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No. 12 Spartans Topple Illinois, 70-57

Jan. 2, 2011

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Suzy Merchant Press Conference

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Kalisha Keane scored 27 points to help No. 12 Michigan State beat Illinois 70-57 Sunday.

Lykendra Johnson added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Spartans (13-1, 1-0 Big Ten), who are off to the best start in school history.

Michigan State was 12-2 in 1973-74 and 2004-05, the season it lost to Baylor in the NCAA final.

An 11-game winning streak also ties the second-longest run in school history.

Keane was 10 for 14 from the field and made 3 of 6 3-pointers.

She had 18 points in the first half as the Spartans sprinted to a 19-3 lead, then saw the Fighting Illini (6-9, 1-1) cut it to 36-32 at the break.

Karisma Penn had 23 points and Centrese McGee scored 12 for Illinois, which trimmed a 13-point margin to five in the second half.


With the win...
- MSU improves to 13-1 on the season and have won 11 straight.
- The record is the best start in program history. The previous mark was held by the 2004-05 and 1973-74 teams at 12-1.
- The 11-game winning streak is tied for the second longest in program history. The Spartans had a 17-game streak in 2005 and an 11-game stretch in 1977.
- MSU has won its last seven Big Ten regular season games and 11 of its last 12.
- The Spartans have won 14 in a row at the Breslin Center and improve to 221-78 all-time in the building. The 14-game winning streak is the third longest home winning streak in program history.
- Michigan State improves to 14-16 all-time in its Big Ten opener and 2-2 under Coach Merchant. MSU has lost its previous three home conference opener.
- Under Coach Merchant, MSU is now 60-6 when holding its opponent under 60 points, including 10 of the 11 games during the winning streak.
- MSU has won its last 21 games when scoring at least 70 points and are 38-4 under Merchant when reaching that number.
- The Spartans improve to 34-26 all-time against Illinois. MSU has won the last three meetings with the Illini and 12 of the last 14 games.
- MSU is 23-11 all-time when playing on the Big Ten Network.



Player Notes:
- Senior Kalisha Keane scored a game-high 27 points, her most in a Big Ten game in her career. It was Keane's six 20-point game this season. She entered the season with nine in her career.
- Keane was efficient from the field, going 10-of-14, including 3-of-6 from the 3-point arc. She also made both free throw attempts.
- It was the eighth time this season that Keane has led MSU in scoring.
- Junior Lykendra Johnson posted her third double-double of the season and 10th in her career. Johnson had 16 points and 10 rebounds. It was the seventh time this season that Johnson has led MSU in rebounds.
- Johnson tied a season high with six free throws made.
- Four Spartans had at least three steals with Keane and Johnson grabbing four each and seniors Brittney Thomas and Cetera Washington having three apiece.
- With her three steals, Thomas moved into a tie for 14th all-time at MSU with 175 steals.
- Thomas also tied her season high with five rebounds.

Team Notes:
- The Spartans grabbed 14 steals and have posted double-figure assists in nine of the last 10 games. Over those 10 games, MSU is averaging 13.2 steals, have forced 22.8 turnovers a game and are +6.5 in turnover margin.
- MSU had a 25-7 edge in points off turnovers.
- MSU is 24-1 over the past two seasons, including 10-0 this season, when going to the line more than its opponent.

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