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Jankoska scores career-high in win over Golden Grizzlies

December 2, 2016
Junior guard Tori Jankoska fights past Iowa forward Kali Peschel during the first half of the game against Iowa on Jan. 16, 2016 at Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes, 80-73.
Junior guard Tori Jankoska fights past Iowa forward Kali Peschel during the first half of the game against Iowa on Jan. 16, 2016 at Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes, 80-73. —
Photo by Carly Geraci | and Carly Geraci The State News

After rounding out a five-game road trip with a loss to No. 21 Syracuse on Nov. 30, the No. 22 MSU women’s basketball team (7-2 overall) hosted the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies (4-3 overall) at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Senior guard Tori Jankoska had a career-high 37 points for the Spartans, who defeated the Grizzlies by a final score of 81-74.

Junior forward Leah Summerfield opened regulation scoring, making a pair of free throws for OU 1:41 into the first quarter. The Spartans would take a commanding 18-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. OU would only convert one shot from the floor in the opening quarter, coming from guard Sha’Keya Graves, while the rest of the Golden Grizzlies combined for 1-for-17 from the floor. The other three points from Oakland would come from consecutive free throws from redshirt-freshman forward Nikita Telesford. Jankoska led the quarter with five points, senior guard Branndais Agee would follow with four.

After shooting 5.9 percent from the floor in the first quarter, the Grizzlies would find themselves back into the game in the second quarter. Sophomore guard Taylor Jones opened back-to-back layups, to which MSU responded with consecutive layups from graduate transfer Taya Reimer. In the next two minutes to follow, OU would go on a 12-0 run to retake the lead, 23-22. Back-to-back shots from downtown by Jones and guard Taylor Gleason, capped off with a fastbreak layup by Graves forced MSU head coach Suzy Merchant to take a timeout.

MSU would respond after the timeout with a 9-0 run to reclaim the lead. Scores from Jankoska, along from sophomore forward Jenna Allen and freshman guard Taryn McCutcheon would aid the Spartans to a 31-23 halftime lead. Jankoska led the way at the half with 10 points and six assists and six rebounds. 

OU would stay in the game with persistent rebounding in the third quarter. Gleason would convert [four] field goals in the period, along with shots on the floor from Graves and Somerfield would help the Grizzlies take a brief 38-37 lead with 5:09 in the quarter. Jankoska would add seven more to her total in the moments to follow, with five coming from the fastbreak. Jones, however, would score nine points spanning over 1:10 to help Oakland take a 50-48 lead. As the third quarter was winding down, Allen helped reestablish a presence in the paint, giving MSU a 56-55 lead headed into the final quarter of regulation.

Agee would make the first two field goals for MSU to start the fourth quarter but would momentarily leave the game after injuring her knee — she returned with just over three minutes to play. Agee finished the game shooting 80 percent from the field with 12 points and six rebounds. 

Rebounding would improve for MSU in the fourth quarter, and a 3-point shot from McCutcheon and consecutive scores from Jankoska would give MSU the 67-59 advantage halfway through the fourth. OU would fail to score for the next 4:06, letting MSU regain a nine-point lead.  Ensuing field goals from OU cut MSU's lead to four with two minutes to play. A tip-in by redshirt-freshman forward Victoria Gaines and a pair of free throws from Agee would clinch the game for MSU. 

Jankoska would finish with a career-high 37 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double, accompanied by six assists, going 11-for-16 from the field and 12-of-12 from the free throw line. MSU finished the game shooting 29-of-60 from the floor, while Oakland was 28-of-72. MSU out-rebounded the Golden Grizzlies 44-34, with Jankoska leading the team with her 10. 

MSU will return to the road on Tuesday to take on Quinnipiac (5-1 overall) at 7 p.m.

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