Nov. 30, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. - The Michigan State women's basketball jumped out to a big lead early and never trailed, winning at NC State 68-51 on Thursday at Reynolds Coliseum as part of the 2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Junior Klarissa Bell scored a career-high 21 points to lead the Spartans to their fourth 6-0 start in program history.
Michigan State scored the first seven points and went ahead 21-3 over the first seven and a half minutes, setting the tone for the night. The Spartans maintained an 18-point margin at 29-11 with 8:24 in the half, before NC State ran off 10-unanswered points to cut the MSU lead to eight. The Wolfpack got the deficit down to six, before a 3-pointer from Becca Mills with 30 seconds left flipped the momentum. Two NC State free throws in the final second brought the halftime margin to 39-32.
The Wolfpack continued their strong play into the early moments of the second half, scoring the first six points to whittle the once 18-point deficit down to one (39-38; 18:06). Michigan State would then respond on both ends of the floor, with 10-straight points over the next six minutes and an extended 23-5 run over 12 and a half minutes to put the game away. The Spartans used the clock and limited the turnovers in the final minutes to leave with a 68-51 victory.
It was an impressive effort by the Spartan defense, as NC State entered the game, ranking 13th in the nation with 80.1 points per game. They held the Wolfpack to a season low 34.5% from the field, including a 20.0% (3-for-15) mark from behind the arc. MSU was also +4 on the glass, controlling NC State who was sixth nationally with a +15.0 margin on the season.
In addition to Bell's career high offensive night, senior Jasmine Thomas poured in a season-high 16 points and tied her season high with seven rebounds, playing all 40 minutes. Junior Annalise Pickrel also played all 40 minutes, chipping in 14 points. Senior Courtney Schiffauer set a career high with a team-best five assists.
The Spartans have a quick turnaround, hosting Milwaukee on Saturday at 4 p.m.
POST GAME NOTES:
- MSU is now 4-2 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The record is tied for the best among Big Ten schools.
- The ACC won the 2012 Challenge 7-5.
- Michigan State finished the month of November perfect, and is now 32-7 under Coach Merchant in the month.
- The Spartans have not trailed in a game since the first minute vs. Albany, a span of 119 minutes.
- MSU had only 11 turnovers and 11 personal fouls. The Spartans entered the week fifth in the nation in both categories.
- The last three MSU opponents have combined to shoot 17.95 (7-for-39) from 3-point range. On the season, MSU has allowed only 18 3-pointers.
- The Spartans shot a season-best 81.3% from the free throw line (13-for-16).
- MSU had an 18-4 edge in second chance points, after limiting NC State to 10 offensive rebounds. Entering the night, the Wolfpack were averaging 17.9 second chance points on 18.1 offensive boards.
- The Spartans held NC State without a fast break point. The Wolfpack has averaged 10.1 per game this season.
- Klarissa Bell topped her career high, going 7-for-8 from the foul line.
- Branndais Agee scored her first collegiate points with a jumper in the first half.
- Becca Mills went 2-for-2 from behind the arc, after entering the game 2-for-8 on the season.
- MSU is 49-5 over the last four seasons when shooting more free throws than its opponent.
- MSU held NC State leading scorer Kady Burke (17.7 per game) to nine points, snapping a streak of 10-straight games in double figures.
- Michigan State has now won both meetings against NC State all-time.