On Thanksgiving, Michigan State women's basketball could not keep up with the fifth-ranked Iowa State Cyclones as ISU scored 80 points to MSU's 49.
The Spartans struggled without leading scorer and sophomore forward Matilda Ekh as she was busy with the Swedish National Team.
Early on, the MSU defense continued to do what they do best. They forced three turnovers in the first five minutes.
Despite the turnovers, ISU kept themselves in the game early as they were 2-5 from deep to keep the deficit at two as the first media timeout of the game was called.
Senior forward/center Stephanie Soares was giving MSU lots of trouble early and throughout the entire night. She recorded seven points in the first 10 minutes on 3-5 shooting from the field with a three-pointer to add. She also had three blocks going into the break. Her squad finished the first quarter with five altogether.
ISU went into the second quarter up 18-12 but would soon break the score wide open.
The Spartans' offense stalled as the turnovers started to rack up and three-pointers would not fall. In the first 15 minutes of play, MSU recorded four turnovers and went 0-7 from deep. Junior guard Gabby Elliot scored the first bucket of the quarter for MSU four minutes in.
The threes continued to rain down from the Cyclone side as they hit on five of their attempts before heading into the locker room. The effort was balanced as all five of their threes came from different players.
The Cyclone defense kept up their pressure as the MSU offense was subpar in the last minutes of the half. They only managed to put five points on the scoreboard in the second period. They went into the half with two more turnovers than field goals as they shot 6-30 and 0-9 from beyond the arc.
The Cyclones went into halftime up 37-17 and would not slow down for the rest of the night.
Soares continued to soar in the third quarter as she recorded an assist, four layups, a jumper, a free throw, a block, a rebound and a steal in the third ten-minute stanza.
Sophomore guard DeeDee Hagemann was a bright spot for MSU offensively, as she hit 10 points with around 15 minutes of play remaining. At that point, she was 3-7 from the field and 4-7 from the free throw stripe. She finished her night with 14 points.
The Spartans could not find any rhythm in the third quarter either, as they went into the final 10 minutes 11-45 from the field and 0-12 from the three-point line.
Finally, MSU broke its three-point dry spell in the fourth as graduate guard Stephanie Visscher and senior guard Moira Joiner hit on their attempts.
The offense and energy for MSU ramped up in the final 10 minutes. Still, ISU kept coming back at them with triples from senior guard/forward Ashley Joens, junior guard Lexi Donarski and redshirt freshman guard Denae Fritz.
Soares wasn't done dominating either until the last minute, as she converted on an and-one opportunity to push her point total to 23. She finished with 11 rebounds as well to give her a double-double.
With the win, the Cyclones will play the Tar Heels in the championship, while the Green and White will take on Oregon in the third-place game on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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