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Dec. 19, 1997

Spartans Open Paradise Classic with Victory over UC Santa Barbara, 80-74

HONOLULU, HI--The Michigan State (5-3) women's basketball team overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat UC Santa Barbara (5-3), 80-74, in the first game of the Ala Moana hotel Paradise Classic.

After trailing 47-37 at halftime, the Spartans opened the second half with a 12-0 run, sparked by senior Jamie Wesley's six points, to take a 49-47 lead at the 17:19 mark. Following a three-pointer by UC Santa Barbara, senior Bella Engen scored nine points during an 18-6 Spartan run to give MSU its biggest lead of the game at 67-56 with 10:07 remaining.

The Gauchos eventually cut the lead and trailed by just five points, 77-72, with just 57 seconds left. A Spartan foul put Stacy Clinesmith at the line and she sank both free throws to cut MSU's lead to three at 77-74 with just 40 seconds left.

MSU then brought the ball down court and took some time off the clock before junior Pernille Dalgaard hit a triple with 12 seconds remaining to seal the victory for the Spartans.

All five Spartan starters scored in double figures paced by Dalgaard's career-high 20 points. Engen ended with 13 points, while Kristen Rasmussen and Maxann Reese each scored 11 points. Wesley rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 points.

Erin Buescher paced the Gauchos with 17 points.

The Spartans will face Hawai'i at 7:30pm, EST on Saturday, Dec. 20.

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