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MSU women’s basketball fails to complete second straight comeback, falls to Nebraska 71-67

February 2, 2023
<p>Sophomore guard/forward Matilda Ekh controls the ball during the MSU v. Rutgers game held at the Breslin Center on Jan. 22, 2023. The Spartans won against Rutgers 85-63.</p>

Sophomore guard/forward Matilda Ekh controls the ball during the MSU v. Rutgers game held at the Breslin Center on Jan. 22, 2023. The Spartans won against Rutgers 85-63.

After trailing by more than 20 points in the third quarter, Michigan State women’s basketball (11-11, 3-8) was able to bring themselves within one point in the final seconds, but could not finish their monumental comeback on the road against the Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-9, 5-6). The Spartans ultimately fell 71-67.

Associate head coach Dean Lockwood started his second game for Michigan State as Head Women's Basketball Coach Suzy Merchant remains day-to-day.

The hoop seemed to have a lid on it in the first three minutes as both teams could only muster two points of their own until Nebraska went on a 8-0 run to break open the game and give themselves a 10-2 lead four minutes into the game.

Senior guard Moira Joiner kept MSU close early on, scoring the Spartan’s first six points, but junior forward Isabelle Bourne matched Joiner’s first quarter performance with six of her own on a perfect 3-3 shooting. 

MSU was able to cut their deficit from eight to four in the last three minutes, with the score reading 14-10. Nebraska did not score in the final three and half minutes while Bourne was absent from the court. 

The Cornhuskers were able to tear the game open in the second due to another strong quarter from Bourne and some consistent three-point shooting.

Bourne finished the first half with 10 points on more perfect shooting (5-5), while her squad went 4-8 from three-point range in the second quarter to give themselves a 40-22 advantage heading into halftime. 

While the Spartans did not shoot terribly in the second period, going 4-13 from the field, they simply could not keep up with Nebraska as they were 10-14 in the final 10 minutes of the half. 

The Cornhuskers were also very successful in the rebounding category in the first half as they hit the locker room with a 21-13 advantage. 

Similar to the beginning of the first half, both teams got off to a sluggish start to begin the second half as Nebraska only mustered six points in the first six minutes compared to MSU’s four, to extend their lead to 20 at that point. 

Turnovers were racking up for both sides midway through the third period. MSU had 15 compared to the Cornhuskers 14. 

Nebraska called a timeout with just one minute left in the third quarter as MSU cut their deficit to 16 due to a couple of and-ones from sophomore guard DeeDee Hagemann and senior forward Taiyier Parks, but Parks missed the free throw. She had a team-high nine points and five rebounds 29 minutes into the contest. 

Another bucket from Hagemann and a three from sophomore forward Matilda Ekh in the final minute of the third quarter gave Michigan State much needed energy going into the final quarter, now only trailing 53-40. 

Ekh really got going from deep in the first three minutes of the final quarter as her two threes cut the Cornhusker lead to 11. Bourne matched Ehk’s six, though, in that span on 2-2 shooting to push her total to a game high 18. 

Michigan State completely dominated Nebraska midway through the fourth quarter, going on a 14-0 run in four minutes to bring themselves within two with three minutes left. Nebraska could not keep their turnovers down, giving the ball away seven times in the first seven minutes of the fourth. 

Nebraska failed to make a basket in the last seven minutes of the game, but Bourne stepped up big at the free throw line in the final minute. She is a 50% shooter from the stripe on the season, but buried two to give Nebraska a four-point lead with 30 seconds left. 

The Spartans did not quit though, getting within one point with 11 seconds left due to three Hagemann free throws after a foul on her three-point attempt. 

Joiner had a chance to tie the game with four seconds left at the free throw line, but missed both while sophomore center Alexis Markowski hit both of hers on the other to end the Spartans come back for good.

The Spartans return home Sunday for a rivalry showdown against No. 18 Michigan.

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