Jan. 20, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - No. 12 Michigan State couldn't overpower Indiana, so the Spartans let its perimeter shooters open things up.
"They play zone and we're going to get shots," coach Suzy Merchant said. "I really felt that we had a toughness and an edge to us tonight."
The Spartans (17-2, 5-1 Big Ten) did follow some of this season's trend lines.
They won for the 15th time in 16 games, stayed unbeaten against unranked teams this season and extended a strange streak in which the road team has won eight straight games in this series.
But this one certainly didn't follow the typical game plan.
Michigan State, which made only 21 3s in its first five Big Ten games and was shooting 32.6 percent from beyond the arc before Thursday, went 10 of 16 against the Hoosiers.
Plus, the Spartans committed six straight second-half turnovers, allowing Indiana to cut a seemingly safe 23-point lead to 12, before righting things.
"I thought our guards were really passive at times and they didn't handle the pressure well during that stretch," Merchant said. "I was disappointed during with all of our guards during that stretch."
Indiana (8-11, 2-5) got 20 points from Jori Davis and 16 from Whitney Lindsay - not nearly enough to end a losing streak that has now reached five.
To coach Felisha Legette-Jack, the reason was obvious: The Hoosiers defense didn't do a good enough job against Keane or anyone else.
"We slowed down our offense so much that I think it slowed down our defense, too," Legette-Jack said. "That's one player (Keane) you've got to find and we lost her repeatedly."
Keane made the Hoosiers pay dearly for the mistake.
She knocked down three 3s in a 4-minute, 4-second span hat helped the Spartans close the half on a 14-6 run, turning a 21-17 lead into a 35-23 halftime cushion.
Keane had four 3s and 17 points, more than her average for an entire game (15.6).
And it was all the separation the Spartans really needed.
Michigan State opened the second half with six straight points and with the Hoosiers suddenly focused on Keane, Taylor Alton hit three 3s in another scoring flurry that made it 56-33 with 10:15 to go.
Indiana made one charge, going on an 11-0 run.
But the Spartans, who were trying to rebound from Sunday's loss at Ohio State - their first defeat since Nov. 19, figured it out just in time.
"Aside from the turnovers I really thought this was a pretty good performance for us to bounce back," Merchant said.
With the win...
- MSU improves to 17-2 on the season and are 5-1 in Big Ten play, sitting alone in first place.
- The record is the best 19-game start in program history.
- It is the best six-game Big Ten start under Coach Merchant and the second best all-time. The 1989-90 squad won its first six conference game. It is the fourth time that MSU has begun 5-1.
- MSU has won 15 of its last 17 Big Ten regular season games.
- The Spartans improve to 25-12 on the Big Ten Network, including a 4-1 mark this season.
- MSU improves to 38-23 all-time against Indiana and have won 12 of the last 15 games.
- The Spartans won their eighth-straight game in Assembly Hall and are now 18-11 all-time in Bloomington.
- In the series between MSU and Indiana, the road team has now won the last eight meetings.
- MSU is now 65-7 under Coach Merchant when holding its opponent to 60 or less points.
- Senior Kalisha Keane led MSU in scoring for the 11th time this season.
- It was Keane's seventh 20-point game of the season. She had nine in her first three seasons in Green & White.
- Junior Lykendra Johnson had her fifth double-double of the season and 12th of her career.
- Johnson led MSU in rebounding for the 12th time this season. She has led MSU in boards in each of the six Big Ten games, having grabbed at least nine in each game.
- With her 10 rebounds, Johnson moved into 18th place on the MSU career list with 604.
- Johnson tied her season high playing 39 minutes and set a new season high with seven free throws made.
- With her game-high six assists, senior Brittney Thomas moved into eighth place at MSU with 358. Thomas is also now tied for sixth with 108 career starts.
- Keane moved up the MSU career lists in field goals, 3-point field goals and free throws made. She is now 11th with 476 field goals made, fourth with 153 3-pointers and 16th with 220 free throws. Keane is also now in a tie for 13th with 3,168 minutes played.
- Keane tied her career high with four 3-point field goals, going 4-of-6.
- Junior Taylor Alton started her first career game.
- Alton tied her career high with two assists and three offensive rebounds.
- Alton improved on her Big Ten leading 3-point field goal percentage, going 3-of-6 from behind the arc.
- Senior Cetera Washington tied her career high for the second straight game with nine rebounds. She also had a career high six offensive rebounds.
- MSU held a 37-21 edge in rebounding. Over the last five games, the Spartans are +13.4 a game in rebound margin.
- The Spartans held Indiana to five offensive rebounds. Over the last five games, their opponents are averaging only 6.4 offensive rebounds a game.
- The Spartans went 10-of-16 from 3-point range. It was the sixth time this season that MSU has reached double-figures in 3-point field goals made. Prior to this season, MSU has only accomplished the feat nine times in program history.
- MSU's 62.5% 3-point field goal percentage was a season high.
- The Spartans went 17-of-21 (81.0%) from the free throw line, its second highest percentage of the season. The 17 makes are also the most since Dec. 1 at Florida State.
- MSU is 11-0 this season and 25-1 over the last two seasons when attempting more free throws than its opponent.