Lady Spartans Return to Jenison Field House, Defeat IPFW 64-36, Spartans Improve to 9-1

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EAST LANSING, Mich. – As part of the Game of Change Weekend, the Michigan State women’s basketball team returned to Jenison Field House for the first time since 1989 on Sunday. The Spartans improved to 9-1 with a 64-36 victory over IPFW.

Junior Annalise Pickrel led MSU in scoring for the first time in her career, posting 15 points and a career-high seven rebounds, while sophomore Becca Mills added 13 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes. Senior Courtney Schiffauer posted her second consecutive double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Kiana Johnson, in her first game back, dished out a game-high six assists and grabbed three steals off the bench.

The Spartans dominated the first half, taking a 40-11 lead into intermission. MSU scored the first six points of the game, but the Mastodons held close, 8-4 with 13:58 to go in the first. Michigan State responded with a 19-0 run over the next 5:41 to blow the game open. After a Rachel Mauk layup stopped the streak, the Spartans ran off nine more points in a row to go up 36-7 with 3:10 to go.

Michigan State began the second half with first seven points to open a 47-11 lead and eventually opened its largest lead of the afternoon at 53-15 with 10:52 to go. IPFW slowly cut away at the deficit but the Spartans closed out with a 64-36 victory.

The Spartan defense held IPFW to 28.3% shooting from the field, including 18.8% (3-for-16) from behind the arc. MSU forced 22 turnovers and held a 25-2 advantage in points off turnovers. The Spartans outrebounded the Mastodons 47-30, including a season-high 21 offensive boards.

The Spartans hit the road tomorrow, traveling to Las Vegas, Nev. for the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic. MSU will face Oregon State on Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Texas Tech on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

POST GAME NOTES:

- The Spartans begin the year 9-1 for just the sixth time in program history.

- MSU has held five of its 10 opponents this season under 40 points.

- The 11 first half points allowed are the fewest in the first half and the third fewest in any half since the 1974-75 season.

- Today was MSU’s first game in Jenison Field House since March 11, 1989.

- MSU is now 41-26 all-time in Jenison Field House.

- Over the last seven games, MSU has held its opponents to 20.7% (24-for-116) from 3-point range.

- Under Coach Merchant, MSU is now 40-13 after a loss.

- MSU improved to 3-0 all-time against IPFW, beating them each of the last three seasons.

- The Spartans held IPFW’s leading scorer Amanda Hyde, who was 20th in the nation with 20.3 points per game, to nine points, all in the second half, on 2-of-12 shooting. MSU has held each of its opponent’s leading scorer under her season average.

- Kiana Johnson and Akyah Taylor returned to the Spartan rotation today after missing the first nine games of the season due to a violation of NCAA rules.

- Jasmine Hines tied a career high with seven rebounds, including five on the offensive end. She also hit a season-high seven free throws (7-for-10).