No. 25 Michigan St. 76, Richmond 52

Kalisha Keane scored 26 points and No. 25 Michigan State used

some suffocating second-half defense to beat Richmond 76-52 on

Saturday in the University of Central Florida Thanksgiving

Classic.

Brittney Thomas added nine points and Courtney Schiffauer had

eight for the Spartans, who improved to 4-1 after outscoring the

Spiders 37-21 in the second half.

Brittani Shells led Richmond (4-3) with 16 points. The Spiders

played even with the Spartans for the first 16 minutes of the game,

but couldn’t maintain the pace.

”We expected Richmond to come out with a lot of fire and

intensity,” Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant said.

”Fortunately, we had Kalisha there to match it, and then the rest

of the team picked things up defensively to help us pull

away.”

Michigan State opened the second half with 11 straight points to

take a 50-31 lead with 15:27 left. Shells finally ended Richmond’s

drought with a fallaway 8-footer with 14:38 to play that made it

50-33, but the Spiders never got closer than 14 the rest of the

game.

Keane scored 22 points in the first half, hitting four

3-pointers and going 9 of 12 from the field. The Spartans needed

all of her offense to break away from a Richmond team that harassed

Michigan State all over the court.

The Spiders led 25-23 after a layup by Shells with 5:20 left in

the half, but Michigan State finished the half with a 16-6 run to

lead 39-31 at halftime.

”That run at the end of the half was really when our defense

perked up,” Merchant said. ”The girls started getting in the

gaps, taking away passing lanes and that helped us create some

turnovers that led to easy baskets.”