Career games from freshman guard Tori Jankoska and redshirt junior center Madison Williams made the difference for the women’s basketball team Sunday afternoon.
Starting in place for junior guard Kiana Johnson, who did not travel with the team due to personal matters, Jankoska matched her career-high with 25 points and hit five of seven 3-point attempts to lead the Spartans past Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, 82-68.
The win snapped a two-game skid for MSU, and the Spartans (13-7 overall, 5-2 Big Ten) improved to 4-0 on the road in conference play.
After missing two of the past three games, Williams entered the game in the first half and helped the Spartans go on a decisive 13-0 run, blocking a career-high seven shots and grabbing eight rebounds. Her defensive presence disrupted a Buckeye offense that was accurate early in the game.
Redshirt freshman Aerial Powers scored 20 points with four rebounds, four steals, four assists and two blocks. Senior forward Annalise Pickrel had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Raven Ferguson had 20 points and three steals for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State got its offense rolling as six Buckeyes contributed to an 18-11 advantage eight minutes into the game.
Williams had a couple blocks and a jump shot during the 13-0 Spartan run that helped the Spartans take a 26-20 lead with 5:38 remaining in the first half.
The Buckeyes cut the deficit to 33-31 with under two minutes remaining. But Agee and junior forward Becca Mills scored the last points of the half to preserve the lead.
The Spartan offense continued to hum, starting the second half on an 8-2 run fueled by 3-pointers by Powers and Jankoska to take a 45-34 lead with 15:56 remaining.
The lead reached double digits after Jankoska nailed her fourth 3-pointer of the night and Powers hit two free throws to make it 50-36 with 14:52 on the clock.
Jankoska’s fifth 3-pointer with under 11 minutes left to give the Spartans a 13-point lead, 57-44. Powers was huge down the stretch, scoring 15 of her 20 points down the stretch to help MSU preserve the lead.
Pickrel hit two 3-pointers in the final two minutes to give MSU its biggest lead of the game, 77-62. Perfect free throw shooting by the Spartans allowed them to leave Columbus, OH with a win for the first time in five games against the Buckeyes.
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