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Second Half Surge Leads Spartans Past Oakland, 67-42

Senior Porsche Poole led MSU in scoring for the third time this season with 16 points.

Nov. 27, 2011

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Head Coach Suzy Merchant Press Conference
Lykendra Johnson | Porsche Poole | Courtney Schiffauer
Oakland Head Coach Beckie Francis

EAST LANSING, Mich. - A strong defensive effort, especially in the second half, led the Michigan State women's basketball team to a 67-42 victory over Oakland on Sunday at the Breslin Center. The Spartans, who improve to 5-2, began the second half on a 14-2 run over the first six and a half minutes and held the Grizzlies (2-3) to 18 second half points.

Suzy Merchant became the quickest head coach to 100 Spartan wins in today's game. She needed only 142 games, surpassing the previous mark by Karen Langeland and Joanne P. McCallie (155 games).

Senior Porsche Poole was the lone Spartan in double-figures, leading the way with 16 points. However, five MSU players scored at least eight points, as seniors Taylor Alton and Lykendra Johnson had nine, and junior Courtney Schiffauer and freshman Becca Mills scored eight apiece. Alton led the Spartans with a career high seven rebounds. Freshman Kiana Johnson tied her season highs with five assists and three steals.

The game went back and forth early, but an 11-2 Spartan run towards the middle of the half, gave MSU a 23-17 lead it would not let go of. Oakland would cut the game to one point (25-24) with 1:32 to go in the half, but an Alton 3-pointer and a K. Johnson layup in the final 26 seconds gave the Spartans a 30-24 halftime lead.

The Grizzlies scored on their first possession of the second half, but Michigan State ran off the next 14 points over the next six minutes to pretty much put the game away at 44-28.The Spartans would put together another long run, this time a 15-2 spurt covering eight minutes to open their largest lead of the game at 61-34 with just over four minutes left.

The Spartans held Oakland to 31.7% shooting for the game, including 19.0% (4-of-21) from behind the arc. MSU controlled the boards, outrebounding the Grizzlies, 47-30, leading to 20 second chance points.

Michigan State tied a program low mark, committing only five fouls in the game, and keeping the Grizzlies off the foul line. A defensive effort, held Oakland's leading scorer Bethany Watterworth, who entered the game averaging 22.5 points, to a season-low 12 points.

Michigan State continues its four-game homestand on Thursday, hosting No. 9 Miami at 8 p.m. on Big Ten Network.

Team Notes:
-The Spartans improve to 8-4 all-time against Oakland and have won the last four meetings.
-Michigan State has outrebounded all seven of its opponents this season, and 30 of its last 33.
- The Spartans are now 138-4 all-time when holding their opponent under 50 points.
- MSU has won seven straight games on Nov. 27, and is 8-3 all-time on this date.
- The Spartans are 34-2 over the last three seasons when attempting more free throws than their opponent.

Player Notes:
-Michigan State is now 10-0 all-time when Porsche Poole leads in scoring, and 19-3 when she scores in double-figures.
- Poole continued her consecutive free throw streak to 16 in a row, and has made 37 of her last 38 (97.4%), dating back to last season.
- Taylor Alton led MSU in rebounding for the first time in her career.
- Poole tied her career high with five rebounds.
- Courtney Schiffauer tied her season high with six rebounds, also adding eight points, going 6-of-9 from the foul line. Her six free throws made tied a career high.



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