Feb. 28, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Michigan State women's basketball team earned its first win over a ranked opponent this season, in a critical 68-61 upset over No. 25/22 Purdue on Thursday night at Mackey Arena. Senior Jasmine Thomas, and juniors Klarissa Bell and Annalise Pickrel all scored at last 17 points in the win, helping improve the Spartans' record to 21-7 overall and moved them into a tie for third in the Big Ten at 9-6.
Pickrel scored a game-high 18 points in 29 minutes off the bench, shooting 6-for-11 from the field and 4-for-7 from 3-point. She also added a team-best six rebounds. Thomas and Bell each added 17 points, while Thomas chipped in three assists, and Bell was strong defensively with three steals and two blocks. Sophomore Kiana Johnson led the squad with six assists to just two turnovers, and picked up eight points and three steals.
The first 10 minutes featured three ties and five lead changes, before a Thomas jumper with 9:58 left in the first half gave MSU a lead it would not give up. The basket was in the middle of an 11-0 run by the Spartans that gave the visitors a 21-13 lead. Purdue got back within one (27-26), but Michigan State closed the final 3:20 of the half on a 10-0 run to take a 37-26 halftime lead.
Purdue came out strong to begin the second half, scoring the first seven points, and forcing a MSU timeout with 18:19 left. The Spartans responded with baskets on their next two possessions to go back up eight, 41-23. Purdue would again close within one point on two occasions, but both times Pickrel answered with points to thwart the comeback. The Boilermakers last attempt got them back within two (63-61) with 4:09 left, but MSU held them scoreless the rest of the way. The Boilermakers missed their last six shots, failing to hit a field goal over the final 6:50.
The Spartans close out the regular season at home on Sunday, hosting Wisconsin at 2 p.m. for Senior Day. The game will air live on Big Ten Network.
- Michigan State is now 31-20 on the road in Big Ten games under Coach Merchant. It is the most road wins in the conference in the six-year span.
- The Spartans have held 26 of their 28 opponent leading scorers to below their season average. Purdue's Courtney Moses (13.2 points) had seven points on 2-for-8 shooting.
- The Spartans are now 45-14 after a loss under Coach Merchant, including a 7-1 record this season.
- MSU improved to 24-6 in February over the last four seasons.
- MSU was won 77 of its last 78 games when leading with five minutes left. The Spartans are 21-0 this season and 119-5 under Coach Merchant.
- Coach Merchant is now 3-2 in Mackey Arena as Spartan head coach. MSU has won three of its last four trips to West Lafayette, after losing 21 of its first 25 games.
- Michigan State tied its season high with 13 steals. MSU has posted 13 steals in both its meetings with Purdue this season.
- The Spartans tied their season high with nine 3-pointers, including going 7-for-10 in the first half.
- MSU forced 18 turnovers with only 12 of its own. MSU had a 20-11 edge in points off turnovers.
- Annalise Pickrel has now made 56 3-pointers this season, moving her into 10th on the MSU single-season list.
- In her last four games, Jasmine Thomas has scored 64 points (16.0 per game), and in her last six games, she has 22 assists to only six turnovers.
- Courtney Schiffauer played her 119th career game, tying her for 17th on the Spartan career list. She also hit her 49th career 3-pointer, tying her for 18th all-time.
- Both Klarissa Bell and Schiffauer tied their career highs with three steals.
- Kiana Johnson has led MSU in assists in 11 of the 19 games this season.