In its first game of conference play, Michigan State women's basketball (6-4) was handed its fourth consecutive loss, a 76-71 overtime decision versus Purdue.
Going into the fourth quarter, MSU was down by 14 points and seemed to have no sense of urgency. All of a sudden, junior guard Gabby Ellio got going. The Clemson transfer had a very tough start to the game, but converted on more than a couple close buckets to help the Spartans cut Purdue's lead late in the contest. Although she said it was nice to contribute when she was needed, Elliott agreed with Head Women's Basketball Coach Suzy Merchant that they needed more than just an inconsistent effort.
“It felt good to just see the ball go through the basket,” Elliot said. “Like coach said though, we needed more than six minutes to help pull out the win.”
Like the Georgia Tech game, MSU brought Purdue to the wire, but ultimately could not finish them off. The Spartans also struggled from the free throw line as well, again leaving 10 points at the stripe. Merchant thinks that her team needs to start showing more fight throughout the game rather just in certain stretches.
“There's just got to be an urgency where people start elevating themselves,” Merchant said. “We can only do it so much as a coach, you know, and it's great teams or people that win. They do it themselves.”
While turnovers have been an issue this season for MSU, this time it was Purdue who found itself losing in that area as the Spartans forced the Boilermakers to cough the ball up 30 times compared to MSU's 16.
The box score shows that the Spartans got out rebounded 50-30, but when the team shoots 20% in the third quarter like MSU did, there are a lot more rebounds to be had.
Merchant believes that rebounds didn't kill her squad, but there were some demoralizing offensive rebounds by the Boilermakers in extra time that helped them put the game out of reach.
“That's kind of like discipline and toughness and grit,” Merchant said. “You gotta find a way to get that ball.”
Graduate guard Kamaria McDaniel thinks the Spartans need to continue to be positive in order to get themselves out of their losing streak.
“Just being encouraging and being positive and feeding each other confidence because at the end of the day, we're all we have,” McDaniel said. “We got to make the most of it. And so we gotta be encouraging to each other. We got to feed each other and you got to have your back today and make sure that we know what the task is that we need to do.”
MSU will hit the road this weekend as it heads to Columbus to face No. 3 Ohio State on Sunday afternoon.
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