FINAL: Spartans back in win column as Merchant returns to bench
After collapsing in the match against Illinois, MSU women's basketball head coach Suzy Merchant was on the bench for the first time Saturday night as the Spartans defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 93-73.
MSU’s win Saturday is its first against Nebraska after losing four straight contests. Before Saturday, the team's last victory came at the Breslin Center when the Spartans defeated the Cornhuskers 70-57 on
The Spartans finished the game outshooting the Cornhuskers as they shot 47 percent from the field while Nebraska shot just 39 percent.
Guard Jasmine Cincore led the Cornhuskers with 17 points in the loss.
The Spartans got on the board first with a jumper near the basket from senior guard Tori Jankoska nine seconds into the game.
Jankoska — who entered Saturday’s game sixth in the nation in total points scored with 318 — added a game-high 27 points while adding a team-high seven assists.
After redshirt-freshman Victoria Gaines knocked down a 3-point shot, it extended the Spartan lead to 5-0. However, a turnover by freshman guard Taryn McCutcheon led to Nebraska scoring its first points of the game.
Following the turnover, the Cornhuskers managed to set up an Allie Havers jumper to end Nebraska’s 2:42 opening scoring drought.
With 1:09 left in the first quarter, the Spartans recorded their first
A steal on the ensuing Nebraska possession by Reimer extended the Cornhusker deficit.
After stealing the ball from Nebraska, a shot from Reimer was blocked, but then the graduate transfer managed to rebound the ball and score on a layup on the second chance opportunity as she was also fouled.
Reimer missed the and-one chance, but the Spartans closed out the first quarter on a 6-0 run and a 24-12 lead. The forward finished the game with a double-double, contributing 13 points and 10 rebounds.
With 4:55 into the second frame, Nebraska guard Nicea Eliely ended a Spartan 8-0 run to cut the Cornhusker deficit to 15.
The Spartans later had a brief injury scare in the second frame as Agee was visibly hurt after recording a basket.
4:09 left in the second quarter, Agee found the basket with a layup, but was slow to get up after falling to the ground. After initially getting some assistance off the court,
Agee recorded nine points and nine rebounds in the win.
MSU closed out the first half scoring on just two of its last nine
Coming out of the break, the Spartans scored their first points of the second half 34 seconds in.
A Gaines jumper gave the Spartans a 48-29 lead, but Nebraska forward Jessica Shepard responded with a jumper of her own.
Shepard recorded 15 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in the Cornhuskers’ defeat.
The Spartans had another injury scare as McCutcheon had to receive help
McCutcheon appeared to be in tears and had to go to the locker room and was out for the rest of the game. The freshman from East Lansing, who is third in the Big Ten in assists, did come back to the bench later in the game and had an ice pack on her neck.
Multiple turnovers by the Spartans helped give the Cornhuskers a 6-0 scoring run, but a layup by junior forward Kennedy Johnson ended MSU’s scoring drought as they held a 56-42 lead with 3:42 remaining in the third quarter.
The Spartans closed out the third scoring on five of their last seven field goal attempts while leading the Cornhuskers 68-52.
MSU maintained a
The next game on the slate for the Spartans is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 10 as they face the Ohio State Buckeyes at the Breslin. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.