Late Game Execution Leads Spartans Past Michigan, 79-72
Jan. 12, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Two baskets from junior Becca Mills and perfect free throw shooting down the stretch, pushed the Michigan State women's basketball team past Michigan, 79-72 on Sunday afternoon at Crisler Center. The Spartans (11-5, 3-0), who sit alone atop the Big Ten standings, have won 22 of their last 24 games against the Wolverines (11-5, 2-1). It was the lone meeting of the season between the two schools.
With the game tied at 65 with under three minutes left, Mills scored on back-to-back Spartan possessions to give MSU a lead it would not relinquish. The Wolverines kept clawing back, but Michigan State went 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the final minute to ice the game.
Michigan State used a 11-2 run midway through the first half to open up a nine-point lead, and would hold onto a comfortable advantage throughout the half. However, Michigan closed on an 8-0 run over the final 2:50 to go into the break tied at 28.
The Spartan offense exploded in the second half, scoring 51 points, while shooting 58.1% from the field. The half was full of momentum shifts, as there were five ties and five lead changes. Michigan opened its largest lead at five early in the half, but MSU responded with a 10-2 run to retake the lead. From there, the teams seemed to match baskets leading up to Mills' heroics.
Senior Annalise Pickrel led MSU in scoring for the second-straight game, pouring in 16 points on 5-for-8 shooting and 5-for-5 from the free throw line. Pickrel also had a career-high eight assists, with only one turnover, six rebounds and two blocks in 33 minutes.
Junior Kiana Johnson added 14 points (12 of which were in the second half), four assists and two steals, while redshirt freshman Aerial Powers had 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds, and junior Becca Mills scored 12.
The Spartans remain on the road this week, traveling to Iowa on Thursday at 8 p.m.
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