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Spartans Open Caribbean Classic with 72-45 Win Over Colorado State

Freshman Becca Mills scored in double-figures for the first time since Nov. 22.

Dec. 20, 2011

Box Score

CANCUN, Mexico - The Michigan State women's basketball team opened the Caribbean Classic on Tuesday afternoon with a 72-45 win over Colorado State at the Moon Palace. The Spartans (8-4) had a balanced offensive attack this afternoon, with six players scoring at least eight points, and showed intensity on the defensive end, forcing 27 turnovers and holding the Rams to their season-low of 45 points.

Freshman Becca Mills led the Spartans with 11 points and senior Porsche Poole added 10. Junior Jasmine Thomas posted nine points, a game-high five assists and three steals. Senior Lykendra Johnson also had nine points and grabbed a team-high five rebounds. Senior Taylor Alton and freshman Jasmine Hines each added eight points.

The Spartans had a quick start, jumping out to an 11-2 lead, behind five points from Thomas. With 8:09 to go in the first and the score 20-13, Michigan State scored nine unanswered points to move ahead 29-13. The Rams got within 12 (32-20), but the Spartans finished a half on a 7-0 run over the final 2:26 to take a 39-20 halftime lead.

The Spartans shot 57.7% in the first half, including 5-of-11 (45.5%) from behind the arc.

MSU continued the run into the second half, scoring four of the first five points and holding CSU without a field goal for the first 4:37. Colorado State would fight to get within 15 (46-31) with just over 10 minutes to go, but the Spartans answered with a 16-5 run to remove any doubt. The MSU lead grew to as many as 29 and the Spartans left with a 72-45 win.

The Spartans turn around to play Pittsburgh (6-5) in the second day of the Caribbean Classic tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. ET.



Team Notes:
- It was the first meeting all-time between MSU and Colorado State.
- The Spartans have won their last 12 games after a loss in-season. The last time that MSU has lost back-to-back games in a season was Jan. 2010.
- MSU is now 75-41 all-time in regular-season tournaments, including a 20-5 mark over the last nine seasons.
- The Spartans are now 3-0 all-time in Cancun and have won their last six games when playing outside of the United States.
- MSU has won 28-straight games when scoring at least 70 points.
- Under Coach Merchant, the Spartans are now 45-4 when scoring at least 70 points and 80-8 when holding teams to 60 points or less.
- MSU is 140-4 all-time when holding its opponent below 50 points.
- The Spartans are 36-2 over the last three seasons when attempting more free throws than their opponent.
- MSU has held each of its opponent's leading scorer below her season average this season.
- The Spartans have outrebounded 11 of their 12 opponents this season, and 34 of their last 38 going back to last season.
- MSU has won five straight games on Dec. 20.

Player Notes:
- Lykendra Johnson moved into fifth all-time at MSU in rebounds with 860 and 21st in points with 1,013.
- Jasmine Thomas' five assists tied her season high.
- Taylor Alton tied her career high with four steals for the second straight game.
- Klarissa Bell had six points in eight minutes, it was her second highest point output on the season.

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