Michigan State women's basketball remains perfect at home
The No. 24 Spartans remain perfect at home with a 77-61 win over Indiana.
Michigan State women's basketball started off hot with two three pointers from Shay Colley and Victoria “Coco” Gaines, leading to a 7-0 run in the middle of the quarter.
Indiana’s freshman guard Grace Berger was a problem MSU in the first quarter, driving to the basket four times, making six points off of three layups.
“I felt like it was a little of a struggle for us for sure in the first quarter especially,” head coach Suzy Merchant said about the slow start after the first quick points. “I was disappointed with our defense, getting beat off the bounce cause we were really focusing on that. That’s what Indiana does, they’re a dribble drive team, very powerful off the dribble. We just didn’t handle it very well.”
Colley and Gaines led the Spartans with five points each early in the game.
“At first it was really tough," Colley said. "We had a lot of fumble balls and turnovers in the first quarter. We really had to dig deep and really focus on the defense.”
In the second quarter, the defense focused in on the post. Indiana still remained dominant in the paint, outscoring the Spartans, 14-8 in the paint for the first half.
Michigan State had the 3-point lead at the half, 33-30.
The Spartans shot 37.9 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Colley lead MSU with 12 points and five rebounds, followed by Sidney Cooks and Gaines had five points each.
Indiana shot 34.3 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from behind the arch.
Berger led the Hoosiers with 10 points and three rebounds and freshman guard Jaelynn Penn’s seven points and two rebounds. The second half was a whole new story for MSU, as they ended up scoring 44 points in the second half.
“This game is too close at half,” Colley said Merchant told the team during halftime. “She lit us up on the defensive end, guarding the rail, guarding the guards, guarding their bigs and we all took it to heart. She called a few of us out.”
Junior guard Taryn McCutcheon had three three-pointers in the third quarter and that fueled a fire under Colley, who scored a career high 32 points.
“It just gives us a lot of energy especially seeing somebody else doing well. That’s like how our team is this year,” McCutcheon said. “We don’t get energy from ourselves but from the people around us. Her going off in that third quarter kind of gave us a whole new level of energy and we started playing a little bit harder and getting steals.”
MSU had 21 fast-break points and 28 in the paint while Indiana had 10 and 32, respectively.
The Spartans shot 46.4 percent from the field, 47.1 percent from three point range and 77.3 percent from the free throw line. Colley led the Spartans with 32 points, 6 rebounds, two blocks and five steals. McCutcheon and freshman Nia Clouden were the only other Spartans to score double digits against the Hoosiers.
Indiana shot 38.3 percent from the field, 35.3 percent behind the arch and 64.3 percent from the line. Penn’s 19 points, along with freshman guard Bendu Yeaney’s 12 and Berger’s 10 rounded out the top scorers for Indiana.
Lone senior Jenna Allen is now at 994 career points and is looking to become the 27th MSU player to reach the 1,000 point mark.
“She’s a great kid, she’s a hard worker, she’s always in the gym all the time," Merchant said. "(She) wants to be that go-to guy down the stretch. We wouldn’t be in the position we’re in right now if it wasn’t for how she carried the team on her back. Now maybe some other people have to step up and we’ll get her back up and going again.”
The Spartans are on the road for the next two games, traveling to Wisconsin Feb. 14 and then Nebraska for the Feb. 17 matchup. BTN Plus will be broadcasting the Spartans vs. Badgers on Thursday with a tip at 8 p.m.