It’s only the beginning of their 2020 Big Ten campaign, yet the Michigan State women’s basketball team (4-0) showed promise in their 86-82 victory over Iowa (4-1) Saturday evening.
After losing the tipoff but rebounding the ball, sophomore guard Alyza Winston put up two three-pointers. Her teammate, sophomore guard Julia Ayrault, followed suit by putting up a pair of three's of her own and forcing Iowa to call a 30-second timeout as the Spartans led 12-2.
Solid defensive measures from the Spartans ensured their lead early on as they ended the first quarter up 24-16. Michigan State forced eight turnovers, contributing to their 12 point lead.
Offensively, Winston put up a solid 3-for-4 from behind the arc in the first quarter.
Michigan State more than doubled Iowa’s points at 31-16 with 5:55 left in the second quarter. Before halftime, Winston contributed a total of 17 points and freshman forward Kendall Bostic grabbed eight rebounds.
The Spartans drove five more Iowa turnovers in the second quarter, keeping their lead at 44-28 at the end of the first half. Winston and Ayrault put up a combined 29 points before heading into halftime.
Iowa’s offense started to push the ball as the Spartans’ lead began to shrink to 48-39 with 7:11 left in the third quarter. Iowa freshman guard Caitlin Clark and junior forward/center Monika Czinano kept the Spartans on their toes.
Clark continuously put up a battle against MSU’s junior guard Nia Clouden. Clark ended the night with a game high 34 points and seven rebounds.
With 5:14 left in the fourth quarter, Michigan State continued their lead at 70-65 as tensions grew with the clock ticking down. Two undefeated Big Ten teams with only a margin of five points would put pressure on any player.
With five seconds left in the fourth quarter, Clouden made two free throws that widened the Spartans’ winning margin to 86-82.
However, Iowa’s efforts did not go unnoted with performances by Clark, and sophomore guard/forward McKenna Warnock who snatched 12 rebounds.
After defeating Minnesota at the Williams Arena and playing an undefeated Hawkeyes team, the Michigan State women’s basketball remains undefeated.
The Spartans will host the Central Michigan Chippewas (2-1) in their fifth game of the season Friday, Dec. 18. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.
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