March 2, 2012
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MSU Post Game Press Conference (Merchant, Alton, Poole)
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Michigan State women's basketball team opened the 2012 Big Ten Tournament in grand fashion with a 97-68 win over Indiana on Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Spartans' point total was the second highest in the 18-year history of the conference tournament. MSU advances to the second round to face Purdue at approximately 8:30 p.m. tomorrow night.
The Spartans improve to 20-10 overall winning their 20th game for the ninth straight season. MSU is one of 13 teams in the country, and one of two in the Big Ten, to have won at least 20 games in each of the last nine years.
Michigan State had a balanced offensive attack tonight, as four Spartans scored in double-figures and 11 tallied at least two points. Senior Porsche Poole and freshman Jasmine Hines led the way with 17 points apiece. Poole went 6-for-12 from the field and also had three assists in only 20 minutes. Hines, whose total was a career high, went 4-of-6 from the field and 9-of-11 from the foul line in only 14 minutes off the bench, also adding a career- and game-high six rebounds.
Senior Taylor Alton knocked down 4-of-6 from behind the arc, and tallied 14 points, four rebounds and three assists. MSU is now 16-0 all-time when Alton scores in double-figures. Freshman Becca Mills was also effective off the bench scoring 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting in 19 minutes.
MSU's two point guards, freshman Kiana Johnson and junior Jasmine Thomas, combined for nine assists and no turnovers in a combined 46 minutes.
The game was sloppy early as MSU held an 8-7 lead with 13:46 on the clock. The Spartans responded with 13 unanswered points, book-ended by Alton 3-pointers, over the next three minutes to take control. Michigan State kept the margin in double-figures for the rest of the half, as a Poole jumper in the final second gave MSU a 41-26 halftime lead.
Michigan State was sharp offensively throughout the second half, shooting 58.1% from the field, including 7-for-10 from behind the 3-point line. The Spartans opened the half by making their first six 3-pointers, and eventually opened a 35-point lead (80-45) with under eight minutes to go. Hines was the story late in the second half, scoring 11-straight at one point, and totaling 15 of her 17 points in 10 second half minutes. MSU capped off the scoring night with a layup by freshman Anna Morrissey, her first career field goal, in the final seconds.
The Spartans shot 50.8% from the field, including a 10-for-19 (52.6%) from behind the arc, while knocking down 21-of-25 (84.0%) from the free throw line. MSU forced 19 Indiana turnovers, while committing only nine of its own. They also controlled the boards with a 38-29 margin.
- Michigan State improves to 14-16 in the Big Ten Tournament, including a 4-4 mark under Coach Merchant. The Spartans have won at least one game in eight of the last nine conference tournaments.
- MSU won its fifth straight game over Indiana.
- It was Coach Merchant's eighth-straight 20-win season.
- The other schools to have won at least 20 games in each of the last nine seasons are Baylor, Bowling Green, Connecticut, Duke, Green Bay, Marist, Middle Tennessee, Ohio State, Stanford, Temple, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
- It was the most points by MSU against a Big Ten opponent since scoring 101 vs. Northwestern on Feb. 3, 2005.
- The Spartans previous high in a Big Ten Tournament game was 89 in a double-overtime loss to Ohio State in the 2002 first round.
- MSU's 21 assists were the most this season.
- Michigan State won its 34th straight game when scoring at least 70 points. MSU is 51-4 all-time under Coach Merchant when reaching that point total.
- The Spartans never trailed in tonight's game.
- With her four 3-pointers, Alton moved into eighth place on the MSU career 3-pointer list with 114 and seventh place on the MSU single-season list with 62.
- Poole has scored in double-figures in each of her last three Big Ten Tournament games.
- Klarissa Bell went 2-for-3 from behind the arc, and is 9-for-20 from 3-point range in her last eight games.
- Mills has scored in double-figures in three of her last four games, averaging 11.8 points during the span. She is shooting 19-for-33 (57.6%) in the last four games.