Monday, June 24, 2024

FINAL: MSU women's basketball blows out Delaware State in season opener

November 7, 2022
<p>Freshman guard Theryn Hallock goes up for a layup during the Spartans&#x27; 86-37 win over Delaware State on Nov. 7.</p>

Freshman guard Theryn Hallock goes up for a layup during the Spartans' 86-37 win over Delaware State on Nov. 7.

In its 50th season opener, the Michigan State women's basketball team dominated the Delaware State Hornets 86-37 Monday afternoon.

It was Spartans School Day as local students filled the stands to watch the squad's home opener.

MSU scored the first points of the game and never looked back. The Spartans did not trail once throughout the four quarters.

The squad started off slow offensively though, shooting 0-8 from the three-point arc in the first quarter.

Head Women's Basketball Coach Suzy Merchant said that the team has to come out of the gates quicker as the season progresses as they face better competition.

“At some point, we have to make layups and hit open shots,” Merchant said. “We're power five, because guys, let's just focus in. I know there is people in the stands but we got to get off to a better starts because as we continue to play better competition and kids that can really shoot the ball and they put points on the board we're going to have to be able to answer that as well.”

Michigan State picked it up after the first period though, finishing the game 10-29 from three and 31-64 overall from the field.

The defense was hounding the Hornets all afternoon long, forcing 26 turnovers and only allowing Delaware State to shoot 30 percent from the field.

Merchant mentioned that MSU's press and the team's depth led to such a suffocating performance on that side of the ball.

“The other thing I was proud of with our group is we did a pretty good job, once they did break our press, of not fouling,” Merchant said. “In the last game when we pressed I thought we did too much fouling and I thought our kids were much more disciplined defensively being in their gaps, guarding one on one and walling up versus swatting at it.”

Junior guard Gabby Elliot led all scorers with 14 points, with 11 of her points coming from inside the arc. She also was tied with graduate student guard Stephanie Visscher for the team lead in rebounds with six and led the team in free throws attempted with seven. She hit three of the seven from the stripe.

Elliott, a Clemson transfer, said playing strongly down low was all in the game plan that led to her big performance.

“Really just the game plan and just seeing what is open and converting on it,” Elliot said. “We work on layups in practice, we work on shooting so just, like what coach said, falling back on your training.”

Three other players finished with double digits in the scoring column as senior guard Moira Joiner finished with 13, Visscher had 12 and senior forward Taiyier Parks put up 10.

With Joiner and Visscher playing big minutes and performing off the bench, Merchant said players will get opportunities based on how they play in practice.

“You want to reward kids for how they get after it in practice because on game night, you should just fall back on your training,” Merchant said. “You should just ball, the game should be easy. Practice shouldn't be hard. So if you've done it in practice, you're going to be able to perform in the game. And so that's kind of how we do just something simple as that. So our rotations are somewhat based on how well they do in practice, because everybody gets to play in practice. So that's where you come in to earn the opportunity to kind of level up against somebody else.”

MSU starts the season out 1-0 with the win and will face Purdue Fort Wayne at home on Thursday night at 7 p.m.

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