There was hope in the first quarter that maybe the 4-4 road team we know so well would prevail like they did last weekend on the East coast at both Penn State and Rutgers.
But that flame burning bright from the green and white was snuffed after a mere 11 minutes when Minnesota's graduate guard Deja Winters and junior guard Sara Scalia clocked an immediate four points to pull the Golden Gophers ahead to an eventual 71-60 victory.
Despite the hard work put in by senior guard Nia Clouden, the Michigan State women's basketball team had short-circuited.
Seventeen turnovers, 22 points made off of those turnovers by Minnesota and 19 personal fouls that sent freshman guard DeeDee Hagemann and graduate forward Tamara Farquhar to the bench in the final minutes. That's what.
Twenty-nine points from your point guard can only get you so far, especially when they're the only person scoring significantly against an opponent who has three others in or nearing double digits. Scalia had 24 points and was backed up by Winters' 10, sophomore guard Alexia Smith's 13 and freshman forward Alanna Micheaux's nine, while Clouden only had true help from freshman forward Matilda Ekh with 12.
This was a big difference from the last time the team's met up on Jan. 23 at the Breslin Center, where Clouden and Ekh combined for 58 of the 74 total points and junior center Taiyier Parks added 11.
After their loss to Maryland on Thursday, Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant said they needed to get more out of Hagemann in the scoring department. That game, Hagemann went zero-for-eight from the field, but she also surpassed the 100 assists marker — which not many freshmen accomplish. Hagemann added an additional nine assists to her career record today, landing at 113.
Hagemann added a crucial shot from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter in an attempt to shrink the Spartans' deficit to only two possessions, but it was not much of a match for the maroon and gold.
Merchant utilized skills from freshman forward Isaline Alexander and graduate guard Laurel Jacqmain more than normal today, as well. While Alexander went scoreless at the charity stripe and racked up four turnovers, she added two points from the field with three rebounds and one assist. Jacqmain did not add anything to the score sheet other than one offensive rebound.
The Spartans will now fall to 12-10 on the season (6-5 in the Big Ten) as they gear up to battle for the title of 'Best in State' against the No. 6 Michigan Wolverines (19-2, 10-1) next on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
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