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No. 25 Women's Basketball Rallies To Down No. 15 FSU

Dec. 1, 2010

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MSU Post Game Press Conference - Suzy Merchant, Kalisha Keane, Porsche Poole

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant loves scrappy play. She really loved it Wednesday night.

Kalisha Keane scored 20 of her 22 points in the second half to lead a ferocious comeback that carried the 25th-ranked Spartans to a 72-64 victory over Florida State (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game.

Porsche Poole came off the bench to add 18 points and Brittney Thomas had 14 for the Spartans, who made 19-of-23 free throws and shot 9-of-21 from 3-point range.

The ball-hawking Spartans had 19 steals, including nine by Lykendra Johnson, who also chipped in with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

"Scrappiness," Merchant said about the comeback. "We used our quickness."

The Spartans capitalized on their defense to score 28 points off Florida State turnovers.

The Seminoles (6-1) went scoreless for nearly seven minutes midway through the game as the Spartans went on a 19-0 run to grab a 37-30 lead.

"Our goal was to keep moving," Merchant said.

And did they ever, wiping out an early 16-point deficit on the road against a ranked opponent.

"If you want to get where you want to get you've got to play good teams," Merchant said. "We felt like getting a signature win here might help us down the road."



Florida State coach Sue Semrau said the loss might help her team, which won a school-record 29 games last season and advanced to the Elite Eight before being eliminated by UConn.

"Michigan State's a good team and deserved to win," Semrau said. "They outplayed us."

Florida State had the first big spurt, but as it turned out not the biggest. Alexa Deluzio's jumper with 8:39 left in the first half capped a 15-0 run that gave the Seminoles a 23-7 lead.

But Michigan State (6-1) chipped away. Jasmine Thomas scored the last five points before halftime to get the Spartans within 30-25 despite 31 percent shooting in the half.

Keane hit a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws to tie the game at 30 with 1:31 left.

Courtney Ward had 15 points, Deluzio 14 and freshman Natasha Howard 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead Florida State.

Ward's 3-pointer with 3:26 remaining in the half gave Florida State a 30-18 lead, but the Seminoles didn't score again until Deluzio's layup with 16:24 left.

Florida State's leading scorer, Cierra Bravard, struggled in the first half -- getting only one basket while committing four turnovers. She finished with nine points on 3-of-11 shooting.

Despite a 45-29 rebounding advantage, the Seminoles couldn't offset their mistakes and cold shooting.

Michigan State shot 40.7 percent to Florida State's 36.5.


With the win...
- MSU improves to 6-1 on the season.
- The Spartans improve to 3-1 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, while FSU loses its first Challenge game (3-1).
- MSU snapped Florida State's 13-game home winning streak, which was a school record.
- Under Coach Merchant, MSU is now 34-4 when scoring over 70 points and have won its last 17 games.
- MSU improves to 9-4 in games played in the state of Florida.
- MSU improves to 4-0 on December 1.
- The Spartans have won both all-time meetings with Florida State.
- Coach Merchant is now 8-9 against ranked teams in her three-plus seasons at MSU.

Player Notes:
- Kalisha Keane scored a game-high 22 points, 20 of which came in the second half. It was her fourth game this season with at least 20 points, tying for the most in the Big Ten. Her four 20-point games ties her number from the last two years combined.
- Keane has led MSU in scoring in six of the seven games this season and has scored in double-figures in all seven.
- Keane moved into 15th place on the MSU career scoring list with 1,161 points. She also jumped into seventh with 197 career steals.
- Keane went 11-of-14 from the foul line, a career high. She was the first Spartan to make at least 10 free throws since Allyssa DeHaan against Wisconsin on Jan. 2, 2008.
- Keane tied a season high with two blocks. She also added three steals and has nine steals in her last two games.
- Lykendra Johnson narrowly missed a triple-double with a season-high 11 points, a game- and season-high 11 rebounds and a career-high nine steals.
- Johnson's nine steals tied for the second most in program history and were the most by an MSU player since Jamie Wesley grabbed a program record 12 steals on Feb. 2, 1996 against Minnesota. It was the most in the Big Ten since Purdue's FahKara Malone had nine against Portland on Nov. 20, 2008. The nine steals also tie for the most in the nation this season.
- It was Johnson's eighth career double-double and first this season.
- Johnson's 11 rebounds were the most by a Spartan this season. Johnson had five offensive rebounds and has grabbed 11 offensive boards in the last two games.
- Johnson played a season high 36 minutes.
- Porsche Poole had a career high 18 points off the bench. MSU is 10-1 all-time when she scores in double-figures. She tied her career high with six made field goals, going 6-of-9.
- Poole set a season high with 29 minutes played and tied season marks with three rebounds and three free throws made.
- Brittney Thomas tied her season high with 14 points, also grabbing a season high four steals.
- Jasmine Thomas led MSU with four assists. It was the second time this season that Thomas led them and the seventh time in her career. MSU is 6-1 in those games.
- Cetera Washington had a season-high two steals.

Team Notes:
- The Spartans trailed by as many as 16 (23-7 with 8:39 to go in the first half). The deficit overcome was the largest for MSU since coming back from 16 down to Iowa on Jan. 10, 2008.
- MSU went on a 19-0 run over the last 3:26 of the first half (final seven points) and first 3:26 of the second half (first 12 points) to open up a 37-30 lead. Its run expanded to 28-4 over 8:42 to post its largest lead of the game at 12 (46-32).
- MSU's 19 steals were the most in the Big Ten so far this season. It was the most by the Spartans since also grabbing 19 against Michigan on Jan. 1, 2006. The Spartans have had double-figure steals in each of the last three games and four times total this season.
- MSU is 19-1 the last two years when shooting more free throws than its opponents, including a 5-0 mark this season. The Spartans went 19-of-23 (82.6%) from the foul line, their best percentage and ties for the most makes this season.
- The Spartans were +4 in turnover margin, posting a positive turnover margin in each of the last three games. MSU forced 24 turnovers which led to 28 Spartan points.
- MSU went 9-of-21 (42.9%) from the 3-point line, including a 5-of-9 (55.6%) clip in the second half.
- The Spartans 47 second half points tied for the most by MSU this season (Detroit).
- MSU held FSU to 23.1% (3-of-13) from behind the arc, including a 1-of-9 mark in the second half. The Spartans last four opponents have only made 13 3-pointers and have shot 25.5% (13-of-51).

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