MSU uses second-half energy to power past Purdue in Big Ten Tournament, 65-64
INDIANAPOLIS — It’s much easier to win three games in a row than five — and the MSU women’s basketball team is now on its way to doing so. On Friday evening the No. 3-seeded Spartans (1-0) defeated the No. 6-seeded Purdue Boilermakers (1-1) in their debut game in the 2016 Big Ten Tournament by a decisive 65-64 final score.
Purdue would strike first blood on the evening when junior guard Ashley Morrissette nailed a three point shot. The Spartan offense would keep the score close, matching Purdue’s scoring effort, with junior guard Aerial Powers scoring six points, but Purdue’s April Wilson outscored Powers, scoring seven in the first. Turnovers would be an issue for MSU, with six to open up play. The Boilermakers would conclude the opening quarter with five unanswered points to establish an early 18-12 lead.
As the second quarter would transpire MSU’s offence grew seemingly sluggish. Foul trouble for the Spartans would help Purdue score eight of their 14 points in the quarter. That coupled with cold shooting would give the Boilermakers a 32-25 advantage going into halftime. Wilson would lead Purdue in scoring with 11 points and three assists.
The Spartans shot 11-for-32 in the first half with Powers scoring the bulk of MSU’s shots. Powers would score 13 in the first half, going 5-for-10 from the floor with six rebounds. Guards Tori Jankoska and Branndais Agee combined for six points, with the pair shooting 25 percent from the field in the half. As a whole MSU went 11-for-32 shooting, including 0-for-8 from 3-point range.
With a seven point deficit to chip away at, MSU entered the second half looking much more focused and synchronized. The Spartans began the third on a 10-2 run to establish their first lead since the first quarter. Powers tied the game and then took the one point lead by making a pair of free throws with 6:05 to play in the quarter. Foul trouble would plague MSU again and help Purdue retake the lead, but with five seconds left in the quarter Agee nailed a shot from 3-point land to make it a 44-43 ballgame.
In the fourth quarter the tides changed in MSU’s favor and this time it was Purdue with the sluggish playstyle. The Boilermakers turned the ball over thrice in the opening minutes of the fourth and ball possession would come at a premium. Jankoska would shake out of her scoring slump and would score aid the Spartans, scoring 7 of MSU’s 22 in the quarter.
Part of MSU’s prevail in the fourth was the responsibility of Powers. Number 23 finished the game with 26 points and 12 rebounds, going 9-of-22 from the field.
The Spartans will get back into action tomorrow afternoon against No. 2 Ohio State. Tip off will be set for 25 minutes after the conclusion of semifinal matchup between No. 12 Northwestern (2-0) and No. 1 Maryland (1-0), with televised coverage available on BTN.