn’t even aware the team was ranked when asked about it following Wednesday’s practice.
“I don’t look at the rankings because at the end of the day the rankings aren’t important,” Johnson said. “It’s just about coming out and playing each game every day trying to win. Because if we lose one game we could be out the rankings. We can’t look at the rankings and be satisfied. We gotta go out every night and act like you’re not ranked and play hard.”
MSU senior captain Courtney Schiffauer said it’s exciting to be finally recognized but is keeping the focus on the task at hand.
“We try not to focus on that honestly, but it’s definitely exciting to actually be recognized for all the hard work,” Schiffauer said.
“We just have to keep taking it one game at a time. Right now we’re focused on Nebraska and nobody else. Just taking this game and then moving forward each time.”
Tonight’s game at Nebraska – the first trip to Lincoln in program history – gives the Spartans their first test as a ranked team. Nebraska has been in the top 25 for a majority of the season but currently is among the teams receiving votes in both the AP and coaches polls.
I’ll have the updates from the game on my Twitter feed from tonight’s 8 p.m. start. There also is this tipoff with the matchups and a story on redshirt freshman Akyah Taylor, who is beginning to move forward after constant setbacks throughout most of her time brief career with the Spartans. Those setbacks have included shoulder surgery, a suspension for an NCAA rules violation, and a few bouts with MRSA.
In an early NCAA Tournament projection by ESPN women’s bracketologist Charlie Creme, MSU is slated as a No. 6 seed playing in College Park.
*** One of the MSU men’s basketball team’s three losses was to Miami. That loss isn’t looking so bad with the way Miami performed last night in a home rout of Duke. At full strength, the No. 25-ranked Hurricanes are an unbeaten team.
The Spartans’ only conference loss was to Minnesota and the Gophers got knocked off by Northwestern in Evanston on Wednesday night. Minnesota has lost three straight (lost at Indiana and at home to Michigan) heading into Saturday’s road game at Wisconsin.
*** Solari writes about the MSU hockey program and its desire to attract the top talent in the United States – some of the talent they played against in 3-0 loss to the U.S, National Team Development Program U18 team on Tuesday.
*** Damion Terry is a consensus 4 star recruit after recently picking up an additional star in Rivals’ updated rankings. He was among a group of players that added a fourth star that just missed cracking Rivals 250 (listing of top 2013 prospects).