Michigan State women’s basketball (11-9, 4-5) let the lead slip in the fourth, turning a nail-biter into a 17-point loss against No. 19 Iowa (17-3, 8-1), 74-57.
It was an even contest throughout the game. Going into the fourth quarter, the Spartans held a slim two-point lead. Iowa, who hasn’t lost at home in nearly two years, didn’t plan on going quietly.
After being silenced in the third quarter, Iowa looked like they weren’t going to find the bucket again, but instead did the exact opposite. Led by freshman McKenna Warnock’s 15-point fourth quarter, the Hawkeyes turned a tie game with 5:13 left into a 17-point victory.
Outscoring the Spartans 28-9 in the final quarter, the Hawkeyes re-exposed a constant struggle Michigan State has had this season– closing out games.
In the loss, the Spartans got little production out of sophomore Kayla Belles, despite pulling down a team-high seven rebounds, Belles got in foul trouble early and proceeded to foul out in crunch time.
Belles scored just two points on the night.
Michigan State’s backcourt was able to turn things around from a zero-point performance against No. 22 Northwestern on Thursday. Senior guard Taryn McCutcheon scored 12 points and dished out five assists, while sophomore guard Nia Clouden added 10 points.
Neither player's effort was enough to handle the Hawkeyes' late surge.
Senior guard Kathleen Doyle produced 20 points, six rebounds and five assists. The production was all too familiar to Spartan coach Suzy Merchant, who coached Doyle this past summer on the USA team.
Consistency continues to be an issue, as the Spartans have suffered two tough losses in a row after getting their three-game win streak dismantled at the Breslin Center on Thursday.
Michigan State will look to turn things around Thursday against Purdue. With only one loss to their name at home this season, the Spartans have the perfect platform to bounce back in the Breslin Center.