Feb. 8, 2007
EVANSTON, Ill. - Sophomore Mia Johnson hit 5-of-7 free throws in the final 2:02 on Thursday night, icing a 55-48 win for No. 24 Michigan State over Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Big Ten action.
Johnson led the Spartans (18-6 overall, 9-2 Big Ten) with 15 points, as she also nailed two 3-pointers in the game, one that tied the game in the first half before the Spartans gained a lead they'd never relinquish.
"Mia's getting in a groove a little bit," Michigan State head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "I would like to see her rebound more, but that's kind of being demanding of her. She had four and she worked hard on the boards. She played strong and tough."
While the Spartans hit 80 percent (8-of-10) of their shots from the charity stripe, the Wildcats (6-19 overall, 0-12 Big Ten) struggled at the free throw line, hitting just 17-of-25 (68 percent).
The Spartans used an 11-0 run to start the second half to control the game, speared on by five points from Mia Johnson and four points from Myisha Bannister to take a 40-22 lead with 17:00 left. From there, Northwestern cut into the 18-point lead, drawing within four with 2:02 left after a Kristin Cartwright free throw.
From there, the Spartans won the game on the line, hitting 7-of-9 shots, as Johnson knocked down five and senior Victoria Lucas-Perry was a perfect 2-for-2 from the line.
After Northwestern opened the game on an 11-2 run that encompassed the first 5:24, Michigan State held the Wildcats to just 11 points for the rest of the half, holding them to just 22 percent (8-for-36) from the field.
After Sara Stutz's 3-pointer, Michigan State got back into the game, countering with a 13-5 run to draw within one point. Sophomore Aisha Jefferson offered up six straight points to highlight the run, forcing Northwestern to call a timeout with 8:16 left in the half.
Northwestern's Kaitlin McInerney scored the next bucket, but Johnson hit a three from the right side to tie the game at 18 with 5:33 left in the half. After no one managed to score in the next four possessions, the Spartans scored on three straight, each with driving layups, as Lucas-Perry drove the right baseline to give MSU the lead, senior Rene Haynes drove the lane and Johnson hit a floating layup before crashing to the hardwood on the right side.
After a layup from McInerney cut the Spartan lead to four, freshman Allyssa DeHaan converted on traditional three-point play, leading to the halftime margin of seven points.
Lucas-Perry finished with nine points and a season- and game-high 10 points for the Spartans and Jefferson notched 10 points and five boards. Senior Myisha Bannister notched eight points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor, scoring six in the second half. She also had four rebounds.
The Wildcats were led by McInerney, who finished with 15 points and added seven rebounds. Kristin Cartwright added 10 points and seven boards.
Michigan State heads to 13th-ranked Purdue for a Sunday showdown that will be shown as part of ESPN2's February Frenzy. Tip is set for 3:10 p.m.
- The senior class of Myisha Bannister, Katrina Grantham, Victoria Lucas-Perry and Rene Haynes won their 97th career game, an MSU record, passing the mark of 96 wins set by the Class of 2006 (Liz Shimek and Lindsay Bowen) ... The quartet has lost just 29 times in their Green and White careers.
- The Spartans held the Wildcats to 21.9 percent shooting from the floor, a season-low ... They held two teams to 25 percent from the floor, Texas-Arlington on Nov. 19 and Indiana on Dec. 28.
- For the second game in a row, Michigan State fell behind early, giving up the first six points of the game ... MSU gave up the first five points against Illinois on Feb. 4.
- Freshman Allyssa DeHaan tied her career-high with two steals in the first half ... The Spartan also had two thefts against Rhode Island on Nov. 29.
- Sophomore Aisha Jefferson has scored in double figures in three straight games and five of the past six, as she had 10 points against the Wildcats.
- Sophomore Mia Johnson has 37 points and six assists in the past two games, as her 22 points against Illinois on Feb. 4 also led the team ... The Spartans are 5-0 when Johnson leads the team in scoring.
- Senior Victoria Lucas-Perry had a season-high 10 rebounds, one shy of her career high of 11 set at Oklahoma on Dec. 21, 2005 ... She is the first Spartan to reach double figures in rebounds since Myisha Bannister had 10 boards at Michigan on Jan. 18, a span of five games.
- Freshman Takeya Fortner tied a career-high with three rebounds.