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MSU women's basketball struggles with uncharacteristic turnovers in loss to No. 17 Michigan

January 15, 2023
<p>Graduate student guard Kamaria McDaniel (5) guards a Michigan player during a game against Michigan at the Crisler Center on Jan. 14, 2023. The Spartans lost to the Wolverines 70-55. </p>

Graduate student guard Kamaria McDaniel (5) guards a Michigan player during a game against Michigan at the Crisler Center on Jan. 14, 2023. The Spartans lost to the Wolverines 70-55.

Michigan State women’s basketball was unable to pull off the upset against the No. 17 Michigan Wolverines on the road Saturday afternoon.

Despite a string of losses, the Spartans have proven to be efficient in forcing turnovers on their opponents while keeping their own to a minimum throughout the entire season.

Michigan State went into its rivalry game ranked 11th in the nation in forced turnovers—averaging 22.06 per game—but it was turnovers that uncharacteristically plagued MSU in their third consecutive loss.

In just the first quarter of the game, the Spartans turned over the ball nine times. They had almost as many turnovers in the first as they had in the entirety of their narrow loss to Wisconsin at home on Wednesday night where they had just 10.

The Michigan defense was scrappy in the paint and came ready to take on Michigan State. Those plays under the net greatly contributed to the eight travel turnovers committed by the Spartans.

“We had too many turnovers in the first half, which I thought contributed to some frustration too,” Head Coach Suzy Merchant said. “A lot of 'em came from the four or five spot… They don't handle the ball enough to turn up a lot of travels in those situations.” 

Despite
Michigan State’s high forced turnover average, the Wolverines only turned over the ball 13 times—well below their 16.6 average per game. On the other side of the court, the green and white gave up 22 points on their 22 turnovers, allowing Michigan to run off with the lead and ultimately the game.

The Spartans struggled not only in forcing turnovers, but also just defensively in general.

“I was just disappointed a little bit in our execution defensively at times with some of the things that we were doing and what we were trying to exploit and or take away,” Merchant said. 

Although
Merchant said that some of the team's turnovers were in instances they should have controlled, the veteran coach said she does not believe her team has a turnover problem going forward.

“We don't normally do that,” Merchant said. “I mean, we take care of the ball pretty well. We're not a team that turns it over like that.” 

The Spartans will be looking to bounce back from a string of tough losses as they travel back home to the Breslin Center for a Big Ten matchup against No. 12 Iowa on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game will also be streaming on BTN+.

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