Thomas sees offensive spurt against Hawkeyes
Senior guard Brittney Thomas went off Thursday night when the No. 11 Spartans lost to No. 18 Iowa.
With junior forward Lykendra Johnson getting into foul trouble early and Iowa’s zone focusing on senior forward Kalisha Keane, the Spartans needed a spark and they found one in Thomas.
Thomas scored 17 points in the game, two short of her career-high, and 15 of those points came in the second half with the Hawkeyes fighting to pull away. She began exchanging shots with the Hawkeyes and looked like the unstoppable force that MSU women’s basketball head coach Suzy Merchant hoped she would one day become.
“I thought it was her best second half offensively in basketball that she?s played,” Merchant said.
At Merchant’s press conference Monday, the coach praised the way Thomas played in crunch time and took control of her team on both sides of the ball.
She said that Thomas has always been a hard-nosed defender, but rarely exhibited that explosion on offense.
“I think her skill set is too good to defer as much as she does and it’s been a battle, a four year battle,” Merchant said. “I’m not sure we’ve done well as coaches in becoming victorious there. I think she knows it and there’s times when she can look pretty amazing and that was one and we needed that.”
It’s almost guaranteed that teams will continue to create game plan around Keane and Johnson and the Spartans definitely will need someone to step up when they go down. There is no doubt that if she can get it going, Thomas will be the best third option on the floor.
Add a senior point guard who isn’t scared to take over games on offense, a stellar 3-point shooter in junior forward Taylor Alton, a lockdown defender in senior forward Cetera Washington and tons of depth on the bench, the Spartans will not only be favorites for the Big Ten title but will feel pretty comfortable in March as well.