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MSU women’s basketball holds on in overtime against Penn State, earns second straight win

February 12, 2023
Graduate guard Kamaria McDaniel (5) searches for a passing opportunity against Penn State on Feb. 12, 2023.
Graduate guard Kamaria McDaniel (5) searches for a passing opportunity against Penn State on Feb. 12, 2023.

Michigan State women’s basketball fended off the Penn State Nittany Lions (13-12, 4-10) in the final minutes of overtime 81-75 Sunday afternoon at the Breslin Center.

Sophomore forward Matilda Ekh led the way for the Spartans, leading her team with 21 points on 5-8 three-point shooting. 

Michigan State got off to a very strong start from deep five and a half minutes into the first quarter. All 12 of the team's points came from the long ball, with two of their four three-pointers coming from Ekh. The Nittany Lions were not having any trouble scoring early on either as they managed a balanced eight points in that span, with all of their field goals coming from different players. 

Efficient scoring continued to be a theme throughout the first quarter as both teams went into the second period knotted up at 17 a piece. The Spartans shot 50% from beyond the arc in the first 10 minutes, going 5-10, while PSU shot the same percentage from the field, going 8-16.

Penn State was forced to call a timeout four minutes into the final quarter of the first half as MSU went on a 9-0 run. Sophomore center Brooklyn Rewers gave the Spartans good minutes after sophomore forward Isaline Alexander went to the locker room early on in the first quarter. She later returned to the bench late in the second quarter. Rewers contributed two points, a ferocious block and stellar defense to the MSU run. 

The Nittany Lions stormed right back though as they put together a 8-0 run of their own over the next two minutes to force an MSU timeout. Senior guards Taniyah Thompson and Makenna Marisa combined for six during the eight point run with a three-pointer each.

The Spartans were able to take a three-point lead into the locker room thanks to senior forward Taiyier Parks who did all of the scoring herself in the last two and a half minutes. She put up seven points with a jump shot, a layup and three free throws to push her total to a game high nine at the break. 

The green and white jumped out to a hot second half start as they extended their lead to 11 three and a half minutes in, forcing Penn State to call a timeout. Alexander and sophomore guard DeeDee Hagemann combined for seven points in the stretch as Hagemann hit a layup, a free throw and assisted on both of Alexander’s layups. 

With four minutes left in the third period the Nittany Lions had to call another timeout as the Spartans upped their lead to 13. Ekh continued to rip the nets from deep as she added two more threes in the two and a half minute span. The Spartans were starting to win the turnover battle as they forced 13 Penn State giveaways to their 8. 

Penn State stormed back in the final four minutes of the third quarter to cut MSU’s lead to one going into the fourth. Redshirt sophomore guard Leilani Kapinus and Marisa added three and four points respectively as part of their team’s 12-point run. 

MSU and PSU went back and forth as the fourth quarter progressed, as MSU led 60-59 with four and a half minutes left. Graduate student guard Kamaria McDaniel converted on a couple of contested buckets to help MSU keep a one point lead at this point. 

The game remained tight in the final minutes of regulation as Parks aided MSU’s effort with four points in the final two minutes. Both teams struggled with free throws down the stretch as Kapunis could only make one of her two attempts with seven seconds left to tie the game at 67. Ekh was unable to convert on her game winning 18 foot jump shot as the game headed to overtime. 

Points were hard to come by in extra time as both teams only managed a combined 7 points in the first three minutes. Kapunis fouled out during that span with 10 points, good for third on her team. 

Two three-point plays from Hagemann and senior guard Moira Joiner slammed the door on the Nittany Lions in the final minute of extra time.

With the win, MSU moves to 13-12 and 5-9 in conference play on the season. The Spartans will head to Purdue to take on the Boilermakers for the second time this season on Wednesday night. 


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