After being down at one point by 18, Michigan State women’s basketball (6-5) fell short in the final seconds, losing 74-68 against No. 3 Ohio State (10-0).
In a very entertaining first couple of minutes, OSU jumped out to a 17-13 lead. At that point, it was senior guard Taylor Mikesell getting it done for the Buckeyes as she had eight points with two three-pointers.
Senior guard Moira Joiner matched Mikesell’s three-point shooting with two of her own in that stretch to keep MSU in the game at that point.
Throughout the rest of the half though, turnovers started to pile up for MSU. By the end of the first ten minutes, the Spartans had coughed up the ball 11 times compared to OSU’s two.
The refs were having a field day with their whistles in the period as 12 combined fouls were called, leading to multiple players needing to sit for both sides early.
OSU would enter the next quarter with a 12-point advantage but MSU would not go away easily.
While the first minutes of the first quarter brought tons of offense, it was quite the opposite to start the second quarter.
Before the media timeout, which was five and a half minutes into the quarter, only seven points were recorded for either side. MSU scored six while Ohio State only managed to get one from a Rebeka Mikulasikova free throw. The Spartans were limiting their turnovers in that span, which helped them cut the deficit to seven.
Again though, the green and white started to give the ball away as two more turnovers led to the Buckeyes getting back their double-digit lead in the final minutes.
Throughout the half, sophomore guard/forward Taylor Thierry could not be stopped as she had 15 points on 7-9 shooting from the field before she hit the locker room.
While senior forward Taiyier Parks did not appear in the first half due to injury, sophomore forward Isaline Alexander was aggressive in her place. In her second consecutive start, she recorded a team high of seven points in the first 20 minutes and added five rebounds.
After a last second bucket by senior guard/forward Tory Ozment, OSU took a 10-point lead into the half.
The Buckeyes got off to a hot start in the second half as they opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run. Mikulasikova hit two three-pointers in the stretch.
After not seeing the floor at all in the first half, sophomore guard DeeDee Hagemann made her first appearance in the opening minutes of the half.
Despite conceding eight straight points, MSU fought back and went on a 9-0 run of its own to answer OSU. During the run, Joiner converted on a tough and-one layup off a pretty post bounce pass from Alexander.
In a back and forth last couple of minutes of the period, MSU continued to apply pressure. Sophomore guard Gabby Elliott was crashing the paint on both ends of the floor as her layup cut the OSU lead to five. At that point, she led her team with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Redshirt junior guard Madison Greene answered Elliot with an and-one conversion, but Hagemann hit on a corner three the next time down to cut the lead to five again.
Before the final buzzer of the quarter, redshirt junior guard Julia Ayrault got a layup to keep the deficit at five heading into the final 10 minutes.
Before the buzzer sounded though, Elliott went down with an injury that kept her out of the rest of the game.
In the early minutes of the final period, Ayrault continued her best game of the season. She finished with eight points on 4-11 shooting from the field.
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The Spartans were able to stay in it down the stretch because they held onto the ball. They only had six turnovers in the entire second half compared to 16 in the first. On the other side, Ohio State started to give the ball away more as they finished with 20 all together.
In the final moments, OSU was able to hold off MSU as the Spartans failed to convert on key attempts down the stretch. Sophomore forward Matilda Ekh hit a three-pointer to cut their lead to one with 90 seconds to go, but Joiner, who had a team-high 16 points, couldn’t hit her final three of the game. After getting rejected at the rim a couple of possessions earlier, Hagemann got a tricky layup to fall to cut the lead to two inside 30 seconds, but Mikesell was unfazed as she went 4-4 from the line down the stretch to put the game out of reach for the Spartans. OSU got a last second layup to go to put the final score at 74-68.
MSU will get a week off before it faces Detroit Mercy at home next Sunday.
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