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MSU women's basketball finds a groove to convert turnovers into points

March 2, 2023
<p>MSU guard DeeDee Hagemann signals a swap to a teammate lined up along the free throw lane at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. Hagemann has totaled 224 points across 26 games played for the Spartans.</p>

MSU guard DeeDee Hagemann signals a swap to a teammate lined up along the free throw lane at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. Hagemann has totaled 224 points across 26 games played for the Spartans.

Photo by Jack Armstrong | The State News

Being able to force turnovers is a skill that can greatly contribute to the success of a basketball team, but it is a fruitless endeavor if a team cannot convert turnovers into points. That is the position that the Michigan State women’s basketball team found themselves in earlier in the season.

When the Spartans took on Michigan back in February, Michigan State accumulated just 14 points off of 20 Wolverine turnovers, while Michigan had the same amount of points on just half the number of Spartan turnovers. MSU ultimately lost that game, and senior guard Moira Joiner voiced her frustration post-game with the team’s inability to turn opportunities like turnovers into tangible points.

The 67-64 win against No. 8 Nebraska in the second round of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament turned out to be a different story for the green and white.

“I think we're very self-aware. We know that (converting turnovers to points) has been an ongoing thing during the season,” Joiner said. “Like we just talked about it, we do execution drills—stuff like that. We just know we need to take the right shots—shot selection and things—and look for each other.”

Michigan State women’s basketball is ranked 15th in the nation and second in the Big Ten in forced turnovers with an average of 20.54 forced turnovers per game. The Spartans are also ranked 13th in the nation in steals with 11.1 steals per game.

MSU looked like that highly-ranked defensive team during their first tournament game against Nebraska with 11 steals and 18 opponent turnovers. The difference now in comparison to earlier in the season—the Spartans were taking those steals and turnovers, and taking them to the rim.

“I feel like our defense is what makes us,” sophomore guard DeeDee Hagemann said. “I feel like if we go locked in on defense—that always translates into offense.”

Michigan State was averaging one point per Nebraska turnover in Thursday afternoon's game for a total of 18 points from turnovers alone.

The Spartans have the ability to make huge plays in transition, and that is what they have been demonstrating as the season has progressed—especially in their first game of the Big Ten Tournament.

“We're very proud of this team—that grit and resilience,” Interim head women's basketball coach Dean Lockwood said. “I think this team has really committed defensively here more in recent days, and it's shown. These two players here (Joiner and Hagemann) are stalwarts for us defensively, but just our team—this was all about our team.”

Michigan State will take the floor once again in Minneapolis on Friday at 12:30 p.m. EST against No. 1 Indiana for the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Tournament. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

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