In the 15th iteration of the ACC/Big Ten challenge, Michigan State women's basketball (6-3) lost its third straight game that came down to the final seconds against Georgia Tech (6-2) on Thursday night at the Breslin Center.
Former Spartan star and WNBA player Nia Clouden was in attendance for the tightly contested, 66-63 matchup.
MSU started out the game hot behind graduate guard Kamaria McDaniel's five points in the first couple of minutes. Sophomore forward Matilda Ekh was getting it done on both ends too as she hit a triple and drew two offensive fouls. Georgia Tech had four turnovers in the first three minutes.
MSU's lead wouldn't last long though as the Yellowjackets found their way before the first timeout, leading 9-7. The Spartans offense slowed down as they could only manage two makes on nine attempts.
Georgia Tech evened its way back in the turnover battle in the final minutes of the period, forcing MSU to give up the rock eight times.
Ekh ended the first quarter strong with five points as MSU went into the second quarter with a 15-14 advantage.
Fifth-year senior guard Cameron Swartz got off to a strong start in the second period as she hit a three with eight minutes to go in the half, evening score at 19. She finished the half with a team high 11.
Sophomore forward Isaline Alexander responded to Swartz's three with five points in first two and a half minutes. She had eight points when her team went into the locker room.
Fellow fifth-year senior guard Bianca Jackson made her presence known in the half for the Yellowjackets as she was second on the team in scoring in that span with eight points on 3-5 shooting.
For the most part it was a back and forth second half as neither team could go on a major run. The only statistic that was not close to even was fouls, as Tech recorded 13 personals to MSU's nine.
The Yellowjackets pulled away near the end of the half as they went into the 15 minute break up 37-32.
McDaniel continued her strong night as she recorded seven points before the first timeout of the quarter six and a half minutes in. Alexander also converted an and-one opportunity in the stretch to bring her total to 11 at that point.
Turnovers continued to mount for both sides as the teams were even at 16 in that category while the final minutes of the quarter ensued.
Again it was McDaniel getting it done to finish out the quarter for MSU as she put up five points while Ekh added an and-one.
Jackson continued her strong performance in the third, adding four points to help deadlock the score at 50 right before the fourth.
Swartz started off the fourth period strong with a layup through contact. She converted on the free throw.
McDaniel answered right back with an and-one jumper of her own though to even the score up again.
Jackson picked up her fourth quarter following suit of her third by hitting her first three of the night. Georiga Tech regained its three-point lead once more with the bucket.
McDaniel and Jackson continued to trade blows down the stretch as McDaniel converted on a layup to bring her total to 23 while Jackson went right back at her with a jumper and a layup plus the foul with less than four minutes to play. Jackson's free throw brought her total to 20.
The game came down to the final minutes as neither team would roll over. After another Jackson two pointer, junior guard Gabby Elliot hit her first three of the night to bring the score within five. Then, the Yellowjackets turned it over and McDaniel took advantage as she streaked down the court and finished on a five-footer falling away. Her free throw brought the Spartans within two with a minute to go.
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Georgia Tech had a couple of chances to close out the game as Swartz first went 1-2 on her free throws to keep it a one possession game. After another MSU turnover, the Yellowjackets missed a three to give the Spartans one last chance with 15 seconds to play.
What happened was less than ideal for MSU as Ekh and McDaniel missed on contested threes in the final seconds to give the Yellowjackets the win.
Purdue is next up for the Spartans. They will see them at home on Monday night.
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