Saturday, October 16, 2021

W-hoops improve record to 9-1 with win over Providence

December 22, 2001
Junior guard Vnemina Reese and freshman guard Kristin Haynie block Providence guard Keisha Blackwell Friday at the Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated Providence 64-57 for their fifth straight win. —

Behind a career night from freshman center Kelli Roehrig, the Spartan women’s basketball team extended its winning streak Friday to five games with a 64-47 victory over the Providence Friars.

Roehrig finished the evening with career highs in points, rebounds and minutes - leading all scorers with 22 points and adding 7 rebounds in her 35 minutes of floor time.

“Tonight, I just felt very confident,” she said. “And the more shots you make, the more confident you get.

“But, even if I hadn’t of been hitting my shots, I’d have been confident because of what we were doing on defense.”

Spartan head coach Joanne P. McCallie said Roehrig’s breakout performance was nice to see, but not shocking.

“I’m not surprised at all - Kelli’s very hungry,” McCallie said. “And I think I know that Kelli is saying to herself, ‘Finally.’”

Though both teams struggled controlling the ball - Providence (6-4) committed 27 turnovers to MSU’s 23 - the Spartans shot well and limited scoring opportunities for the Friars, McCallie said.

The Spartan defense kept the Friars to nearly 20 points under their season average of 66.7 points per game.

“My favorite stat of the night has to be holding Providence to 32.1 percent from the field,” McCallie said. “That’s just good team defense.”

Junior forward Syreeta Bromfield chipped in for 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds to bolster the winning cause. Bromfield also led both teams with five steals.

From the opening tip, which Roehrig won, the Spartans, 9-1 after the win, controlled Providence, never surrendering a 2-0 lead they possessed after sophomore forward Julie Pagel’s layup on the first possession of the night.

The Spartans raced to take early control, shooting 7-for-9 from the field to take a 15-4 lead in the game’s first nine minutes.

The Spartan advantage would grow to 13 on freshman guard Cortne Ellis’ 17-foot jumper, upping the score, 17-4. Ellis finished the night with eight points in eight minutes off the bench.

The Friars climbed within eight points on guard Keisha Blackwell’s three-pointer, making the score 20-12. But the Spartans promptly got their lead back into double-digits on a Bromfield three-pointer.

Those would be the last points for the Spartans for the next five minutes.

But just as it looked like the Friars would head to the locker room with momentum, the Spartans halted the rally.

A three-point basket from sophomore guard Candice Jackson sent the Spartans into halftime with a 30-23 lead.

And the momentum only grew for the Spartans in the second half, as they responded to a quick Providence score to open the half, cutting the Spartan lead to five.

Sparked by Bromfield’s two fast break layups, the Spartans reeled off an 11-4 scoring run, which buried the Friars for good. With just under 14 minutes left in the game, the Spartans led 41-29.

The lead would never sink below 10 for the remainder of the night, and reached as much as 20 points late in the contest.

Bromfield said the Spartans knew they could capitalize on the fast break against the Friars from watching tape of the team leading up to the game.

“We noticed they weren’t too quick with their transition defense,” she said. “So, for us, that was definitely a key to the game.”

Forward-center Jessica Simmonds was the lone Friar in double-digit scoring, adding 13 points to the losing cause.

The Spartans return to action at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Breslin Center as they open up their Big Ten schedule against the Indiana Hoosiers.

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