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MSU women’s basketball downs Minnesota on Senior Day, final home game of season

February 22, 2023
<p>Minnesota freshman guard Amaya Battle (left) drives in against senior MSU guard Moira Joiner during a senior night matchup at the Breslin Center on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. MSU lead Minnesota 33-30 at half during the Wednesday evening home game.</p>

Minnesota freshman guard Amaya Battle (left) drives in against senior MSU guard Moira Joiner during a senior night matchup at the Breslin Center on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. MSU lead Minnesota 33-30 at half during the Wednesday evening home game.

Photo by Jack Armstrong | The State News

Michigan State women’s basketball (14-13, 6-10) outlasted the Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-18, 3-14) in the final minutes of their final home game of the season Wednesday afternoon. 

Graduate student guards Kamaria McDaniel and Stephanie Visscher along with senior forward Jayla James were honored for Senior Day. The game as the contest got pushed up from a 7 p.m. tipoff to 4:30 p.m due to inclement weather. All three were a part of the starting lineup. 

Both teams got off to a cold shooting start as the Gophers and Spartans were a combined 4-20 from the field four and a half minutes in. The green and white led 7-3 at that point. 

Throughout the rest of the quarter, MSU started to find its offensive rhythm while the Gophers continued to struggle to make shots. Minnesota was just an abysmal 2-16 from the field while the Spartans managed to make five of their 14 attempts to extend their lead to ten as the score read 17-7 when the first quarter buzzer sounded.

Sophomore forward Matilda Ekh led the way for MSU in the first 10 minutes with five points on a perfect 5-5 shooting from the free throw line. 

Roles were reversed in the second quarter though as the Gophers were able to cut their deficit to three when the halftime buzzer sounded. Sophomore forward Alanna Micheaux gave the Spartans issues in the period as she scored nine of her 13 on 3-3 shooting in the second 10 minute frame. 

Sophomore guard DeeDee Hagemann was able to keep her team in the lead as she managed to score seven points with a three pointer while dishing out two assists during that span. 

Minnesota matched MSU’s shooting percentage after falling way behind in the first 10 minutes and both teams went into the locker room shooting 11-32 from the field.

Michigan State did get to the free throw line more effectively than the Gophers in the first half, shooting seven more times, making four more than Minnesota managed to hit. 

Minnesota took just its second lead of the game five and a half minutes into the third quarter, leading 40-39 at that point. Two three-pointers by redshirt freshman guard Katie Borowicz and graduate student guard/forward Isabelle Gradwell in that span were the reason they were able to take the advantage. 

Michigan State took its lead back in the final minutes of the third quarter as the Spartans led by six heading into the final period. Ekh’s six points off a three-pointer and a converted and-one opportunity led all MSU scorers in the third. 

Minnesota inched closer to tying the game as both teams went back and forth scoring and MSU still led by two with four minutes to play. Freshman guard Mara Braun caught fire, putting up 12 points on 4-5 shooting while going a perfect 3-3 from beyond the arc in the first six minutes of the final quarter. McDaniel was also effective in that span as she had eight points on 3-3 shooting. 

Michigan State was able to hold off Minnesota in the final minutes behind a tough defensive effort. The Spartans forced two turnovers in the final two minutes to seal the 71-67 win.

They will travel to Penn State this Saturday for their final regular season matchup. Tipoff is set at 2 p.m. 

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