The Michigan State women’s basketball team has gotten off to an impressive start so far in the 2023-2024 season. So far, the Spartans are 7-1 through eight games and they remain undefeated at home.
Before the start of the season, head coach Robyn Fralick made it clear that just because there were new faces to the team—including herself—did not mean the team wasn’t going to hit the ground running.
After the first official practice of the season, Fralick and the players talked about the multiple days and nights the team had spent together. Whether they were getting up shots in the gym, talking over defensive schemes in film sessions, or just simply bonding together and watching a movie, the team continued to put in work together.
Well, so far, the extra time together is beginning to show.
Not only is MSU’s record proof of the extra time the team has put in together, but their overall numbers so far on the season are also atop the Big Ten Conference.
The Spartan offense is currently on a hot streak as players just continue to find the bottom of the net game after game. MSU is currently ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten in offensive production after averaging 93.9 points per game. They also lead the conference in marginal leads with an average margin of 35.1 points.
The workload of the offense is distributed between both the veteran Spartans and the younger faces to the squad, which has been proof of the close chemistry between the players.
Coach Fralick during a meeting with the press before practice Thursday, talked about how the team has prepared for the season and how they continue to stay prepared once the season gets tough.
“There’s no secrets, you know, it takes what it takes, and it takes consistency, and it takes a plan,” Fralick said. “Just stay steady with what we do and what we’re about and the way we prepare and showing up to practice in the mindset. And for the most part, our team has done a good job with that and the trick is through the season is to sustain with that.”
Another testament to the amount of work that the team has put in this off-season is none other than sophomore Abbey Kimball who has been having a huge second year for the Spartans.
The team is used to seeing some of the veteran players like junior guard DeeDee Hagemann and Moria Joiner providing big numbers for the offense, but when you add in the large offensive contribution from sophomore Abbey Kimball, the team becomes a whole new unit offensively.
Last year, as a freshman, Kimball averaged just three points for the Spartans as she dealt with a few different injuries. However, she has completely turned things around on both sides of the court.
On the offense, Kimball has become a sharpshooter who can find a comfortable shot anywhere on the court. So far, she is averaging just under 11 points a game and shooting an incredible 43% from the three.
Kimball, along with the rest of the team as a whole, has made a big difference on the defensive side of the ball as well. Another big factor in MSU’s successful offense is its fast-paced, quick-handed defense which has created lots of transitional offense.
The sophomore guard has credited the summer session with coach Fralick as part of the reason for her big second-year jump and the high output performance of the team so far.
“I think it all started in the summer when we shot together and everyone was happy doing drills together and I think that creates a bond with our team,” Kimball said before practice Thursday. “I know that I put in a lot of work. I’m self-motivated. So just continuing to stay the course. Working on my weaknesses so that they’re not weaknesses anymore. Just becoming a two-way player offensively and defensively was a big thing I worked on over the summer too.”
Saturday, the Spartans will take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers to open up the start of Big Ten play for MSU. While they have had a great season so far, things will start to get tough starting Saturday and the Spartans will hope that their game so far will translate.
The game between the Spartans and the Cornhuskers will be played at the Breslin Student Events Center on Saturday. Tip-off will be at 2 p.m.
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