Graduate student forward Tamara Farquhar, fresh off her season-high 22 rebounds against Ohio State, played a key role in the victory over Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament by showing off her mental and physical strength along with her advanced court vision.
She finished the game with nine points and nine rebounds, one of each away from another double-double, but most importantly with four fouls. The Spartans had four players in foul trouble in the second half, including Farquhar and star senior guard Nia Clouden, forcing them to play with extreme caution.
“Even though both of them were in foul trouble, we had to play them in those situations,” Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant said. “Tamara had a huge bucket down the stretch, had the opportunity to get to the free-throw line too and Nia getting to the line too finished the deal. Those are plays you gotta make at this time in your career when you’re upperclassman and it’s survive and advance.”
Farquhar understood she had to give everything she had to stay in the game and fulfill her role in the post against her former team.
“It was hard playing with fouls, but at the end of the day it’s the end of the season,” Farquhar said. “You have to be able to play through things like that all the time.”
Not only did she play through while walking the tightrope with four fouls, she along with fellow post players graduate student forward Alisia Smith and junior center Taiyier Parks, were able to outwork and outrebound the Boilermakers under the basket.
“I always say this about rebounding, rebounding is a loose ball, offensively and defensively, it’s the kid that gives the most effort and goes after it,” Merchant said. “For her, her effort was tremendous.”
Her effort translated to the offensive side of her game as well. She was able to intercept a pass from Purdue senior guard Cassidy Hardin and take it up the court herself before dishing it off to freshman forward Matilda Ekh to complete the fastbreak layup.
“She’s not a full court dribbling playmaking human and then she found Matilda for a layup,” Merchant said. “This time of year anything can happen. (Junior guard) Jeanae Terry hit two threes and (Farquhar) drove the full length of the court and created a shot for someone else.”
Farquhar and the Spartans now move onto the quarterfinal of the tournament where they will face the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Spartans lost both of their meetings during the regular season, but Farquhar excelled during these games finishing the matchup in Columbus with 13 points and eight rebounds and the one in East Lansing with 10 points and an outstanding 22 rebounds.
If they hope to pull off the upset win against Ohio State, they'll need Farquhar to continue to fulfill her role as a rebounder and to create big plays when her team needs it most. Tipoff against Ohio State is Friday at 11:30 a.m. on Big Ten Network.
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