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No. 20 Michigan State Falls at Old Dominion, 79-73

NORFOLK, Va. - No. 20 Michigan State lost at Old Dominion Sunday afternoon in the first-ever meeting between the two schools, 79-73, before a crowd of 3,420 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Courtney Davidson led the Spartans (6-2) with a career-high 17 points and five 3-pointers, while Kalisha Keane scored 15 points and Allyssa DeHaan added 13. Old Dominion, who is receiving votes in both national polls, improves to 6-2 for the season.


“We need more consistency from our players,” said MSU head coach Suzy Merchant, “but give credit to Old Dominion. Their defensive pressure was the main factor in the game. The key was we were in foul trouble and turned the ball over too much. We gave them too many easy baskets.”


Old Dominion forced 22 Spartan turnovers, and scored 27 points off those turnovers. The Monarchs also held a 6-0 advantage in fast-break points.


Foul trouble limited DeHaan to a season-low 23 minutes, including just eight in the first half. The sophomore center finished 5-of-6 from the field with eight rebounds and four blocks. Keane sat the final 7:39 of the first half with two fouls.


MSU started strong, jumping out to an early 11-point lead with a 17-6 advantage as Keane hit a jumper at the 12:49 mark. The Spartans led most of the first half until ODU senior guard T.J. Jordan nailed a 3-pointer with 1:51 left in the half, giving the Lady Monarchs a 30-29 lead. Jordan hit another 3 with two seconds remaining as ODU took a 35-31 lead into halftime. With DeHaan and Keane on the bench, ODU rattled off a 23-10 run to end the half.


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Old Dominion started the second half on an 8-2 run to stretch its lead to 10 points at 43-33 at the 17:49 mark. The Monarchs led by double digits for the next six minutes and took a 58-46 lead on a Megan Pym jumper with 12 minutes remaining.


The Spartans battled back, however, and went on a 10-0 run over the next three minutes. Keane’s layup at the 8:41 mark cut the Monarch lead to 58-56. But it’s as close as the Spartans would get.


Although MSU held the Monarch lead to single digits for the next five minutes, Old Dominion kept up its pressure and eventually extended the lead to 13 points at 72-59 with just under three minutes left.


Davidson almost single-handedly kept the Spartans in the game, scoring MSU’s final 14 points, including four 3-pointers. Davidson now has 16 3-pointers this season, which already establishes a career high. Her previous best season behind the arc was last year when she connected for 13 3-pointers.


Jordan finished with 24 points and six 3’s for Old Dominion, while Tiffany Green tied a career high with 20 points. The Monarchs are now 3-0 against the Big Ten this season after beating Purdue last week and Penn State on Thursday. Old Dominion’s only two losses this year are to No. 2 Connecticut and No. 6 Stanford.


Michigan State returns to action to face Indiana State next Saturday, Dec. 8 in Terre Haute, Ind.