Michigan State women’s basketball fell to their rivals on the road Saturday afternoon 70-55 against No. 17 Michigan.
The Spartans were looking to break a two-game losing streak, but a plethora of turnovers and an uncharacteristic three-point scoring drought kept the green and white trailing the Wolverines.
The Michigan defense was able to snub out some great scoring chances for Michigan State, and some standout players helped the Wolverines take off with the lead.
Sophomore guard/forward Matilda Ekh started the game strong for the Spartans with a three right off the bat. MSU took the early lead, but Michigan was able to get the game back under control with a 7-0 scoring run to catch up to the Spartans late in the first quarter.
Throughout the duration of the first quarter, Michigan State gave up nine turnovers compared to the Wolverine’s three. Five of the Spartan turnovers were from travel violations. MSU closed out quarter one down 14-11.
Moving into the second quarter, MSU continued to be plagued by sloppy turnovers.
The Spartans were only able to sink two from the field in the second, while the remainder of their 12 points were made from the free-throw line.
By the end of the first half, Michigan fifth year guard Leigha Brown had 14 points to show, and sophomore guard Laila Phelia followed close behind with eight of her own.
Michigan State closed out the half trailing by just eight points, down 35-27.
Going into the second half, MSU was able to fix some of its turnover problems, turning the ball over just once, and forcing two from the Wolverines.
With a little over three minutes left in the third quarter, senior guard Moira Joiner found herself in foul trouble with four fouls and was forced to sit out. Joining Joiner in foul trouble was redshirt junior guard Julia Ayrault with four of her own.
Graduate guard Kamaria McDaniel was keeping the Spartans in the game in the third quarter with six points and two rebounds. However, McDaniel’s performance was not enough to close the gap, and the Spartans closed out the third quarter down 51-39.
Freshman guard Abbey Kimball took the floor in the fourth quarter and made her presence felt. Just 50 seconds into the fourth, the Grand Rapids native sunk a step-back jumper for two, and less than a minute later, Kimball hit a three.
With 1:51 left in the game, Joiner fouled out, and the Spartans were down one of their star players. The rest of the squad couldn't muster a comeback and the Spartans were ultimately defeated by their rivals 70-55.
The two teams will meet once again in East Lansing on Feb 5. In the meantime, Michigan State will be back at home Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. to take on No. 12 Iowa.