Following their loss at the hands of Syracuse the night prior, No. 19 Michigan State women's basketball (7-4) looked to finish out the Sunshine Classic against No. 22 West Virginia (8-1). Despite battling for the lead throughout, the Spartans would let it slip at the end of the third period and couldn't find a way back on top, falling 63-57.
In her return to the starting lineup from injury, redshirt senior guard Shay Colley made her presence felt. With 11 points, three rebounds and two assists, Colley was one of the most consistent Spartans in the contest.
Sophomore guard Nia Clouden again led the Spartans with 16 points and eight rebounds. Even Clouden's performance came with it's struggle, shooting just 5-of-14 from the field and turning the ball over twice.
Overall, both teams struggled from the field. Despite the loss, the Spartans actually shot better than the Mountaineers, making 35% to West Virginia's 34% from the field.
The Spartans were able to fight past their forgettable performance from the field for a majority of the game, keeping themselves in it well into the final minute of the game.
With just 40 seconds left, Clouden would find herself at the line, completing an and-one opportunity to put the Spartans within just two points. But with time running down, they were forced to put the Mountaineers at the line, much like their last game against Syracuse.
Two misses on the Spartans' final possession would drain enough clock to put things out of reach and send them home with two more losses blemishing their record and no wins to show for it.
In a game that was decided by just six points, where neither team could seemingly find a bucket from the field, free throws played a big role in the outcome.
Michigan State had an underwhelming performance from the line again and it hurt them. Shooting 58.8% from the line, going 10-17 as a team, they lost out on seven points that could've been the deciding factor.
West Virginia didn't. Although they didn't shoot perfect from the line, a 17-20 performance gave the Mountaineers the space they needed to keep things out of reach late into the game.
The Spartans open up Big Ten play Dec. 28 at Indiana.