Spartan Women Stopped By Wisconsin on the Road

Kara Fisher

Suzy Merchant (PHOTO:  MSU SID)
Suzy Merchant (PHOTO: MSU SID)

MADISON, Wis. - Despite a team-high 24 points from redshirt-junior guard Shay Colley, the No. 24 Michigan State women's basketball team was stopped by Wisconsin on the road, 79-62, Thursday night in Madison.

Michigan State falls to 17-7 overall and 7-6 in Big Ten action, while Wisconsin improves to 12-13 overall and 3-10 in league play.

For the fourth-straight game, the Spartans were led by Colley, who knocked in 24 points. She was just shy of a double-double with nine rebounds. Colley now has five 20+ games this season and two this week after scoring 32 against Indiana on Monday. The other Spartan in double figures was freshman guard Nia Clouden, who scored 16 points to go along with three boards. Redshirt-junior forward Victoria Gaines set a new career high with 12 rebounds and tied a career-high with four blocks.

The Badgers were led by Marsha Howard who scored 24 points to go along with nine rebounds.

The Spartans started slow, missing their first seven shots of the game, as Wisconsin jumped out to an early 8-0 lead. The cold spell came to an end after a Colley layup and MSU responded with a 6-0 run to trim the Badger lead to 7-6. Wisconsin went on a 14-2 run over three minutes to take a 22-8 lead. The Spartans shot only 24 percent in the first period.

In the second quarter, Michigan State's shooting woes continued, as Wisconsin took its first 20-point lead at 33-13 In the first half, Colley and Clouden provided much of the Spartan offense, scoring 11 and eight points respectively.

The Michigan State defense was solid in the third quarter, holding Wisconsin to 19 points, but the Spartans still struggled on the offensive side of the ball. Colley, Clouden and Gaines led the way for MSU in the third period. At the end of the third quarter, the Badgers still held a 65-41 advantage.

The Spartans closed out the game strong, out-scoring the Badgers 21-14 in the final 10 minutes of action. Seven of MSU's 21 points came from Colley at the charity stripe. Overall, MSU was 11-for-12 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

Michigan State will close out its two-game road swing, traveling to Nebraska on Sunday, Feb. 17.

Post-Game Notes vs. Wisconsin
• The 24 points by redshirt-junior guard Shay Colley on Thursday was her sixth 20+ point outing of the season and 10th of her career ... It was also her 14th double-figure outing of the season and 28th of her career.

• Redshirt-junior forward Victoria Gaines set a new career high with 12 rebounds against Wisconsin on Thursday. Her previous career high was 11 set three times, most recently against Ohio State on Jan. 13, 2019. She also tied her career high with four blocks. She also had four blocks against Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament on March 1, 2018.

• MSU's starting lineup of junior guards Shay Colley��and Taryn McCutcheon, sophomore forward Sidney Cooks, freshman guard Nia Clouden and senior forward Jenna Allen was the sixth-straight time this season that the Spartans have started with that quintet.

• McCutcheon made her 24th start of the season and 89th of her career ... Allen also notched her 24thstart of the season and 52nd of her career ... Colley started for the 17th time this season and made the 39th start of her career ... Clouden posted her 24th start of the season ... Cooks made her sixth start of the season and 28th of her career.

• Allen, McCutcheon and Clouden have started all 24 games this season and are joined by junior forward Victoria Gaines in playing all 24 games.
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