Spartans Eliminate Wisconsin From Big Ten Tourney, 70-63
Reimer leads four in double figures
Indianapolis, Ind. -- - Double-figure scoring by four different Spartans lifted Michigan State over Wisconsin in a 70-63 win at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday night.
Senior Tori Jankoska led all scorers with 22 points, her 19th game this season with 20 or more points. Taya Reimer knocked down her third double-double of the season with 12 points and season-high 12 rebounds. Redshirt senior Branndais Agee added 14 points, and freshman Taryn McCutcheon contributed 10.
Michigan State advances to meet No. 3 seed Michigan in Friday's quarterfinal game. The Michigan State and Michigan match-up will be the final game of Friday evening, and tip-off will be at approximately 9 p.m.
Wisconsin started the game with the hot hand, opening with a 7-2 run in the first two minutes of the game. Michigan State cut Wisconsin's lead to four after a fastbreak layup from sophomore Jenna Allen on an assist from Agee with 3:51 on the clock. Agee sank a jumper with five seconds left in the quarter, but the Spartans trailed 14-13 at the quarter break.
With 6:53 left to play in the first half, the Spartans took their first lead of the game (20-18) on a layup from freshman Mardrekia Cook. The game was tied four times in the second quarter alone, and Wisconsin went on a 7-0 run in the final 2:34 of the half to enter intermission with a 37-30 advantage.
MSU came out of the halftime break as a team on a mission, halting Wisconsin's run and going on a 14-7 run of their own. The Spartans knotted the game at 44-44 after a quick steal followed by a layup from freshman Nia Hollie. The Spartans kept the pressure on and outscored Wisconsin 24-13 in the third frame to take a 54-50 lead.
Reimer netted seven of her 12 points in the fourth quarter, which kept the momentum on the side of MSU. The Spartans outscored the Badgers 16-13 to stretch their lead and earn the 70-63 victory.
- MSU took a 2-1 edge in Big Ten Tournament matchups vs. Wisconsin. The last time the two teams met was in 2009, when MSU dropped a 56-50 decision as the No. 2 seed in the quarterfinals after a first round bye. In 1995, MSU defeated Wisconsin, 87-79, in the quarterfinal round in Indianapolis.
- With 22 points against the Badgers, Tori Jankoska was one point shy of her Big Ten Tournament career high of 23 against Ohio State last season in the semifinals.
- Jankoska's 22 points vs. the Badgers pushes her career total to 2,141 career points. She is 23 points shy of breaking the single-season scoring record held by Aerial Powers who netted 697 points during the 2015-16 season.
- Michigan State outscored Wisconsin 24-13 in the third quarter to come back from its seven-point halftime deficit.
- Reimer recorded her third double-double of the season with 12 points and career-high 12 rebounds.
- The Spartans have had six different starting lineups in the 30 games of regular-season, but had the same starting five in the last 16 contests: Tori Jankoska, Taryn McCutcheon, Branndais Agee, Victoria Gaines, and Tara Reimer. Jankoska, Reimer and McCutcheon have each started all 30 games this season.
- Jankoska has started 111 games during her Michigan State career. Branndais Agee has the second most starts of any current Spartan with 59.
- MSU improved to 13-1 this season when at least three players scored in double figures. Jankoska (22), Agee (14), Reimer (12) and McCutcheon (10) all scored in double figures.
- In head coach Suzy Merchant's tenure, when two numbers on the scoreboard were achieved it typically has been a sign of a MSU win. Overall, MSU has scored at least 70 points 19 times overall this season. MSU has won 105 of its last 114 games when scoring at least 70 points, and MSU is 122-16 under head coach Suzy Merchant when hanging at least 70 points on the scoreboard. This year, MSU is 16-3 when scoring at least 70 points with its only losses coming against Iowa in overtime on Feb. 9 (87-83), against Maryland on Feb. 12 (89-72 ) and Nebraska in overtime (76-74) on Feb. 26.
- The Spartans will take on Michigan for the sixth time in the Big Ten Tournament. The last time the teams met was in 2015 when MSU defeated Michigan in the second round 69-49. MSU and Michigan have played in the Big Tournament three of the last four seasons (2013, 2014, 2015).