Tuesday, June 25, 2024

MSU women’s basketball nearly hangs 100, rolls past Western Michigan

November 13, 2022
<p>Junior Guard Gabby Elliott trying to save the ball at the Western Michigan vs. MSU game held at the Breslin Center on November 13. The Spartans defeated the Broncos 97-49.</p><p><br/><br/><br/></p>

Junior Guard Gabby Elliott trying to save the ball at the Western Michigan vs. MSU game held at the Breslin Center on November 13. The Spartans defeated the Broncos 97-49.




Michigan State women’s basketball thrashed Western Michigan 97-49 behind sophomore forward Matilda Ekh’s 20-point performance on Sunday afternoon. 

After only shooting 6-18 and 3-13 with 16 points in her first two games this season, Ekh said it was nice to see her attempts start to fall. 

“It felt good," Ekh said. "I have been struggling a little bit through the first couple of games so it felt good to knock some shots down.”

Early on, the Broncos defense was giving the Spartan offense some issues. Western’s defense caused MSU to turn the ball over seven times in the first quarter. 

Foul trouble was also mounting for MSU as graduate guard Kamaria McDaniel and junior guard Gabby Elliot went to the bench in the first two minutes with two fouls each. They did not see the court for the rest of the half. 

Ekh got off to a hot start as she was able to bury two threes early in the first quarter.

Sophomore guard DeeDee Hagemann came alive near the end of the first quarter, hitting three threes and adding a pull-up jumper to push her point total to 11.

Ross was equally as effective for WMU in the quarter, scoring 10 points on 3-7 shooting from the field and 3-4 from the free throw stripe. 

Ekh continued her first quarter success in the second, hitting a three and maneuvering by her defender to score an easy layup within the first four minutes. That wouldn’t be all for her though as she drained two more threes to push her halftime total to 17 on 6-7 shooting. 

In the second quarter, MSU started to create some turnovers on defense. After losing in that category in the first quarter, the Spartans went into the half with a 14-12 advantage. 

Those turnovers helped MSU to go on a 23-5 run throughout the second period.

Head Coach Suzy Merchant said the team was able to settle in the second quarter which is what led to such a big run.

“The other thing I thought it did for us in that second quarter was as they got tired it made it hard for them to find their best two players," Merchant said. "The press was speeding them up and people were open and I thought our kids did a pretty good job of trying to cover on the backside after we adjusted our press.”

Ross could only manage two points in the second period to push her total to 12, but she was really the only offense Western could muster. Both teams went into the locker room down 46-19. 

After only playing a combined seven minutes in the first half, Elliot and McDaniel made their presence felt early on in the second half. 

Elliot started off the half with a pull up jumper and added a layup about a minute later. McDaniel also added a layup of her own off another Western turnover.

McDaniel continued to rack up the points for the Spartans as she finished the third quarter with two more transition layups and two buckets down low. She also converted on two of her three free throws in the period. She finished with 14 points and four assists. 

Despite the foul trouble that limited their first halves, Merchant was impressed with how they bounced back in the second half.

“Gabby had barely up to 12 minutes and had 11 points and six boards and she's a big factor for us in our pressure, she does a really good job being active,” Merchant said. “She can cover some ground. And then K Mac [McDaniel] can really play north and south and get herself to the free throw line. And I thought she did a good job of sharing the ball as well.”

While MSU’s offense continued to hit on all cylinders, the Broncos started to pick up their offense after a very poor second quarter. They were able to pull their total to 36 by the start of the fourth. The game was all but over at that point though, as MSU already had 77 on the scoreboard.

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Sophomore forward Isaline Alexander started to make some noise down low by the end of the third quarter. She ended the game with nine points and eight boards for the Spartans.

Ekh and Hagemann started the final period with familiar shots as they both were able to convert on their three point attempts. Ekh finished 7-9 from the field and 6-8 from three while Hagemann had 19 points and four dimes on 7-9 shooting as well. She was also a clean 5-6 from deep.

After only scoring a combined two points in her first two games, Hagemann said she was relieved to see her offense come alive.

“I know how hard I worked over the preseason and just finally seeing how that work helped me showed today,” Hagemann said.

The Spartan defense continued to handle the Broncos as WMU only managed to score 13 points in the fourth. That was enough for the Spartans to come away with the win.

MSU will take on Oakland in its next one at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night. It will be the fourth of their five game homestand.

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