No. 23 Michigan State defeated Michigan, 77-73, to break their four game away losing streak dating back to Jan. 3.
The Spartans had a slow start, but quickly found their rhythm behind a 9-0 run kickstarted by a Jenna Allen three-pointer. In the first quarter, the Spartans were 50 percent from behind the arch and 47.5 percent from the field.
Redshirt freshman guard Claire Hendrickson and redshirt sophomore forward Mardrekia Cook had quality minutes in the first half.
“Fifteen minutes was a lot for Drekia, I wasn’t even sure she was going to play ... she really wanted to try it,” head coach Suzy Merchant. She finished with seven points. “She was a big factor for us.”
All six Spartans that shot from behind the arch made at least one, making the half time score 41-31 in favor of the Spartans.
Michigan State shot 43.8 percent from the field, 47.1 percent from behind the arch and 5-6 from the free throw line. Victoria “Coco” Gaines led the Spartans with seven points and five rebounds and four Spartans trailed her with six points each.
Michigan, led by senior center Hallie Thome’s eight points and 3 rebounds, shot 35.5 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from behind the three point line and 57.1 percent from the free throw line.
The Spartans continued to dominate in the second half, never trailing. Shay Colley was a constant presence at the free throw line, making 9 of 10 as the Spartans shot 76 percent from the free throw line. The Spartans shot 44 percent from the field and 42 percent from behind the arch, on the way to the road victory. Shay Colley, Taryn McCutcheon and Jenna Allen led the Spartans with 14 points each and Coco Gaines led with seven rebounds.
“I think she was really prepared and kinda put the team on her back. She’s come to Crisler the last two years as an underclassman and I just talked to my team about having some vets and kids that understand what this rivalry’s all about,” Merchant said. “It means something to us and I know it means a lot to them too. You mean you grow up in this state, there’s no in between. I thought Taryn did a really good job of playing multiple positions.... I thought she was aggressive looking for her shot.”
Michigan was led by freshman forward Naz Hillmon with 17 points and 10 rebounds. The Wolverines shot 45 percent from the field, 40 percent from behind the three point line and were 11-17 from behind the line.
The Spartans will have a brief break before hosting Penn State (10-10, 3-6 Big Ten) on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.
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