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Women's basketball opens season with 70-51 exhibition win over Grand Valley State

November 9, 2014
<p>Redshirt sophomore forward Aerial Powers makes a mid air pass while Grand Valley center Korynn Hincka, 44, attempts the block during the game against Grand Valley State on Nov. 9, 2014, at the Breslin Center. The Spartans defeat the Lakers 70-51. Raymond Williams/The State News</p>

Redshirt sophomore forward Aerial Powers makes a mid air pass while Grand Valley center Korynn Hincka, 44, attempts the block during the game against Grand Valley State on Nov. 9, 2014, at the Breslin Center. The Spartans defeat the Lakers 70-51. Raymond Williams/The State News

Photo by Raymond Williams | The State News

The MSU women’s basketball team kicked off its season in an exhibition game against Grand Valley State on Sunday night. They were off to a shaky start, but the Spartans still walked away with a 70-51 win.

The Spartans shot 44.5 percent overall, with a 22.2 percent clip on 3-pointers. With some inaccurate passes and absent defense at times, they still managed to pull through.

“We had moments and we didn’t do a very good job on putting that altogether,” head coach Suzy Merchant said. “We do a really nice job for a period of time and then we have empty possessions, offensively, and follow that up with empty possessions defensively.”

Senior forward Becca Mills scored the first two points for MSU, who regained possession of the ball through the rebound, giving to redshirt sophomore forward Aerial Powers. Powers then scored a layup before Grand Valley State regained the ball.

Powers set the pace for the rest of the game, making the first 3-pointer of the game with 17:63 left in the first half.

From there, the Spartans continued to raise the score with two more 3-pointers by sophomore guard Tori Jankoska, who attempted six for the night.

According to Merchant, the team took and missed too many 3-pointer, and were settling for jumpers.

Powers made one 3-point shot out of four attempted. Throughout the first half, she scored five points for MSU.

At the half, Spartans led Grand Valley State 39-22. After this, MSU began to lose their momentum against the Lakers.

“In our defense, we haven’t really played against people that play a lot of zones,” Merchant said.

Jasmine Hines scored the first four points for the second half, with two consecutive layups.

Powers made an entry pass to Mills, who scores with a layup with 15:19 left in the game. Korynn Hinkcka of Grand Valley State gained possession of the ball and made a 3-pointer.

A 3-pointer for Jankoska was followed by a Grand Valley State layup, and the Spartans were starting to fall behind, leading by only 13 points.

“To me, I saw really good spurts,” Merchant said. “You are never going to be the team you want to be this time of year.”

With less than three minutes left in the game, Grand Valley State called a time out following a fight to the basket for Hill.

Hines ended the game with a final layup, assisted by senior forward Kendra Lumpkin, giving the Spartans a 19-point victory over Grand Valley State.

MSU hosts Eastern Michigan on Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. and Notre Dame, the national runner up, on the Nov. 19.

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