Nov. 15, 2012
YPSILANTI, Mich. - It was a familiar surrounding for Michigan State women's basketball head coach Suzy Merchant as she took the floor tonight at the Convocation Center. Merchant led the Spartans to a 60-49 victory over Eastern Michigan, a program spent nine seasons at the helm. Junior Klarissa Bell scored a career high 20 points to help the Spartans pick up a win in their first road game of the season and improve to 2-0.
Bell was 8-for-14 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from behind the arc, while also adding six rebounds and three assists. Senior Jasmine Thomas filled the stat sheet with 13 points, seven rebounds, a game-high seven assists and two steals. Sophomore Becca Mills had a pair of career highs, pulling down 11 rebounds and blocking five shots in only 21 minutes.
The first half featured seven ties and five lead changes, eventually ending up with a 28-28 tie into intermission. The Spartans led by as much as seven in the first half (22-15) with 10:10 to go, but went scoreless for the next six minutes, as EMU ran off eight unanswered.
Bell knocked down a 3-pointer 28 seconds into the second half and the Spartans never trailed again. A 10-1 run, which began with seven minutes left, opened up a 56-40 lead for MSU, its largest of the game. Michigan State withheld a late run by EMU to go home with a 60-49 win.
The Spartans return to Breslin Center Sunday to face Virginia Tech at 4 p.m.
POST GAME NOTES
- Prior to the game, Eastern Michigan honored Coach Merchant with a framed photo and a video presentation, recognizing her coaching career at EMU.
- As MSU head coach, Merchant is now 20-1 against in-state opponents. MSU is 35-1 since the beginning of the 2002-03 against other Michigan schools.
- The Spartans are now 17-3 all-time against Eastern Michigan, having won 14 of their last 15 in the series.
- Tonight was MSU's first trip to Ypsilanti since Dec. 10, 1994. The Spartans have won five straight at EMU.
- Under Coach Merchant, the Spartans improve to 90-8 when holding their opponent to 60 points or less.
- MSU has now head both opponents under 50 points and are 145-4 all-time when limiting the opponent to fewer than 50 points.
- The Spartan defense held Eastern Michigan to 31.3% shooting.
- Michigan State has won on Nov. 15 each of the last four seasons.
- Bell played all 40 minutes, a career high. She also tied her career high with eight field goals made.
- Jasmine Thomas tied her career high with 38 minutes played.
- Annalise Pickrel went 3-for-7 from 3-point range. Pickrel has made seven 3-pointers through the first two games, after making only 19 in her first two seasons (59 games).