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Michigan State Falls 74-63 to Minnesota in Big Ten Opener

Dec. 28, 2007

Final Stats
Head Coach Suzy Merchant Press Conference

EAST LANSING, Mich. - In its 2007-08 Big Ten Conference opener, the Michigan State University women's basketball team dropped a 74-63 decision to Minnesota this afternoon in front of 6,818 fans at the Breslin Center. Freshman Kalisha Keane (Ajax, Ontario/Westdale) led the way for the Spartans, who fall to 8-5 on the season overall, with 18 points and seven rebounds and three steals. Classmate Brittney Thomas (Boilingbrook, Ill./Boilingbrook) chipped in 14 points and tied a career-high with five steals.

The Golden Gophers, who improve to 10-3 overall and start off 1-0 in the Big Ten on the young season, had four players in double-figures, paced by 19 points from Emily Fox and a 16 points, 11 rebound effort from Leslie Knight. Brittany McCoy added 14 and Ashley Ellis-Milan rounded out the four visitors in double-figures with 10 points.

After an Allyssa DeHaan (Grandville, Mich./Grandville) layup to begin the game, Minnesota went on a 10-2 run, behind six points from Emily Fox, to open up an early 10-4 lead. The Golden Gophers lead would grow to as much as eight (16-8), but a 12-2 Spartan spirt, capped by an Alisa Wulff (Pickering, Ontario/Virginia) three-pointer, would tie the game at 18 with 11:27 to go in the first half. Minnesota would regain the lead, but the Spartans followed with seven-unanswered points over a 1:40 stretch to opened their biggest lead of the game at 29-24 with just over eight minutes left in the half. MSU controlled the scoreboard until the late in the first stanza, when the Gophers closed the final 3:17 on a 7-2 run for a 39-35 halftime advantage. The Spartans forced 15 first half Minnesota turnovers, but the Gophers shot 53.1% (17-32) from the field and out-rebounded MSU 20-12, leading to the first half lead.



Thomas knocked down a jumper at 18:31 for the first points of the second half, but Minnesota would go on a 14-4 string over the next seven minutes, holding the Spartans to 1-for-5 shooting from the field and forcing five turnovers in the stretch, to take a 53-41 leads they would not relinquish. Michigan State would get within four on three occasions, as late as 4:08 in regulation, but could not get any closer. Despite only hitting six of their first 15 foul shots, Minnesota would hit 9-of-14 from the line in the final four minutes to seal the win.

The Golden Gophers shot 50.9% (28-55) from the field in the win, the highest percentage allowed by the Spartans this season. MSU picked up 10 steals on the afternoon, a season-high, and blocked six shots, including five from DeHaan, who also had her fourth double-digit rebound effort of the season with 10 boards.

Michigan State had won four-straight Big Ten openers and five-straight home openers in conference plays.

The Spartans have a quick turnaround this weekend, returning to the hardwood on Sunday afternoon for a noon tip with Ohio State at the Breslin Center.

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