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Preview: MSU women's basketball to face Detroit Mercy in non-conference matchup

December 18, 2022
<p>MSU&#x27;s Nia Clouden (24) and Taiyier Parks (14) defend against Detroit Mercy on Dec. 2, 2020.</p>

MSU's Nia Clouden (24) and Taiyier Parks (14) defend against Detroit Mercy on Dec. 2, 2020.

Michigan State women’s basketball is looking to bounce back this weekend against Detroit Mercy following a five-game losing streak. The team's Sunday night loss at No. 3 Ohio State was yet another failed comeback for the Spartans despite nearly closing in on the Buckeye's 18-point lead.

“We just gotta get over the hump,” Head Coach Suzy Merchant said. “You know we're in those games, and we're capable of winning them. We just need just that final production in that last minute.”

Unfortunately for the Spartans, the game was not the only loss they suffered Sunday.

As the closing seconds of the third quarter ticked down, junior guard Gabby Elliot went down with a season-ending ACL injury, leaving MSU down a starter and key player.

“We're gonna have to figure a little bit of life without Gabby,” Merchant said. “We're gonna have to get some more out of Tory (Ozment), Julia (Ayrault) and Steph Visscher. Those are the three that I'd like to see elevate their games and make up for what we're going to miss from her.”

Without Elliott, redshirt junior guard Julia Ayrault is expected to step into a larger role. The Michigan native said these next two games are important for the team to lock in and get back and focus on the little things.

“We've worked all week in practice, just on our defense and stuff,” Ayrault said. “So just using these two games to get back, over that hump and just feeling more like us again. We've had a lot of close games, a lot of good fights, but just getting over that hump and finishing some games out is definitely a priority for us.”

Sunday’s game against Detroit Mercy is the team’s first of two non-conference games in their three-game homestand to close out 2022.

Michigan State leads the overall series against Detroit Mercy 23-7, with the Spartans taking the last matchup 82-45 back in 2020. This season, the Spartans are averaging 75.2 points per game and allowing 68.8, while the Titans are averaging 58.8 points per game and allowing 73.0. Leading the Titans is junior forward Irene Murua, who currently averages 11.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.

Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon at the Breslin Center with streaming available on Big Ten +.

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