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Michigan State Spartans Led By Suzy Merchant Move Past Western Michigan, 80-45

Poole, Hines Spark Spartans Past Western Michigan, 80-45

Senior Porsche Poole leads MSU with 18 points and five assists.

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Increased defensive intensity and strong play around the rim, led the Michigan State women’s basketball team to an 80-45 victory over Western Michigan Thursday night at Breslin Center. The Spartans forced 28 turnovers and scored 46 points in the paint, helping them to improve to 3-1 on the season.

Senior Porsche Poole led the offensive effort with a game-high 18 points, also chipping in five assists and three steals. In only 10 minutes off the bench, all in the second half, freshman Jasmine Hines went 6-of-7 from the field for 13 points and grabbed four rebounds. Junior Jasmine Thomas was also in double figures with 10 points, and grabbed a game-high four steals.

“It is important to talk about the energy and the focus,” said head coach Suzy Merchant. “Having the opportunity to use our bench the way we did tonight, I thought it certainly helped us bring some more energy. People were excited to get in there and make a difference.”

Both teams were sluggish offensively early, with Western Michigan holding a 10-9 lead eight minutes into the game. The Spartans would run off 18 of the next 20 points over the next seven minutes to take a lead it wouldn’t let go of. MSU went into the break, up 39-21.

Despite using their bench for a good portion of the second half, the Spartan defensive pressure did not let up, as the MSU lead grew to as many as 39. MSU held Western Michigan to 21.4% shooting in the second half. Hines stared in the second half, totaled all 13 of her points in 10 second half minutes.

The Spartans were able to score 31 points off of the 28 Bronco turnovers in the game. In addition, Western Michigan was held to 26.9% shooting, the second straight game where MSU held its opponent under 30% from the field.

Michigan State continues its stretch of three games in five days on Saturday, when it travels to Ft. Myers, Fla. to face Florida Gulf Coast at 7 p.m.

Team Notes:

-MSU has now won 26 straight games when scoring at least 70 points and is 43-4 under Coach Merchant when they reach that plateau.

- The Spartans are also 75-8 all-time under Merchant when allowing 60 or less points.

- Michigan State has won six in a row and nine of its last 10 against the Broncos. MSU is 13-8 all-time against WMU.

- MSU is 137-4 all-time when holding opponents below 50 points.

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- The Spartans outrebounded the Broncos, 46-37. MSU has outrebounded 27 of its last 30 opponents.

- MSU improves to 4-0 all-time on Nov. 17.

Player Notes:

- In her career, MSU is 9-0 when Porsche Poole leads it in scoring and 17-2 when she scores in double-figures.

- Poole had a string of 21-straight free throws made snapped today, but made her next seven attempts and have made 29 of her last 29 from the charity stripe. Her streak was the ninth longest in MSU history.

- Poole’s seven free throws made are a career-best.

- Jasmine Thomas scored in double-figures for the first time since Dec. 12, 2010, a span of 25 games.

- Thomas tied her career high with four steals, a mark set in the season opener vs. Villanova.

- Jasmine Hines tied her season high with 13 points, going 6-of-7 from the field. Hines is averaging 10.3 points in only 11.0 minutes per game this season.

- Annalise Pickrel tied her season high with seven points, and tied her career high with six rebounds and two steals. Pickrel also had two blocks in 18 minutes.

- Klarissa Bell scored seven points in 16 minutes. It was her most points since Jan.6, 2011 and her most minutes since Jan. 23, 2011. 

- Kiana Johnson set a season high with three steals.

- Lykendra Johnson started her 88th game as a Spartan, moving into a tie for 15th all-time at MSU.

- L. Johnson tied for the team lead with a season-high five assists.

- Kelsey Smith have five rebounds and a season-high two blocks in 10 minutes.