The No. 22 MSU women’s basketball team played the Southern University Jaguars Tuesday night at the Breslin Center. The Spartans showed more new faces on the court throughout the game, and senior guard Tori Jankoska led the Spartans to a 70-55 victory.
With new players in the starting lineup, MSU started slow on both ends of the court. Southern’s defense caused confusion and problems on the court early on for the Spartans; for the first several minutes of the game, MSU missed several scoring chances. While on defense, MSU had a hard time finding the shooter for the Jaguars, giving them easy points.
Jankoska was double-teamed, which led to open shooters for the Spartans. Gradually, the game's momentum shifted and the defense followed suit shutting down the majority of Southern’s opportunities to score. The Spartans went on a 13-1 run near the end of the first quarter with Jankoska scoring 7 of those points. Jankoska finished the night with a team-high 16 points.
MSU showed major improvement from the free throw line — the Spartans were 12-of-13 from the free throw line during the first quarter, with freshman Nia Hollie and Jankoska making all four of their free throws.
The game remained in MSU's favor throughout the second quarter and into halftime. In the second quarter, the Jaguars could only convert 2-of-13 field goals leading into the second half. Scoring wasn’t only an issue for the Jaguars, but also the Spartans. With their 13-1 run in the first quarter, the Spartans scored 23 points but had 36 going into halftime, with a 6-for-16 conversion rate in the second quarter.
During the second half MSU out-rebounded Southern with senior guard Branndais Agee leading the team with 12 total rebounds for a new career-high in her 30 minutes on the court. Graduate student Taya Reimer followed suit with seven offensive and four defensive rebounds bringing her total to 11. Reimer also finished with a double-double by scoring 12 points.
Hollie tied Reimer as MSU's second-highest scorer of the night with 12 points, she also had three defensive rebounds and one block. Hollie also had one steal, which she broke through two defenders to make it to the basketball all on her own.
The Spartans will play at Western Michigan on Friday. Tipoff against the Broncos is set for 7 p.m.