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Spartans Defeat Minnesota, 56-51, Advance To Big Ten Tournament Semifinals

March 7, 2008

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Coach Merchant Post-Game Press Conference
Player Post-Game Press Conference
Junior Mia Johnson
Senior Alisa Wulff
Freshman Brittney Thomas

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Allyssa DeHaan scored all 12 of her points in the second half and the fifth-seeded Michigan State Spartans rallied to beat Minnesota 56-51 in a Big Ten tournament quarterfinal game on Friday night. The Spartans advance to face Illinois in the semifinals Saturday at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Brittney Thomas finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, and Mia Johnson scored 12 for the Spartans (19-12), who earned a spot in the tournament semifinals for the fifth straight year.

Michigan State plays No. 9 Illinois, a 64-58 quarterfinal winner over top-seed Ohio State, in Saturday's semifinals.

Zoe Harper had 11 points and Leslie Knight added seven points and eight rebounds for the fourth-seeded Golden Gophers (20-11), who beat the Spartans twice during the regular season.

Trailing 47-41 with four minutes left, the Spartans scored the next six points, including Thomas' two free throws to tie the score.

Following a Minnesota basket, Johnson's layup and free throw put Michigan State ahead 50-49, and Alisa Wulff's 3-pointer extended the lead to 53-49 with 1 minute left.



The Golden Gophers cut the deficit to 53-51 on Emily Fox's two free throws, but the Spartans sealed the victory at the free-throw line in the closing seconds.

In a first half that featured eight lead changes and six ties, the Spartans took their biggest advantage, 13-7, on Kalisha Keane's free throw with 6 minutes left. Minnesota opened a 23-20 lead late in the half, but Keane's 3-pointer tied it heading into the break.

The Golden Gophers shot 22 percent from the field in the opening half and committed nine turnovers, while Michigan State shot 24 percent and had 10 turnovers.

Minnesota used an 8-1 run midway through the second half to create some separation. Harper's layup gave the Golden Gophers a 39-33 lead with 8:30 left.

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