A Whole Lot of Shimek

DenisePopiolek

After a sluggish first half, the Michigan State Lady Spartans turned up the heat as one senior, Liz Shimek, tore up the boards to help get her team a 65-46 victory over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the first round of the 2006 Women’s NCAA Tournament.

The Lady Spartans stormed past their 13th-seeded opponent, going on a 14-2 run and creating a 49-34 lead with just under eight minutes to play.

Even though the Panthers held the Lady Spartans to a one-point lead at halftime, they could not come up with the victory.

As a result, the Spartans attacked the defensive boards in the second half allowing them to outscore the Lady Panthers in points off of turnovers (15-2) and in the paint (18-12).

Freshman forward Aisha Jefferson and Shimek were able to shut down UW-Milwaukee’s top leading scorer and All-Horizon League first team-center, Tracy Edwards. Edwards scored only two points in the second half, allowing MSU to take a significant lead.

Shimek, a strong and competitive 6-foot-1-inch forward, became unstoppable as she completed two jumpers, four lay-ups, and five free throws all within the last 14 minutes of the game to give her a whopping 27 points for the game.

This was Shimek’s 13th game with at least 20 points, a statistic that has allowed MSU to finish with 12-1 record overall when she scores at least 20 points or more.

Shimek finished the night with eight rebounds, giving her 1, 115 career rebounds. Shimek is now tied with Ohio State’s Tracey Hall (1984-88) for fourth on the Big Ten’s all time rebounding list. Shimek’s effort also made her the second-highest scorer in the NCAA tournament in Spartan history. Eileen Shea holds the record with 35 points against Oklahoma State in 1991. However, all was not lost for the Lady Panthers. UW-Milwaukee received three solid performances from freshman center Traci Edwards, senior forward Nicole Drummond and senior guard Molly O’Brien. Edwards finished the game with 13 points and seven rebounds, Drummond finished with 11 points and O’Brien finished with 10 points. This was Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s second NCAA appearance under head coach Sandy Botham, who is in her 11th season coaching at the university. The Spartans face fifth-seeded University of Kentucky in the second round of the tournament at 7 p.m. eastern time on Monday, March 20.

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