About 10 minutes after her team’s season-ending loss to Iowa State, MSU women’s basketball head coach Suzy Merchant located a TV backstage at Haas Pavilion. For the first of what would prove to be many times, Merchant relived the anguishing final 87 seconds of the game. Since the March 28 loss, Merchant estimates she’s replayed the conclusion of the game at least 500 times.
The MSU women’s basketball team got one last practice in Wednesday before it left for Berkeley, Calif., to meet Iowa State in the Sweet 16 on Saturday. The Cyclones, who are 26-8 on the season and finished in third place in the Big 12 with an 11-5 conference record, are very guard-oriented and remind the Spartans a lot of Middle Tennessee State, the team MSU beat in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The first 500 students to attend Tuesday’s second round women’s basketball NCAA Tournament game at Breslin Center will get in free with a valid college ID, the MSU athletics department announced Monday.
Junior center Allyssa DeHaan has been often criticized for her lack of toughness and inability to come through in big-game situations — and sometimes rightfully so. But in the MSU women’s basketball team’s first round NCAA Tournament win on Sunday, Middle Tennessee State coach Rick Insell said that was not the case.
Although the home team was dressed in an unfamiliar green jersey, the Breslin Center crowd knew exactly who to cheer for Sunday in the MSU women’s basketball team’s 60-59 win over Middle Tennessee State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, Middle Tennessee State’s Alysha Clark drove to the basket for what could have been one more bucket to add to a stunning point total. Instead, she missed a layup and knocked junior forward Aisha Jefferson to the ground in pursuit of the rebound. The whistle sounded, resulting in Clark’s fifth foul and a pivotal moment in MSU’s 60-59 NCAA Tournament victory against the Blue Raiders on Sunday at Breslin Center.
Call it a senior moment. With the score tied in a 57-57 game with Middle Tennessee State, guard Mia Johnson, the MSU women’s basketball team’s lone senior, got the ball on the wing and fired a three-point shot over an outstretched Blue Raiders defender. Johnson, who missed a three on the previous possession, watched the shot fall effortlessly through the basket, giving the Spartans a 60-57 lead with 1:10 remaining in a game they eventually would go on to win 60-59.
Finally, Joanne P. McCallie has come back to East Lansing. It’s been exactly two years since the former MSU women’s basketball coach has been on the public stage in East Lansing. That was following her team’s loss to Rutgers in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
A collective cheer took a year’s worth of grief off the shoulders of the MSU women’s basketball team. After being left out of the NCAA Tournament last season, the Spartans were awarded a No. 9 seed this season and will play No. 8 Middle Tennessee State in the first round of the tournament.