Spartans Notch First-Ever Win at Penn State
Feb. 17, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Michigan State women's basketball team recorded its first-ever win at Penn State with a 66-50 victory over the Nittany Lions Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center. Winners of three in a row, the Spartans improve to 16-11 for the season and 8-7 in the Big Ten. Penn State (13-13, 4-10) has now lost seven straight.
"I feel pretty good about the win here," said MSU head coach Suzy Merchant. "Michigan State has never won here, so we felt good about that. We knew it was going to be quite a battle. We knew we'd face some challenges since they had a team that could really put the ball in the basket if you let them. I thought they were clearly the dominating team in-transition, offensively, and defensively when we played at our place. We really needed to elevate our game at both ends in order to win on the road, and I think we did that."
The Spartans led by as many as 18 points and never trailed in the contest. MSU outscored the Nittany Lions in the paint, 36-12, and scored 31 points off 22 Penn State turnovers.
Brittney Thomas had an impressive all-around game, scoring 16 points to go along with six rebounds, five steals and three assists. She was 5-of-6 from the field and 6-of-8 at the free-throw line.
"Brittney plays extremely hard, no matter the situation," said Merchant."She loves the defensive end and she's got everyone playing with that same kind of enthusiasm and toughness at that end. She's just really athletic and covers a lot of ground. I think her biggest impact for us has been on the defensive end. The other thing we've been trying is to get her some more opportunities on the low post. She really is big and physical down there and can score on the block. We've tried to run some things to her on the low post and get the ball outside to Allyssa because she's a really good shooter."
The Spartans shot 55 percent from the field, the best mark for the team in the conference season.
Entering Sunday, MSU had lost all 13 of its games at Penn State.
Michigan State returns to action Thurday, Feb. 21 to host Northwestern at the Breslin Center, beginning at 7 p.m.
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