EAST LANSING, Mich. - Boosted by a triple-double from Tori Jankoska and a career-high 30 points from Branndais Agee, Michigan State women’s basketball pulled away from Minnesota, 85-69, Thursday night at the Breslin Center.
Before the game, the Spartans honored senior guard Jankoska, who became the first Michigan State women’s basketball player to reach the 2,000-point mark against Maryland on Feb. 12. She then went out and tallied the first triple-double in Spartan women’s basketball since Kristin Haynie in 2005, recording 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. It is the third triple-double in school history, joining Kim Archer in 1984.
MSU had a 23-6 scoring spurt in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter to pull away for the victory, as the Spartans improved to 17-9 overall and 7-6 in Big Ten action with the win. The Golden Gophers slid to 14-13 overall and 5-9 in B1G play with the loss. Thursday’s win also swept the season series for MSU, as the Spartans improve to 32-21 overall against the Gophers, including 23-7 in the Breslin Center.
Redshirt senior guard Agee netted her career-high 30 points, hitting a career-best six 3-pointers, tallying 17 of her 30 points after halftime, as MSU led 37-35 at halftime. Agee added seven rebounds.
Freshman guard Taryn McCutcheon dished out a career-high 12 assists, leading MSU to a season-high 28 helpers on the night. McCutcheon’s 12 helpers is tied for the fifth-most in a single-game in the Michigan State record book. She also now has 138 assists this season, not only leading the Spartans this season, but moving up to second on the most assists by a freshman list, trailing Vnemina Reese (1999-2000) with 143. The 138 assists is also tied for No. 8 overall in the MSU single-season record list, just ahead of Jankoska’s 137 assists this season.
Redshirt freshman Victoria Gaines tied her season-high with 10 rebounds, adding seven points, while sophomore forward Jenna Allen added nine points off the bench.
Minnesota was led by reserve Jessie Edwards’ 14 points, helping the Gophers to a 28-16 bench scoring advantage. Carlie Wagner added 13 point to go with eight rebounds, which were matched by Whitney Tinjum for the team lead as Minnesota had a 39-37 rebounding edge.
Midway through the first quarter, the Spartans went 6-for-6 from the field to take a 16-14 lead. Despite the sharp-shooting, Minnesota ended the first quarter with a slight 20-19 advantage. The Spartans were hampered by five first-quarter turnovers.
With less than three minutes left in the half, Minnesota took its biggest lead of the half of eight at 35-27. The Spartans showed fight, cutting the lead to 35-34 with a 7-0 run. Michigan State increased the run to 10-0 with a Jankoska trey with five seconds left in the half. The Spartans entered the locker room with a 37-35 lead.
With a 3-pointer from Agee, MSU took a 45-37 lead. Jankoska followed with a trey of her own to put the Spartans up 48-37 with 8:18 to go for MSU’s first double-digit lead of the night. MSU’s advantage swelled to 52-40 on a Gaines layup at the 5:56 mark before the Gophers gnawed the gap to 61-56 just seven seconds into the fourth and final quarter.
That would be the closest the Gophers would get as Agee drained another triple to spark MSU’s decisive 23-6 streak. The run was capped by an Allen layup at 4:07 for an 84-62 Spartan advantage and the home team coasted to the victory, subbing out both Agee and Jankoska separately with two minutes left to huge ovations.
The Spartans will hit the road to take on in-state rival No. 20 Michigan on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. in Ann Arbor. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network. MSU then returns home for its regular-season home finale on Wednesday, Feb. 22 against Penn State in a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Breslin Center.
Postgame Notes - MSU vs. Minnesota
- After tonight’s victory Michigan State improved to 13-2 when scoring 70 or more points in a game.
- The Spartans improved to 9-6 with the starting lineup of Tori Jankoska, Taya Reimer, Branndais Agee, Taryn McCutcheon and Victoria Gaines. MSU has had the same starting lineup for the past 11 games.
- In the first half Michigan State assisted on 11 of its 14 field goals and were led by McCutcheon who dished out six in the half.
- As a team, MSU recorded season-high 28 assists, their previous season-high was 27 against Ohio State, Jan. 10. Michigan State is 6-2 when dishing out 21 or more assists and 2-0 when the team has 26 or more assists.
- The Spartans are now 15-2 when leading at the halftime break.
- McCutcheon surpassed her assists season-high with team-high 12 helpers, her previous season-high was nine against Davidson, Nov. 11, 2016. McCutcheon now has 138 assists placing her No. 2 in the freshman record books as she passed Kiana Johnson (2011-12) and Brittney Thomas (2007-08) who ended their freshmen seasons with 129 and 133 assists, respectively. Vnemina Reese (1999-00) is the leading assists player with 143 helpers during her freshman campaign.
- Michigan State swatted a season-high nine blocks and the Spartans are 3-0 when blocking six or more shots.
- Agee scored a career-high 30 points, her previous career-high was 22 against Maryland, Feb. 5, 2016. Agee netted 13 of her 30 points in the first half. She has in scored double-figures in seven of the last eight games. Agee also broke her career-high field goals with 11, her previous was eight against Maryland, Feb. 5, 2016 and she broke her single-game three-point field goal with six three-point field goals made.
- Jankoska recorded only the third triple-double in Spartan women basketball history and the first triple-double since Kristin Haynie scored 13 points, recorded 10 rebounds, and had 10 assists against Vanderbilt March 27, 2005.
- Jankoska is the single-season record holder in three-point field goals made. Tonight she netted six three-pointers to give her 94 three-point field goals made this season.
- McCutcheon’s 12 helpers is tied for the fifth-most in a single-game in the Michigan State record book. She also now has 138 assists this season, not only leading the Spartans this season, but moving up to second on the most assists by a freshman list, trailing Vnemina Reese (1999-2000) with 143. The 138 assists is also tied for No. 8 overall in the MSU single-season record list, just ahead of Jankoska’s 137 assists this season.