There’s just something about the state of Florida that the No. 25 MSU women’s basketball team loves.
In their second trip to the Sunshine State in one week, the Spartans were able to take home their third victory, 72-64, led by an almost-triple-double from junior forward Lykendra Johnson.
The Spartans (6-1) struggled and appeared to be handing the game to the No. 15 Seminoles (6-1) in the first half of Wednesday night’s game before they battled back and handed Florida State its first loss of the season.
For the first 15 minutes of the game, it didn’t matter that the Spartans were in Florida because they were still feeling the effects of the snowfall in East Lansing.
It was as if the team had just stepped outside without a jacket. They were ice cold in every aspect of the game.
As a team, the Spartans shot 2-for-13, were out-rebounded 17-7, were outscored 14-0 in the paint, and in a blink of an eye found themselves down, 23-7, with 8:39 to play in the first half.
“We got blasted on the boards,” MSU head coach Suzy Merchant told Spartan Sports Network following the game. “That was one of our game plans too, but that is one of the best 1-through-5 rebounding teams we’ve played. Baylor was pretty good but they didn’t do it from every spot (like the Seminoles.)”
It took eight straight points from junior guard Porsche Poole in order for the Spartans to cut the Seminoles lead to 10.
However, when the Spartans warmed up, they caught fire. A 6-0 run sparked by Johnson to end the first half left the Spartans trailing just 30-25.
Johnson went on to finish the game with 11 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high nine steals, one shy of a triple double.
The Spartans started the second half where they left off, extending that run to 19-0 and taking the lead for the first time, 37-30, with 16:55 to play in the game.
From there, the Spartans didn’t look back and were a different team than when they started the game.
Late in the game, Florida State’s Courtney Ward’s free throws cut the MSU lead to 2 points with one minute left.
After tallying just two points in the first half, senior forward Kalisha Keane came through in the clutch again for the Spartans.
With free throws, she scored the games final four points and locked down the win for MSU.
Keane led MSU with 22 points on the night.
“It doesn’t get any easier for us,” Merchant said. “We’ll celebrate on the way home, but when we land in Lansing, we’re all about the next one.”
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