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Spartans Hold Off Feisty IPFW, 62-56 in Home Opener

Senior Lykendra Johnson had 14 points and a career-high 20 rebounds, the seventh most all-time by a Spartan, in MSU's 62-56 win over IPFW tonight.

Nov. 15, 2011

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Taylor Alton | Lykendra Johnson | Becca Mills

EAST LANSING, Mich. - In the home opener at Breslin Center tonight, the Michigan State women's basketball team needed a late run to top IPFW, 62-56. Senior Lykendra Johnson led the Spartans (2-1) with her 18th career double-double, posting 14 points and a career-high 20 rebounds.

Classmate Taylor Alton added 14 points, while freshman Kiana Johnson tallied her first career double-figure night with 13 points, going 3-of-4 from the 3-point line, and dished out a game-high four assists.

The Spartans led by as much as 10, jumping out to an 18-8 lead seven minutes into the game. IPFW fought back cutting the MSU lead to two (20-18) with a 10-2 run over the next six minutes. Both teams struggled to find an offensive rhythm over the rest of the half, as the Spartans took a slim 29-25 lead into the break.

MSU shot only 30.3% in the first, while the Mastodons were held to 28.0% over the first 20 minutes.

IPFW came out and tied the game up at 31 early in the second half, but Michigan State responded with six-straight points and held the Mastodons scoreless for five minutes, to open a 37-31 lead. IPFW responded with a counter-punch, ripping off an 11-1 run of its own to take its first lead of the game at 42-38 with 10 minutes to go.



The rollercoaster half continued as the Spartans scored the next nine points, behind five points from Alton, to open a lead they would not relinquish. The MSU lead would grow to as many as nine down the stretch, but IPFW would not give in, getting within three (55-52) with a minute left. The backbreaker came as freshman Jasmine Hines made her first free throw but missed the second, but L. Johnson cleaned up the miss with a put back to give MSU a six-point advantage.

In addition to her impressive double-double, L. Johnson also added three assists, three steals and two blocks. Freshman Becca Mills posted nine points, a season-high 10 rebounds and three blocks in the win.

MSU outrebounded the Mastodons, 54-37, including 22 offensive rebounds that led to a 22-4 advantage in second chance points.

The Spartans have a quick turnaround this week, playing Western Michigan on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Breslin Center.

Team Notes:
- The Spartans improve to 32-8 all-time in home openers. MSU has won 12 of its last 13 Breslin openers.
- Under Coach Merchant, MSU is now 74-8 when holding its opponents to 60 or fewer points.
- MSU is now 2-0 all-time against the Mastodons, topping IPFW in the last two home openers.
- The Spartans improve to 228-79 all-time at Breslin Center.
- Head coach Suzy Merchant improves to 298-162 all-time, needing only two wins for 300 in her career. She is now 97-42 in her four-plus seasons at MSU, and is three wins away from becoming the fastest MSU coach to 100 wins.

Player Notes:
- Lykendra Johnson's career high 20 rebounds are the seventh most all-time by a Spartan, and the most since Dec. 30, 1997 (Kristen Rasmussen -20).
- With her two blocks, Johnson moves into a tie for fifth all-time at MSU with 107 blocks.
- With her three steals, Johnson moves up to 18th all-time at MSU with 171 steals.
- Michigan State is now 9-0 all-time when Taylor Alton scores in double-figures.
- Alton's 15 3-point attempts tie for the second-most all-time in a MSU game.
- Jasmine Hines' five rebounds were a season-high.

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