HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – The Michigan State women’s basketball team advanced to the Big Ten Tournament Semifinals with a 62-46 victory over Michigan on Friday night at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The Spartans, who improved to 23-7 overall, will play No. 1-seed Penn State tomorrow night at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network.
Junior Klarissa Bell led the Spartans with 20 points, on 8-for-15 shooting, and helped to hold Michigan leading scorer Kate Thompson (14.9 ppg) to eight points on 3-for-14 shooting, including 1-for-10 from the 3-point line.
Senior Jasmine Thomas and sophomore Becca Mills each added 10 points, and Thomas chipped in five assists, with no turnovers, and two blocks. Sophomore Kiana Johnson dished out a game-high seven assists, with only two turnovers, and grabbed two steals.
For the second-straight game, Michigan State did not trail tonight, jumping out to an 8-2 lead in the first four minutes. The Spartans used a 9-2 run midway through the half to open up a double-digit lead at 24-12 with under six minutes on the clock. Michigan slowly chipped away in the final minutes, going to the break with a 30-25 Spartan advantage.
MSU scored the first four points of the second half, but the Wolverines came back with a next seven points to close within two at 34-32 with 17:11 left. From that point on, the Spartans pulled away going on a 16-1 run over seven minutes, and never trailed by fewer than 13 the rest of the way. Michigan State held Michigan without a field goal for a span of 9:25 in the second half.
The Spartans were efficient from the field, shooting 51.0%, while dishing out 19 assists on 26 made field goals. MSU had only 12 turnovers and were +5 (33-28) in rebounding.
- Michigan State advanced the semifinals for the 10th time.
- The Spartans improve to 15-17 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament, including a 10-6 record in the quarterfinals.
- Michigan State has won 21 of its last 23 games against Michigan and is 62-16 all-time against the Wolverines. MSU is 3-0 against Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament.
- MSU’s 23 wins are tied for the fifth most wins in a single-season in school history.
- The Spartans improve to 9-0 in the state of Illinois under Coach Merchant.
- It is just the fourth time in the 19 years of the Big Ten Tournament that the top-4 seeds advance to the semifinals (2000, 2005, 2010).
- Michigan was the 16th MSU opponent held under 50 points this season, adding to its new single-season record. MSU is 159-4 all-time when holding its opponent under 50 points.
- MSU has held 26 of its 30 opponents below their season scoring average. Michigan was averaging 61.3 points.
- The Spartans have held 27 of their 30 opponent’s leading scorers below their season average.
- MSU has outrebounded 26 of its 30 opponents this season, and 74 of its last 87 teams.
- The Spartans have won 79 of their last 80 games when leading with five minutes left.
- Jasmine Thomas moved into 17th place on the MSU career assist list with 254 and 12th on the career games played list with 127.
- Over Thomas’ last eight games, she has 28 assists and only seven turnovers.
- Thomas has scored in double figures in six straight games.
- Kiana Johnson led MSU in assists for the third-straight game and for the 11th time in her last 15 games. Johnson’s seven assists were the second most this season.
- Courtney Schiffauer played her 121st game, moving into 15th place in MSU history.