Despite a heroic 32-point and seven rebound effort from graduate student guard Kamaria McDaniel, Michigan State women’s basketball wasn’t able to knock off the second best team in the country in the Indiana Hoosiers. The Spartans ultimately fell to the No. 1 seeded Hoosiers 94-85.
Senior forward Mackenzie Holmes finished with 27 points in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Both teams started out slow through the first five minutes, only accounting for ten combined points, but then the Spartans were able to go on a 7-0 run to force Indiana to call a timeout with just under four minutes to go in the first quarter. McDaniel and senior guard Moira Joiner sparked MSU’s 13-4 lead with a combined eight points with two threes-pointers and six rebounds. Indiana started the first 6 six minutes very cold from the floor, only managing to make one of their eight attempts.
While the Hoosiers started to convert on some of their shot attempts, finishing the first quarter with 14 points on 4-14 shooting, MSU kept the pressure up on both ends as they ended the first quarter with 24 points. McDaniel continued to be lights out, posting 10 points on 4-6 shooting with two threes-pointers. The Spartans held a slight advantage in turnovers and offensive rebounds in the quarter , leading 3-6 and 5-3 in those categories respectively.
Michigan State kept up the energy and scorching hot three-point shooting five minutes into the second quarter as they took a 36-24 lead into a media timeout. Two threes from redshirt junior guard Julia Ayrault and one more each from McDaniel and Joiner pushed MSU’s percentage from deep to 62% (8-13).
After junior forward Kiandra Browne had to be taken to the locker room for the rest of the game due to injury, the Hoosiers offense started to come alive, going on a 7-0 run, and forcing MSU to call a timeout a minute later. Holmes, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year accounted for four of the seven points, pushing her point total to 15 on 5-7 shooting from the field and 5-6 shooting from the free throw line at that point. Her performance kept her team from falling way behind in the first half.
MSU held off the late second period Hoosier run as the halftime buzzer sounded, entering the locker room with a 40-34 lead.
Indiana started off the second half determined, tying the game up six minutes into the third quarter at 49. Holmes continued to dominate the Spartans down low, scoring seven points during the 15-9 Indiana run. She also forced sophomore forward Isaline Alexander and senior forward Taiyier Parks into foul trouble as they both sat on the bench at that point of the game with three fouls a piece.
Both teams went back and forth throughout the end of the third quarter as Indiana took a one-point lead into the final quarter. McDaniel continued her herculean effort as she finished her third quarter with nine points while sophomore guard DeeDee Hagemann made her way to the free throw line twice, scoring five of her seven third frame points from the free throw stripe.
Two minutes into the final quarter MSU was forced to call a timeout as junior guard Sydney Parrish started to come alive. She hit her first two threes of the game to push Indiana’s lead to seven.
Despite foul trouble that kept Holmes from playing midway through the fourth quarter, Indiana was able to keep their two possession lead at six with four and a half minutes left.
Indiana’s three-point shooting propelled them as time winded down in the fourth quarter as senior guard Sara Scalia hit a corner triple to give Indiana its biggest lead of the day at 10 with three minutes left.
MSU could not match Indiana’s shooting as the final minutes ticked away, but the Spartans were able to get within five with 35 seconds left because they were winning the free throw battle.
Their effort wasn’t enough though, ultimately falling by a score of 94-85. The Spartans Big Ten Tournament run officially ends in the second round.
The Spartans will have to wait until next Sunday to see if their late season effort was enough to earn them a spot in the NCAA Tournament.