Kiana Johnson drives to the basket against Michigan at the Crisler Center on Jan. 12. (Mark Bialek / Special to Detroit News)
Michigan State junior point guard Kiana Johnson has been suspended and will miss the Spartans' game Saturday at No. 22 Nebraska.
The Spartans (16-7, 8-2) have won four straight and trail first-place Penn State by one-half game in the Big Ten.
"Kiana Johnson has been suspended indefinitely," said MSU spokesperson Jim Donatelli, noting it was for a violation of team rules. "She did not travel with us to Illinois (Wednesday) and won't go this weekend (at Nebraska) either."
Johnson missed the first nine games of the 2012-13 season due to a suspension for a violation of NCAA rules regarding the receipt of extra benefits. She was also stripped of her captain role in the process that season.
Johnson has started 16 games this season, averaging 8.4 points and 6.0 assists, and leads the Big Ten in assists-to-turnover ratio (2.9), ranking 14th nationally.
Freshman Tori Jankoska -- last year's Miss Basketball award winner -- has started in place of Johnson the last four games, averaging 18.5 points and making 12-of-22 3-pointers during that span.
Jankoska, the team's third-leading scorer (12.6), and senior Klarissa Bell will share the point guard job.
Johnson's last start was in a 61-51 loss to Illinois Jan. 23 at the Breslin Center when the Spartans were outscored 36-23 during the second half. She had just four points (2-of-10 shooting) and had six turnovers and six assists in 39 minutes. With the score tied at 46 with four minutes left, she had consecutive turnovers, enabling the Illini to open up a 51-46 lead.
Johnson missed the next game, a 82-68 win Jan. 26 over Ohio State in Columbus, to attend to personal matters, according to the MSU press release.
The Spartans defeated Illinois 69-53 Wednesday night in Champaign with Jankoska and Becca Mills each scoring 22 and Jankoska making 4-of-7 threes.