Jan. 13, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Michigan State women's basketball team picked up a gritty Big Ten road win on Sunday, topping Illinois 79-75 in Assembly Hall. The Spartans, who improve to 14-2 overall and 2-1 in Big Ten play, used a 13-0 second half run to edge the recently hot Fighting Illini.
Four Spartans scored in double figures, led by 18 points apiece from junior Klarissa Bell and sophomore Jasmine Hines. Hines also added a game- and career-high 13 rebounds for her first career double-double in only 22 minutes. Senior Courtney Schiffauer posted her third career double-double, all this season, with 11 points and a career-high tying 11 rebounds, while sophomore Becca Mills added 10 points, all in the first half. Sophomore Kiana Johnson led the team with four assists and a season-high four steals off the bench.
Michigan State opened with the first eight points of the game and would eventually go ahead 13 points (26-to-13) with 8:27 left until halftime. Illinois slowly cut into the deficit and would tie the game at 36 with 1:18 on the clock. Two free throws from senior Jasmine Thomas and a floater from Johnson as time expired gave MSU a 40-36 halftime lead.
The Spartans remained ahead in the early minutes of the second half, but could not extend the lead past seven. With MSU leading 54-47 and 12:15 left, Illinois ran off nine unanswered points to take its first lead of the day. However, the Spartans quickly answered with 13 consecutive points of their own over a four minute span to go back up 11 (67-to-56). Illinois would get within four on a couple occasions in the final minutes, but no closer as Thomas and Bell each hit two free throws in the final 32 second to seal the win.
Michigan State controlled the boards, 49-22, including 21 offensive rebounds. It was MSU's largest rebound margin since Nov. 12, 2011 against North Carolina A&T (+36), and its largest margin in a Big Ten game since Feb. 3, 2005 vs. Northwestern (+28).
Illinois fell to 9-7 overall and 2-2 in the league, but had recently beat two top-25 teams in the last two weeks.
The Spartans return to action on Thursday, hosting Iowa at 6 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.
- It was the first time since Jan. 2, 2008 against Wisconsin that two Spartans posted double-doubles in the same game (Allyssa DeHaan and Kalisha Keane).
- The Spartans have won three-straight Big Ten road openers, and are now 4-3 under Coach Merchant in their first Big Ten road game.
- Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is now 28-16 in Big Ten road games; the best winning percentage in the conference during that span.
- MSU has won nine of its last 11 Big Ten games, and 36 of its last 46 conference games.
- The Spartans have held each opponent's leading scorer below their season scoring average. Illinois' Karisma Penn entered the game averaging 20.0 points and 10.6 rebounds, and was held to seven points and four rebounds, on 3-for-8 shooting today. She snapped a string of 17-straight game of double-digit scoring.
- It was the first time that Jasmine Hines led MSU in rebounds in her career.
- It was the first time in her career that Hines scored in double figures in three straight games. Hines leads MSU in Big Ten games with 15.0 points per game.
- Hines had a career high eight offensive rebounds, the most by a Spartan since Lykendra Johnson grabbed eight vs. Purdue in last year's Big Ten Tournament (March 2).
- Klarissa Bell's 18 points were her most since Nov. 29 at NC State, a span of 10 games.
- Bell tied a career high with three blocks and played all 40 minutes, tying her career high.
- Courtney Schiffauer went 5-for-5 from the field. She has made 20 of her last 34 field goal attempts (58.5%).
- It was the first game MSU has won this season when the opponent had a better field goal percentage.
- Michigan State has won 37 straight games when scoring at least 70 points. It is 56-4 under Merchant when reaching that point plateau.
- The Spartans have won 70 of its last 71 games when leading with five minutes left. MSU is now 112-5 under Coach Merchant when doing so.
- MSU has outrebounded 14 of its 16 opponents this season.
- Michigan State improved to 36-27 all-time against Illinois, and has won 14 of the 17 meetings.
- The Spartans have won four straight in Assembly Hall, and eight of the last nine trips to Champaign.
- Jasmine Thomas played her 113th career game, tying for 20th on the MSU career games played list.
- Kiana Johnson played in a season-high 32 minutes.