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Women's Basketball
No. 11 Spartans Top Michigan Before Sellout Crowd, 69-56
 
 
 
Lykendra Johnson secured her eighth double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds in only 21 minutes.
 
Lykendra Johnson secured her eighth double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds in only 21 minutes.
 
 

Feb. 13, 2011

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Coach Merchant's Post Game Press Conference
Kalisha Keane | Brittney Thomas | Lykendra Johnson | Taylor Alton
Michigan's Post Game Press Conference

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant was impressed when she saw the fans lined up outside the Breslin Center on Sunday for the Spartans' first women's home sellout.

An announced crowd of 14,797 said similar things after watching the No. 11 Spartans beat Michigan 69-56 to continue the best start in program history.

"I think the best way to describe it from the players' perspective and mine is it's overwhelming," Merchant said after her first-place Spartans (22-3, 10-2 Big Ten) beat their rival.

Kalisha Keane had 18 points and four steals in Michigan State's ninth straight win over Michigan and 17th in the past 18 meetings.

But she couldn't say enough about the support on Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

"It really means a lot to me to be able to experience this," Keane said. "A lady came up to me after the game and said she never thought she'd see a day like this. She said they wore skirts when she played."

The Spartans were stronger and more athletic than the Wolverines (14-10, 7-5). They had a 38-25 rebounding edge.

"They move you when they want to move you," Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. "They're very strong. That's their biggest attribute. Keane and (Lykendra) Johnson are a handful. They're bookends. Those two are going to play in the WNBA."

Johnson had 13 points and 12 rebounds in her eighth double-double this season. Her three-point play on one of six offensive rebounds ended the Wolverines' last threat in the second half.

"She has her niche," Merchant said of the league's top offensive rebounder. "She finds a way and is a very, very good defensive player. And she's a great rebounder. To move from a 3 position to the post, it's all about the team."

Taylor Alton was just as important with a career-high 16 points, including 4-for-7 shooting from long range. Her 3 from the corner with a 54-46 lead was key.

"Today was incredible, absolutely electrifying," Alton said. "To see the upper bowl fill up the way it did 30 minutes before the game gave me chills. We didn't play our best game today. But it's a day I'll never forget."

Michigan was led by Courtney Boylan and Jenny Ryan, who each had 11 points. But the team's top 3-point threat, Carmen Reynolds, was held without a basket.

"I just thought our offense was awful," Borseth said, despite the fact that the Wolverines were 8 for 16 on 3-pointers.

"I don't know why everyone thinks we just want to shoot 3s. We're trying to get the ball close to the basket. That's what we've been trying to do for 30 years."

The Spartans have been trying to concentrate on the challenge at hand and not look at the league standings, where they have a half-game lead on Penn State and a one-game edge on Wisconsin.

"We don't want to look ahead, but when you do step back and look at what we've done with 22 wins already, it's mind-blowing," Alton said. "With one fewer loss in the Big Ten, it's all in our control. And it helps with great days like this."

POST-GAME NOTES

With the win...
- MSU improves to 22-3 on the season, continuing the best start in program history, and is 10-2 in Big Ten play, holding onto first place in the conference.
- Today was the first official sellout in Michigan State women's basketball history, with a crowd of 14,797.
- It is the ninth straight season which the Spartans have won at least 10 Big Ten games, the longest active streak in the Big Ten.
- MSU has won 20 of its last 23 Big Ten regular season games.
- It was the Spartans' 10th win over an RPI top-50 team, the fourth-most in the country.
- MSU won its 19th straight game at the Breslin Center, the second longest streak in program history and the ninth longest active run in NCAA Division I.
- The Spartans are 69-7 under Coach Merchant when allowing 60 of less points.
- Michigan State won its ninth consecutive and 17th of its last 18 over Michigan. All-time MSU is 58-15 against the Wolverines.
- The Spartans won its eighth in a row over U of M at Breslin and are 30-6 all-time in East Lansing against Michigan.

Player Notes:
- Taylor Alton scored a career high 16 points, tying her career high for the second straight game with four 3-pointers (4-of-7).
- Alton made a career high four free throws and is now a perfect 13-of-13 from the line on the season.
- Lykendra Johnson had her sixth double-double in Big Ten play and eighth on the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds in only 21 minutes.
- Johnson has led MSU in rebounding in all 12 Big Ten games.
- Johnson moved into 11th all-time at MSU with 676 career rebounds.
- With six offensive rebounds, Johnson moved into fourth on the all-time MSU list with 272 and fourth on the MSU single-season list with 100.
- Kalisha Keane led MSU in scoring for the 13th time this season with 18 points, also adding a game-high four steals.
- Keane played her 128th game as a Spartan, tying for eighth all-time.
- Cetera Washington moved into the top-10 in career games played with 127.

Team Notes:
- MSU held a 38-25 edge in rebounding over Michigan. MSU has outrebounded its last 11 opponents and 17 of its last 18. Over the last 11 games, the Spartans are +11.0 a game on the boards.
- The Spartans had 17 offensive rebounds which led to a 19-11 advantage in second chance points.
- MSU went 8-of-23 from behind the arc and have now made 172 3-pointers on the season, moving into second on the MSU single-season list. It is now four behind the all-time record of 176 set in 2004-05.

 

 

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