MSU Stops Cincinnati in WNIT Opener
Four score in double figures as the Spartans advance to the second round of the WNIT.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Behind another stellar performance from sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon, the Michigan State women's basketball teams defeated persistent Cincinnati, 81-75, in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) on Thursday at the Breslin Center.
PDF Box Score vs. UC
With the win, MSU improves to 18-13 this season. Cincinnati ends its year with a 19-13 record.
McCutcheon was close to a double-double with a team-high 19 points to go along with nine assists. Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee had her second-straight double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three assists. Senior forward Taya Reimer had another solid outing with 16 points, while junior center Jenna Allen added 15 points and seven boards.
The Bearcats were led by a career-high 30 points by Genesis Parker off the bench.
The Spartans came out of the gate fast, using an early 7-0 run to take an early 11-2 lead, as Cincinnati took an early timeout. The Bearcats came roaring back making three-straight buckets to trim the MSU advantage to 14-13.
MSU used an 11-0 scoring run to go on top 25-13 late in the first quarter, giving Michigan State its first double-digit lead of the game. By the end of the first period, McCutcheon led all scorers with 10 points.
In the second quarter, the Spartans kept applying the pressure on both the offensive and defensive ends, maintaining their double-figure lead. The Bearcats would not go away, ending the first half with a 7-0 run. Michigan State entered the locker room with a 46-36 advantage.
The Spartans made 8-of-9 field goals during one stretch of the third quarter to pull away from Cincinnati, taking an 18-point lead 65-47. For the period, MSU was 9-of-13 from the field with seven assists. With 3:38 left in the period, the Spartans took their biggest lead of the game, 63-43 after a layup by redshirt-sophomore forward Victoria Gaines. Cincinnati did not go away, trimming the lead to 12 points by the end of the third period.
The determined Bearcats clawed their way back in the game throughout the final period. With 2:40 left in the game, a pair of McCutcheon free throws put MSU on top by 15, 81-66. From there, Cincinnati scored the final nine points of the game. The Spartans were able to hold on for the 81-75 victory.
Michigan State will remain at home for the second round. The Spartans will host the winner of the game between Toledo and Wright State on Monday, March 19 at 7 p.m. The game between the Rockets and the Raiders will be played in Toledo on Friday.
Postgame Notes vs. Cincinnati - WNIT
With the 81-75 win over Cincinnati, Michigan State improves to 12-4 in the WNIT, including a stellar 5-0 record in the first round. The 81 points was the third-most points MSU has scored in a WNIT game. In 2000, the Spartans defeated Cincinnati, 88-83. In 2002, MSU stopped DePaul, 87-76. Michigan State is now 7-0 overall against the Bearcats.
Michigan State led wire-to-wire and had as big a lead as 20 points.
The starting lineup of sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon, redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley, junior center Jenna Allen, redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee and senior forward Taya Reimer are now 4-2. This was the third-straight game that this lineup has begun a game.
McCutcheon made her team-leading 30th start of the season, as part of her 63rd of her career.
Agee started her 21st game of the season and 83rd of her career, the most among active Spartans.
Reimer started for the 11th time this season and 44th of her career.
Taryn McCutcheon got into double figures for the 16th time this season with her 19 points. She was also just short of a double-double with nine assists.
The Spartans had 25 assists on 33 made baskets against the Bearcats. This was the 10th time this season that Michigan State has had at least 21 assists. MSU improves to 9-1 this year when having 21 or more helpers.
With 10 points and 10 rebounds, Agee earned her fifth double-double of the season and second in as many games.
The Spartans dominated in the paint, out-scoring the Bearcats, 44-18.
Michigan State is now 5-2 when four players score in double figures.