Spartans Finish Big Ten Season with a 76-57 Victory at Northwestern
Feb. 26, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. - The Michigan State women's basketball team closed out the Big Ten regular season on Sunday afternoon, beating Northwestern 76-57 at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Spartans, who has won seven of their last eight games, finish in a four-way tie for second in the conference at 11-5. MSU will be the fifth seed in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament, playing Indiana on Thursday night at approximately 8:30 p.m.
MSU has finished second or better in each of the last four seasons - winning the outright title last year, and placing second in 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2011-12.
Senior Lykendra Johnson pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, becoming the second Spartan and the 13th Big Ten player to reach 1,000 in her career. Johnson also added 14 points in the return to her home city, topping 1,200 career points and moving into 11th on the MSU career list (1,206).
Senior Porsche Poole had her fifth 20-point effort in the last nine games, and led MSU with 22 points, while also adding six rebounds and three assists. Freshman Becca Mills had 12 points in 18 minutes off the bench, while classmate Kiana Johnson posted 10 points, four assists and three steals.
The first half featured six ties and 14 lead changes, before the Spartans closed the half on a 6-2 run to take a 33-29 lead into the break.
Michigan State opened up the second half on a 14-3 run over the first five and a half minutes, which extended to a 25-6 spurt over the first 10:22 of the half. The Spartans opened a 23-point lead (59-35) with the run, but it was eventually cut to nine (62-53) with 4:04 left. However, MSU bounced back by scoring 13 of the next 15 points to put the game away and close it out with free throws in the final minute.
MSU shot 51.7% in the second half, led by Poole's 16 points after the intermission.
For the game, the Spartans held a +11 margin on the glass, outrebounding the Wildcats 43-32.
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