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MSU women’s basketball finding consistency as Big Ten Tournament heats up

March 2, 2023
Photo courtesy of the Big Ten Conference
Photo courtesy of the Big Ten Conference —

Just a month ago, Michigan State women’s basketball sat at an 11-12 record after losing their second and final game of the season to rival Michigan. Since then, the team is 5-1, with their only loss in the six-game stretch coming from No. 8 Maryland. 

After they lost to Michigan at home, the rest of the season appeared to be pretty bleak, but now, they are putting together consistent wins in the most important stretch of their season.

Throughout the win over the ninth seeded Nebraska in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, MSU held a consistent lead, only giving it up twice over the 40 minutes of play. In prior games this season, the team seemed to usually be playing from behind and falling short trying to attempt a massive comeback. As of late, the script has flipped and they have been able to control games from start to finish. 

“I think we've shown that we don't get as rattled,” Acting head coach Dean Lockwood said. “We made some big plays. Obviously in a close game, you have to make big plays. ... I do think we have matured. I think we've come further along the path. We're proud of our team for embracing that growth.”

After forcing 18 turnovers and a 33 percent shooting rate from the Cornhuskers, sophomore guard DeeDee Hagemann said that defense has been helping her team pull out wins as the season winds down. 

“I felt like our defense is what makes us,” Hagemann said. “Just us owning in on defense and just everybody being on the same page. I feel like that's how we became so consistent.”

Senior guard Moira Joiner played a big role in the Spartans defensive effort, racking up four steals and a block to go with her 16 points. Joiner said that her team knows that this is the time of year where they have to come together if they want to make it to the NCAA tournament. 

“I just think that towards the end of the year, this is a time you want to come together as a team,” Joiner said. “Teams either come together or they don't and we talk about that all the time. And talk isn’t a lot but it's action, but if everyone has the same mindset, that's where things happen.”

Next up for No. 8 seeded Spartans is the No. 1 seeded Indiana Hoosiers for the second round of tournament play. MSU defeated them in their only matchup at home back in late December, but a lot has changed since then. With March Madness hopes at stake, the contest could make or break MSU’s season. Tipoff is set for 12:30 p.m. EST on the Big Ten Network.

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