Michigan State women's basketball (19-10, 9-9 Big Ten) ended the regular season with a 81-63 loss at Minnesota Sunday.
The Spartans started with back-to-back threes from freshman guard Nia Clouden and redshirt junior forward Victoria Gaines to take the 6-0 lead, but Minnesota quickly caught up and surpassed the Spartans.
Both teams struggled with turnovers and fouls in the first quarter holding the first quarter score at a tie of 14.
MSU struggled in the second quarter to break Minnesota’s hot offense led by sophomore guard/forward Destiny Pitts’ nine first half points. Minnesota’s defense held the Spartans scoreless in the last 4:97 in the second quarter giving the Golden Gophers the upper hand at the half, 31-20. Clouden led with nine points at the half.
Third quarter action began with a foul and a turnover on senior center Jenna Allen, but MSU ended up drawing key fouls on the Golden Gophers. Minnesota outscored the Spartans, 26-23 in the third quarter, making the score, 57-43 in favor of the home team.
Minnesota native Nia Hollie went 3-4 at the free throw line, scoring the Spartans only points for the first three minutes of the fourth quarter. Michigan State’s Clouden made an impact in the fourth quarter scoring 12 of MSU’s 20 fourth quarter points.
The Spartans shot 35.7 percent from the field, 27.8 percent from three point range and 81.8 percent from the line. Clouden led all scorers with 18 points and three rebounds, followed by Colley’s ten points and three assists. Michigan State will get the ninth place seed and will face eighth seed Northwestern at noon on March 7.
The Golden Gophers shot 41.1 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from behind the arch and 93.8 percent from the line. Led by Pitts’ 26 points and 3 steals and redshirt senior guard Kenisha Bell’s 22 points and eight rebounds, Minnesota will get the seventh place seed for the tournament and will face tenth seed Indiana March 7 at 6:30 p.m.