#21 Spartan Women to Road Win over Michigan

Kara Fisher
(PHOTO:  MSU SID)
(PHOTO: MSU SID)

Ann Arbor, Mich. - With four in double figures, the No. 23/21 Michigan State women's basketball capture the in-state battle with Michigan, 77-73, at a packed Crisler Center on Sunday afternoon. The Spartans are now 12-0 this season when at least four players score in double digits.

With the win, Michigan State improves to 15-5 overall and 5-4 in Big Ten action. Michigan falls to 12-9 overall and 3-6 in league play.

For the eighth time this season, four Spartans scored in double digits. Senior center Jenna Allen, junior guard Taryn McCutcheonand redshirt-junior guard Shay Colley all scored 14 points, while redshirt-junior forward Victoria Gaines added 11 points and seven boards in the win. McCutcheon also added at game-high six assists.

Michigan's Naz Hillmon recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards, while Amy Dilk and Deja Church both scored 13.

The Spartans took their first lead of the game after back-to-back trey by Allen, 8-7. After making 4-of-5 field goals, the Wolverines re-took the lead 16-10 with 4:18 remaining in the first period. The six-point advantage would be the largest of the game for U-M. MSU used a 9-0 run at the end of the quarter to take a 19-16 lead. Michigan State capitalized on the long ball with three-straight treys, ending the quarter out-scoring the Wolverines 13-2.

In the second quarter, the Wolverines scored seven of the first nine points of the quarter to tie the score at 25-25. The Wolverines re-took the lead with 4:59 left in the quarter with a Kayla Robbins jumper 29-28. The Spartan defense forced four turnovers late in the quarter, helping the Spartans up the score to 38-31. Over the final 4:47 of the half, Michigan State out-scored Michigan 13-2 to end the half with its first double-digit lead of the game 41-31. Gaines led MSU in the first half with seven points and five rebounds.

Allen came out strong to start the second half, scoring six of MSU's first 11 points, as the Spartans took a 52-37 lead with 5:05 left in the period. The Wolverines continued to chip away at the Spartan lead for much of the third. After a Hallie Thome bucket, Michigan got the Michigan State lead to single digits, 57-48, with 1:38 left in the quarter. U-M's 8-0 run to end the quarter, as MSU clung to its 57-52 advantage.

The final period was a battle. The Wolverines fought to make it a 67-63 game with 1:18 left in the fourth quarter. The Spartans free throw shooting was solid down the stretch, going 11-for-15 in the fourth. Colley prevented Michigan for getting any closer than four points by going 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.

Michigan State now prepares for a two-game homestand, beginning with Penn State on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. on National Girls and Women in Sports Day. MSU will then host Purdue on Sunday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. in its annual Pink Game for breast cancer awareness.

Post-Game Notes vs. Michigan
• MSU's starting lineup of junior guards Shay Colley and Taryn McCutcheon, sophomore forward Sidney Cooks, freshman guard Nia Clouden and senior center Jenna Allen was the second time this season that the Spartans have started with that quintet, as Cooks was making her first start of the season ... It was Cooks' 23rd career start, and MSU is 2-0 with that lineup.

• McCutcheon made her 20th start of the season and 85th of her career ... Allen recorded her 20th start of the season and 47th of her career ... Colley started for the 13th time this season and made the 35th start of her career ... Clouden posted her 20th start of the season.

• Allen, McCutcheon and Clouden have started all 20 games this season and are joined by junior forward Victoria Gaines in playing all 20 games.

• MSU scored 77 points for the third-straight games and marks the Spartans' 16th time in 20 games topping the 70-point plateau this season . . . Michigan State has won 134 of its last 148 games when scoring at least 70 points and the Spartans are 151-21 under Coach Merchant when hanging 70 or more points on the scoreboard.

• The Spartans netted 11 3-pointers Sunday for the second-straight game, matching their season-high in Big Ten action, and fourth game this season with double-digit triples behind season-high 15 in the season-opener vs. Bowling Green (Nov. 6), 10 at Oakland (Dec. 5) and 11 vs. Illinois (Jan. 24).

• Five Spartans posted double-figures, led by 14 points apiece by Allen, Colley and McCutcheon, followed by Cooks with 12 points and Gaines with 11 ... MSU is now 5-0 when five players score in double-digits ... It is the fourth-straight home game that MSU has had four or more players in double-figures.

• Colley's 14 points was her sixth double-figure scoring outing in a row and seventh in last eight as part of 11 times this season and 25th of her career ... Colley also dished out three assists and was 9-for-10 from the charity stripe, including eight in the fourth quarter.

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