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

night.

”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

that stretch.”

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

anyone else.

”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

go.

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.