Spartans Take Down Illinois, 65-62
Mia Johnson, in first start of the season, scores 20 points.
Jan. 24, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Allyssa DeHaan hit the game-winning shot with nine seconds remaining to give the Michigan State women's basketball team a 65-62 victory over Illinois at Assembly Hall Thursday night. With the score tied at 62, MSU got the ball in the post to DeHaan, who missed her first two shots, but put the third putback up and in, putting the Spartans (12-9, 4-5 Big Ten) up, 64-62.
After an Illinois timeout, Kalisha Keane stole the inbounds pass with three seconds left. Illinois had two fouls to give, and after the third foul, Brittney Thomas hit the front end of a 1-and-1 to give MSU the three-point lead. Illinois did not get a shot off at the end of the game.
Mia Johnson, in her first start of the season, scored a season-high 20 points, including five points in the last three minutes. MSU featured a balanced scoring attack, with four players in double-figures. DeHaan finished with 14 points, while Keane collected a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Brittney Thomas scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
"The one thing I've said all along about Mia is that she's a fighter," said MSU head coach Suzy Merchant. "Getting her back in the mix was big for us and she had good shot selection. We were running a few things to post her, and she did a good job of putting the ball in the basket.
"I thought we fought really hard out there," continued Merchant. "Our kids really competed tonight. We had good balance for the first time in a long time with four kids in double-figures, which is something we have to have as we continue to grow as a team. I'm very proud of this road win."
Michigan State scored its most points in a first half this season while taking a 40-33 lead at halftime. MSU shot 63 percent in the first 20 minutes, led by Johnson's 10 points.
MSU returns to action Sunday, Jan. 27 to take on Minnesota in Minneapolis at 1 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Coach Merchant used a different combination in her starting lineup, featuring Brittney Thomas, Kalisha Keane, Allyssa DeHaan, Mia Johnson and Lauren Aitch together for the first time this season. It marks Johnson's first start of the season and Aitch's third.