Following Friday night’s 26-point loss against Baylor, the No. 25 MSU women’s basketball team responded with a complete effort against Detroit Mercy on Sunday, dominating the Titans, 82-42, at Breslin Center.
The Spartans (3-1) excelled in all the areas they struggled Friday: They got offensive contributions from several different players and hit 50 percent from the field after a poor shooting night on Friday in the 78-52 loss.
Baylor burned the Spartans inside and went on a series of runs, but MSU went on several small scoring runs Sunday to open up a big win.
“What a great response to what (MSU head coach Suzy Merchant) said in our locker room after Baylor,” senior forward Kalisha Keane said. “She said we didn’t have that many people step up so I think we really took it and responded really well.”
The Spartans shot 33 percent against Baylor, while the Lady Bears received 29 points from All-American center Brittney Griner, who cleaned up the inside.
MSU countered on Friday with 28 points from Keane to go with eight rebounds, but the rest of the team finished with only 24 points.
On Sunday, MSU finished with four players in double figures, and its bench outscored the entire Detroit team, 44-42.
Freshman guard Annalise Pickrel finished with 13 points and six rebounds and showed outstanding versatility in going to the basket and playing on the perimeter.
“Getting used to everybody took some time,” Pickrel said. “You’re still playing basketball, it’s not plays the whole time, you have to improvise and read the defenders and go off that.”
Junior guard Porschè Poole tied Keane for a team-high with 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting and junior forward Taylor Alton had 10 points and was 2-for-2 from behind the arc.
MSU came out of the gates slowly, falling behind, 11-10, early before Pickrel scored seven points to put MSU ahead, 19-18.
MSU went on a 9-0 run that was sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers from Keane and Poole to take a 28-18 lead.
Keane hit another triple after a Titans’ bucket, then MSU went into the half with a 35-22 lead.
MSU began the second half on a 7-0 run as Poole got a triple, and MSU didn’t look back from there.
Keane and Poole each finished 4-for-5 from downtown, accounting for 24 MSU points from long distance.
As a team, the Spartans shot 12-for-22 from behind the arc and 50 percent from the field. Against Baylor, MSU shot 4-for-22 behind the arc.
If the Spartans are able to use their depth, they’ll make it difficult on opposing teams, but Merchant said she still is working on the right combinations to put the Spartans in the best chance of winning.
“I thought our entire bench gave us a lift,” Merchant said. “We’ve gone 10-deep. Our starting five is more of a rotation. You get to the point where you’re not really sure if you can continue that, but we’ve been able to. … It makes us hard to scout.”
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