Johnson, Keane Lead No. 16 Michigan State to First Big Ten Victory
 
 
 
Lykendra Johnson scored 19 points to lead the Spartans past the Wolverines. (File Photo)
 
Lykendra Johnson scored 19 points to lead the Spartans past the Wolverines. (File Photo)
 
 

Dec. 31, 2009

Box Score |  Quotes |  Notes |  Photo Gallery  | Highlights

Listen to Spartan Sports Podcasts
Head Coach Suzy Merchant Press Conference
Lykendra Johnson | Kalisha Keane
Michigan Head Coach Kevin Borseth and Carmen Reynolds Press Conference

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -Lykendra Johnson and Kalisha Keane weren't about to let Michigan State fall to 0-3 in Big Ten play.

Johnson scored 19 points and Keane added 18 in outstanding all-around efforts to help the No. 16 Spartans beat Michigan 86-71 on Thursday.

"We took it personally," Johnson said of December losses to Indiana and at Wisconsin. "We were frustrated. So we talked about our roles and where we should be. We should be at the top of the Big Ten."

Johnson was 3 for 5 on 3-point tries and had seven rebounds, three blocked shots and three steals for the Spartans (10-4, 1-2 Big Ten).

Keane was 7 for 12 from the field and 4 for 6 from long range. She also had six rebounds, six assists, and four steals, including two that stopped a second-half surge.

"She was really special," Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant said. "That was the best all-around game I've seen her play. She was diving around and getting in passing lanes. She has a very, very high basketball IQ."

Carmen Reynolds led the Wolverines (9-4, 1-2) with 18 points, including four 3s. But they could not overcome 20 turnovers.

"Turnovers," Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. "I learned in third grade that you do not throw the ball into the corner. We did it twice in a row."

Michigan State had 23 assists on 29 baskets, made 10 of 20 3s and played with passion at both ends of the court.

The Spartans fell behind 7-0, then fought back to lead 46-33 at the half and 72-52 with 8:40 left. After conferences losses to Indiana and at Wisconsin, they knew how important a victory was.

"I think they are all must wins," Merchant said. "We didn't want to start 0-2 or lose at home. And we had already done that. But this wasn't the same team you saw Monday night or the one that showed up for the last five minutes against Indiana."

Michigan State grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, including six by Johnson, who led all scorers with just eight shots from the field.

But Keane was just as important with her all-around game and controlled the flow with outstanding court awareness, all-out hustle and unselfish play.

"She was the difference-maker," Borseth said. "Only one more year of her. She is a pretty good player."

Allyssa DeHaan also contributed 11 points and seven rebounds for the Spartans, who made 18 free throws, twice as many as Michigan attempted.

Veronica Hicks had 13 points for the Wolverines but was held to 4-for-17 accuracy by Johnson, her former AAU teammate. Krista Phillips added 12 points, and Dayeesha Hollins had 11.

Michigan was outscored 24-10 on second-chance points, an indication of the way Michigan State scrapped for every loose ball.

"This game meant a lot, especially with the rivalry," Johnson said. "We wanted to play with a little extra effort and not pace ourselves. I thought we brought a lot of intensity. And that started with Kal at the beginning of the game."