Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Final: Michigan State's offense disappears in second half loss to No. 16 Indiana

January 31, 2021
Freshman guard Nia Clouden (24) looks to make a pass during the game against Indiana on Feb.11, 2019. The Spartans lead the Hoosiers 33-30 at halftime.
Freshman guard Nia Clouden (24) looks to make a pass during the game against Indiana on Feb.11, 2019. The Spartans lead the Hoosiers 33-30 at halftime. —
Photo by CJ Weiss | The State News

Michigan State women’s basketball has lost their fourth game in their last five as they fell to No.16 Indiana on Sunday, 79-67.

Michigan State, after their two week pause, was finally back to full strength as Tory Ozment returned to the court after being out with COVID-19, but Indiana’s defense was still too much for the Spartans to overcome.

The last time out for Michigan State, the Spartans were dismal on offense, turning the ball over 24 times and only creating 10 assists. Michigan State struggled to complete passes down low to the post and find any rhythm from beyond the arc as they lost by 40.

However, it was the Spartans who would come out hot against a stout Indiana defense to begin the game against the Hoosiers. Nia Clouden kicked things off with a beautiful pass down low to Alisia Smith to start off the game.

Smith’s impact was felt immediately in this game, scoring six points in a fast start for the Spartans.

Michigan State, in their start, also got going from beyond the arc as Moira Joiner got things going with a three in transition and just two possessions later making a beautiful skip-pass along the baseline for an Alyza Winston three to make 16-6 early in the first.

The Hoosiers wouldn’t stay cold for long as their season leading scorer Mackenzie Holmes began to get their offense moving. Despite her leaving with two fouls, the Hoosiers kept battling by sinking four of their five three pointers to go on a 17-4 run to gain their first lead of the night. 

As the Hoosiers seemed to be regaining their momentum on their historic home-court of Assembly Hall, Smith rose to the occasion with three consecutive buckets to keep the Spartans within a possession.

In big time games, your best players have to come to play. To begin a 9-2 run to gap the Hoosiers by eight heading into the half, it was Clouden who took control as the shot clock ticked to zero drilling a three from NBA range.

However, defenses don’t just disappear for an entire game.

The Hoosiers defense has been among the best in the conference this season, holding teams to 57.8 points per game on the season. However, that wasn’t the case in the first half as the Spartans shot 66.7% from the field.

They tightened it up in the third quarter as they forced three Clouden turnovers and held Michigan State to 35.7% from the field as they gained a two point lead heading unto a pivotal fourth quarter.

Indiana’s Grace Berger had struggled in the first half, but repeatedly drove into the lane to create offense for a 25 point quarter for her squad.

With the momentum on the side of the Hoosiers after a buzzer beating three to end the third, they came out rolling with a 9-2 run to take control of the game.

The Spartans could not climb back on the Hoosiers as they were only able to muster 11 points in the third quarter and only 26 points in the entire second half despite scoring 22 points in the second quarter along.

Despite early foul trouble, Holmes finished the night with 17 points on 8-10 shooting. Aleksa Golbe and Jaelynn Penn combined for 27 points, 15 of that coming from beyond the arc.

The Hoosiers, despite shooting 26.7% from the three point line on the season, shot an outstanding 70% (7-10) from the field, making the difference in the game.

Smith finished the night with 17 points on an efficient 7-10 shooting despite a rough outing against No.7 Maryland on Thursday. Clouden alongside Smith dropped 19 as she continues to be one of the most consistent scorers in the Big Ten.

Crooms also had her season high output in points with 10. Ozment in her first game since Jan. 10  only played 12 minutes and finished with one point and three turnovers.

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Michigan State will return to East Lansing as they will face a struggling Illinois team as they look to return to form.

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