The women’s basketball team won its Big Ten opener in commanding fashion Saturday, defeating the Minnesota Gophers (11-4 overall, 0-1 Big Ten) 81-56 on the road.
Five players reached double-figures for MSU, led by freshman guard Tori Jankoska, who had 14 points. Junior guard Kiana Johnson added 13 points, nine assists and five rebounds. The Gophers were led by redshirt freshman Zahui B. Amanda, who scored a game-high 21 points and hauled in seven rebounds.
The Spartans (9-5 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) now have won three straight after dropping four of five.
It was a back-and fourth affair for the first 11 minutes of the game, but the Spartans outscored Minnesota 25-5 over the course of the last nine.
Redshirt junior center Madison Williams nailed a jumper with 6:33 left to put the Spartans up, 18-16. From that point on, the Gophers had no answer for the Spartan offense, which shot a scorching 57 per cent for the game. A 13-0 run helped MSU take a 35-20 lead with 48 seconds left in the half.
Amanda found her shot in the second half, scoring the first eight Minnesota points. But the deficit continued to grow. Junior center Jasmine Hines hit a jumpshot with 13:50 left in the half to push MSU’s lead to 22, 55-33.
Jankoska scored 10 of her 14 points in the final nine minutes of the game, putting the finishing touches on a win for the women’s basketball team.
The Spartans will return to action next Thursday, facing Nebraska at Breslin Center in the Big Ten home opener.
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