FINAL: Spartans hold off Wolverines in second meeting of the season
Michigan State defeated the Michigan Wolverines, 74-64 for the second time this season.
MSU started off hot capitalizing on key Michigan turnovers going on a 9-0 run. The Wolverines had a tough time countering with the full court press MSU’s coach Suzy Merchant instilled mid way through the first quarter.
“We got after it the last two days.” Merchant said. “...We have to do things more competitively and we have to get back to grinding. Getting better at mental and physical transitions and cutting hard.”
After the first quarter, senior center Jenna Allen led with 10 points. MSU shot 44 percent from the field and 50 percent from three point range.
The Spartans started the second quarter with a 5-0 run. Both teams continued with the full court press that seemed to only pick up the pace of the game.
MSU had the six point lead at the half, 42-37.
“I felt like we played well and played hard.” Merchant said after the defeating Michigan.
At the half, both teams had 18 fast break points, while Michigan had 10 points off of fast breaks and MSU had 12 points.
The Spartans shot 44.1 percent from the field, 30.8 percent from behind the arch and 80 percent from the free throw line. Allen led with 15 points and seven rebounds, followed by redshirt junior forward Victoria “Coco” Gaines’ eight points and three rebounds.
“I feel like my coaches and my teammates did a really good job today, giving me the ball where I can be successful.” Allen said about her comeback after coming out of a several game slump.
The Wolverines shot 50 percent from the field, 62.5 percent from three point range and 80 percent from the free throw line. Freshman forward Naz Hillmon led with 14 points off the bench and senior guard Nicole Munger had 12 points.
The Spartans took advantage of the Wolverines’ tired energy and went on a 7-0 run in the third quarter. During the fourth quarter the Wolverines picked up their energy, but were to hyped up and continued to pick up fouls that turned out to be a point where the Spartans excelled.
“(Merchant) was the one to kind of instill to us,” Allen said about the difference in energy in practice. “We kind of had our backs against the wall, lost three in a row and we want to finish strong and we want to make the NCAA tournament, make a run in the Big Ten tournament. The way she got on us really brought the energy out of us today.”
MSU shot 39.7 percent from the field, 26.3 percent from three point range and 85.2 percent from behind the line. Allen led with 18 points and seven rebounds, followed by redshirt junior guard Shay Colley’s 12 points and 5 rebounds and freshman guard Nia Clouden and sophomore forward Mardrekia Cook’s 11 points.
Michigan committed 26 fouls as a team, which proved to be costly for the Wolverines as the Spartans were 23-27 at the line. Michigan shot 45.5 percent from the field, 45.5 percent from three point range and 56.3 percent from the free throw line.
The Spartans will host Penn State on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. for the last home game of the season.