Michigan State women's basketball has all but cleaned house at the bottom of the Big Ten standings after taking down Wisconsin 70-62 at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Wisconsin kept the game a lot closer than expected, despite Michigan State going big on their starting lineup with junior center Taiyier Parks replacing freshman guard DeeDee Hagemann, who is on concussion protocol.
MSU only mustered 12 points against Wisconsin's 15 in the first ten minutes, a huge flip from the Badgers' last match versus Purdue where they spent the first quarter with two points to the Boilermakers' 17.
MSU didn't come around the bend in the Kohl Center until the second half, when they had a 23-11 run on 53.8% shooting from the field, 75% from beyond the arc and perfection from the line in just the third quarter.
MSU stretched their entire bench to the maximum tonight. Being down their starting point guard threw them for a loop, but it did help slightly that graduate forward Tamara Farquhar was out there powering through a minor shoulder injury.
There were appearances from graduate guard Laurel Jacqmain, junior forward Jayla James, freshman forward Isaline Alexander and freshman center Brooklyn Rewers. While they didn't contribute much on the offensive end, only six points surfacing – four from Alexander and two from Rewers – they did offer a combined four rebounds, two assists and even a steal.
As always, senior guard Nia Clouden and freshman forward Matilda Ekh carried the majority of the Spartans' points, but not without help from Farquhar and graduate forward Alisia Smith.
Ekh rolled in 25 herself while Clouden and Smith added 12 each. Parks and Farquhar were deep in the paint keeping their arms up to grab as many boards as possible, getting 11 together, on top of three assists, two blocks and four steals.
The Spartans hooked onto a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and managed to hold it out to the very end, even with Clouden teetering on the edge of foul trouble with four personals. After 12 lead changes and 11 ties with their opponent, they prevailed.
Wisconsin sophomore guard Brooke Schramek was the only one who fouled out this game, collecting her fifth personal with under three minutes to go in the fourth. The Badgers were led by sophomore guard Halle Douglass — with 18 points, four assists and three steals — and freshman guard Krystyna Ellew with 19 points and three assists. Douglass also went 6-for-6 from beyond the arc tonight, setting a school record for the red and white.
Michigan State advances to 14-11 on the season, 8-6 in conference.
They will return home for looking to sweep the season series against Penn State (9-15, 3-11) on Monday, Feb. 21. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. on the Big Ten Network. The last time the teams met was Jan. 27 in University Park, Pennsylvania, where the Spartans secured an elusive 76-58 road win over the Nittany Lions.
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