No. 12 Michigan St. 69, Indiana 55
No. 12 Michigan State couldn’t overpower Indiana, so the
Spartans let its perimeter shooters open things up.
Kalisha Keane matched a career-high with four 3s and finished
with 23 points, Lykendra Johnson had 16 points, and Michigan State
made 10 3-pointers as it rolled to a 69-55 victory on Thursday
”They play zone and we’re going to get shots,” coach Suzy
Merchant said. ”I really felt that we had a toughness and an edge
to us tonight.”
The Spartans (17-2, 5-1 Big Ten) did follow some of this
season’s trend lines.
They won for the 15th time in 16 games, stayed unbeaten against
unranked teams this season and extended a strange streak in which
the road team has won eight straight games in this series.
But this one certainly didn’t follow the typical game plan.
Michigan State, which made only 21 3s in its first five Big Ten
games and was shooting 32.6 percent from beyond the arc before
Thursday, went 10 of 16 against the Hoosiers.
Plus, the Spartans committed six straight second-half turnovers,
allowing Indiana to cut a seemingly safe 23-point lead to 12,
before righting things.
”I thought our guards were really passive at times and they
didn’t handle the pressure well during that stretch,” Merchant
said. ”I was disappointed during with all of our guards during
Indiana (8-11, 2-5) got 20 points from Jori Davis and 16 from
Whitney Lindsay – not nearly enough to end a losing streak that has
now reached five.
To coach Felisha Legette-Jack, the reason was obvious: The
Hoosiers defense didn’t do a good enough job against Keane or
”We slowed down our offense so much that I think it slowed down
our defense, too,” Legette-Jack said. ”That’s one player (Keane)
you’ve got to find and we lost her repeatedly.”
Keane made the Hoosiers pay dearly for the mistake.
She knocked down three 3s in a 4-minute, 4-second span hat
helped the Spartans close the half on a 14-6 run, turning a 21-17
lead into a 35-23 halftime cushion.
Keane had four 3s and 17 points, more than her average for an
entire game (15.6).
And it was all the separation the Spartans really needed.
Michigan State opened the second half with six straight points
and with the Hoosiers suddenly focused on Keane, Taylor Alton hit
three 3s in another scoring flurry that made it 56-33 with 10:15 to
Indiana made one charge, going on an 11-0 run.
But the Spartans, who were trying to rebound from Sunday’s loss
at Ohio State – their first defeat since Nov. 19, figured it out
just in time.
”Aside from the turnovers I really thought this was a pretty
good performance for us to bounce back,” Merchant said.