EAST LANSING, Mich. – Ariel Powers is the highest WNBA draft pick in Michigan State history. The Detroit native left the Spartans program after her redshirt junior year last season to pursue a professional career that saw her taken No. 5 overall and land on the WNBA All-Rookie team after her first season with the Dallas Wings. She was picked to be a part of the USA Basketball’s Women’s Select Team, which trained with the Olympic team and helped it win the gold medal in the recent Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Powers is the all-time leading scorer in Michigan State history but she never got to do was something that is a Spartan tradition for every departing senior. Kiss the Spartan head.
Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant made sure Powers got that opportunity Friday night during Michigan State Madness.
— Michigan St. on BTN (@MichiganStOnBTN) October 15, 2016
Merchant and the women’s team opened Michigan State Madness with a tribute to Janet Jackson, recreating Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” video from 1989. Junior guard Morgan Green gave the Breslin Center crowd a thrill when she did her own Michael Jackson imitation moon walk during the individual introductions.
Michigan State 25-9 last season and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament before losing at Mississippi State, 74-72. The Spartans have been to the NCAA tournament 12 of the last 14 seasons. They open their season Friday, Nov. 11, against Davidson.
Kevin Goheen covers Michigan State for Landof10.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CincyGoGo