Clad in pink jerseys, the No. 25 women’s basketball team put on a dominating show Saturday night.
Honoring breast cancer awareness in the annual pink game, the Spartans (17-8 overall, 9-3 Big Ten) cruised to a victory at Breslin Center, defeating Ohio State, (14-14, 4-8) 70-49.
Junior forward Becca Mills had 17 points and eight rebounds and tied her career highs with five blocks and two steals. Senior forward Annalise Pickrel had 17 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, while redshirt freshman guard Aerial Powers added 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and five turnovers.
It was a bounce-back game for Pickrel, who hit double digits in the scoring column for the first time since Jan. 30 against Wisconsin. She set a season-low during the 76-56 loss against Nebraska on Feb. 8, mustering three points on 1-of-5 shooting.
“I thought she was really back to willing herself and the team to playing at a high level,” head coach Suzy Merchant said of Pickrel. “She did it defensively, she certainly did it offensively, rebounding. She had some great assists that led to layups. It was nice to see that energy and enthusiasm.”
Ohio State sophomore guard Ameryst Alston led all scorers with 25 points but needed 32 shots to reach her total.
As the result of an Ohio State administrative technical foul before the game, freshman guard Tori Jankoska, who finished with 11 points and six rebounds, shot and made a technical free throw before the opening tip.
The Buckeyes went on a 6-0 run to cut the score to 21-15 with less than eight minutes remaining, but MSU closed the first half on a 17-2 run to take command of the game.
MSU led by as many as 28 in the second half, but a 15-2 Buckeye run helped Ohio State trim the lead to 15 with less than two minutes remaining, 64-49. However, MSU scored the last three buckets to cap off the win.
The Spartans were devastating on the glass, grabbing 57 rebounds, 14 on the offensive end. MSU held Ohio State to 30.9 percent shooting for the game, and tied a season-high in assists with 21, but turned the ball over 21 times.
“I like that our defense was there tonight because obviously that helps ignite our break on the offensive end,” Merchant said. “We got some sloppy spurts, obviously. (I) didn’t think we were as powerful in the second half as we were in the first. But we got through it and I was proud of our group.”
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