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Women's Basketball
Spartans Fall to No. 9 Miami, 76-60
 
 
 
Klarissa Bell
 
Klarissa Bell
 
 

Dec. 1, 2011

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Head Coach Suzy Merchant Press Conference
Porsche Poole | Courtney Schiffauer
Miami Press Conference

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Spartans couldn't stifle Miami's offense, and Michigan State fell to the No. 9-ranked Hurricanes, 76-60, on Thursday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Miami's Morgan Stroman scored 20 points in a near-perfect shooting night to lead the Hurricanes.

Stroman had 13 points at the break, hitting all four of her shots from the field and all five at the line for the much quicker Hurricanes (6-1). She finished 7 for 7 and 6 for 7, respectively. Shenise Johnson added 13 points and Stefanie Yderstrom had 11 in Miami's second-closest game this season.

"I'm not surprised," Merchant said. "We knew what they were going to do. We practiced against six and seven guys on our scout team. But from 1 to 5, that's the fastest, most athletic team we've faced in my career. We've played Duke, and it's not even close."

Porsche Poole had 17 points for the foul-plagued Spartans (5-3), who played without starters Lykendra Johnson and Taylor Alton for most of the first half Michigan State trailed 38-26 at halftime.

Courtney Schiffauer and Jasmine Hines each had nine points for Michigan State, while Becca Mills grabbed nine rebounds, all in the first 20 minutes.

Miami forced the Spartans into 19 turnovers and had 11 steals. That was more than enough when Michigan State shot just 3 for 16 on 3s.

The Hurricanes shot 45 percent from the field, 30 percent on 3s (6 for 20) and 75 percent (12 for 16) on free throws. They had 15 assists and just 10 turnovers while running at every opportunity.

The Spartans shot 42 percent from the field and 78 percent (7 for 9) at the line, and had a 37-34 edge in rebounds.

Miami point guard Riquna Williams went down with a left knee injury and was helped off the court with 1:16 left before halftime. She returned briefly in the second half and finished with nine points.

The Hurricanes built a 36-20 edge with pressure defense, drives to the basket and a steady procession to the foul line. The Spartans had 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes, when they were outscored 11-3 at the line.

"We've got to be smarter than that," Poole said. "We've got to stay out of foul trouble. We were better with the ball in the second half and didn't give up turnovers for touchdowns. But we have to start faster."

With Johnson and Alton back in the lineup, Michigan State pulled to 46-36 on an off-balance jumper by Poole and made it an eight-point game on a layup by Alton.

Miami kept the Spartans at bay with five of their six 3s in the second half, two from deep in the right corner and one from up top by Yderstrom.

But Michigan State rallied again behind Schiffauer's aggression and Hines' strength inside. Annalise Pickrel's jumper with 6:14 to go pulled the Spartans to 59-52 with 6:14 left.

"We cut it to seven but just didn't make a couple of plays when we needed to," Merchant said. "I liked our fight in the second half and the way we competed. We just couldn't get over the hump."

Stroman finally missed a free throw but made her second attempt, then converted a layup on a pass from Shenise Johnson to make it a 10-point game. On the Hurricanes' next possession, Yderstrom connected again from 21 feet to make it 65-52.

The Big Ten and ACC split the 2011 Big Ten/ACC Challenge at six games apiece.
 

 

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