Women's Basketball Topped by Illinois, 61-51
 
 
 
Senior Klarissa Bell had a season-high 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals on Thursday night.
 
Senior Klarissa Bell had a season-high 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals on Thursday night.
 
 

Jan. 23, 2014

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - The offensive struggles continued for the Michigan State women's basketball team tonight, as the Spartans lost to Illinois, 61-51 at the Breslin Center. MSU drops its second-straight game to fall to 4-2 in the Big Ten and 12-7 overall. Junior Becca Mills led the Spartans with 17 points.

Mills scored the first seven Spartan points as MSU jumped out to a 7-4 lead in the first four minutes. With the Spartans up 13-9 with 13:23 on the clock, Illinois (9-10, 2-4) ran off seven-straight points over a span of five and a half minutes to take its first lead. However, MSU quickly responded with an 11-3 run of its own to go back ahead 24-19 with 3:42 until halftime. The Illini chipped away but a layup by Tori Jankoska gave Michigan State a 28-25 halftime lead.

For the second-straight game, the Spartans struggled offensively in the second half. MSU managed only 23 points, shooting 31.0% from the field and 1-for-12 from 3-point.

Michigan State started the half by scoring the first five points to go ahead 33-25 and would maintain a six-point lead (38-32) with under 13 minutes left. Illinois slowly chipped away to retake the lead. An Annalise Pickrel layup tied the game at 46 with 4:21 on the clock, but that was the last Spartan field goal for three minutes. The Fighting Illini ran off 11-consecutive points during that stretch to take over the game.

Jankoska added 12 points in the loss for MSU. Klarissa Bell had a season-high 11 rebounds, while Pickrel chipped in nine points and 10 rebounds. Kiana Johnson dished out a game-high six assists.

The Spartans return to action on Sunday, traveling to Ohio State for a 12:30 p.m. tip on Big Ten Network.

POST-GAME NOTES:
- Mills' 17 points tied for her most ever in a Big Ten game, a mark she had reach on two previous occasions (last vs. Penn State on Jan. 6, 2013).
- With her six assists, Johnson moved into 10th place all-time at MSU with 340 career assists.
- Mills tied her season high with two blocks, moving her into 13th place on the Spartan career list (57).
- With her block, Pickrel is now tied for eighth at MSU with 65 career blocks.
- Jankoska has made 36 3-pointers this season, tying her for the third-most in a season by a Spartan freshman.
- MSU's 51 points and 15.0% (3-20) 3-point field goal percentage were season lows.
- Mills made a season-high five free throws, going 5-for-5, and has made her last 10 free throw attempts.