Michigan State Falls 74-63 to Minnesota in Big Ten Opener
Freshman Brittney Thomas had 14 points and five steals this afternoon.
Freshman Brittney Thomas had 14 points and five steals this afternoon.

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.