After a 21 point road win over the Purdue Boilermakers on Tuesday, the No. 17 Michigan Wolverines returned home to host the Michigan State Spartans this afternoon. MSU entered on a two game losing streak, falling to No. 13 Maryland by nine and Wisconsin by four in overtime. In a Maize Out rivalry game, Michigan really shone in a heated contest to improve to 15-3 overall after beating the Spartans 70-55. Here’s how it happened.
Both teams got off to a slow start, with the Wolverines shooting 6-of-16 in the first quarter. The Spartans came out shooting, but that quickly fizzled out due to turnovers. MSU committed ten turnovers in their loss to Wisconsin and fifteen against Maryland in their past two games. They had nine in the first ten minutes today.
The Wolverines got their offense rolling in the second quarter, finding some consistency from their go-to’s in forward Emily Kiser and guard Leigha Brown. Michigan State hung in it by shooting near perfect from the line. Brown put up 14 for the Wolverines in the first half. Michigan went into halftime up eight.
After the break, some of the shooting woes from the first quarter returned. MSU opened on a 4-1 run, but they too struggled to get shots to fall. Both teams went almost two minutes without scoring, staying stagnant 36-31. Michigan’s first three points of the second half came from the line before guard Maddie Nolan sank the three to put Michigan back up to eight.
Despite the shooting struggles, the Wolverines stayed tough ending the third quarter on a 7-0 run. Guard Jordan Hobbs was big for Michigan down the stretch, drawing the offensive foul and then draining a three to put the Wolverines up 51-39 at the end of the third. The Wolverines were really starting to feel it towards the end of the third, knowing they were rolling over rival MSU at home.
With Crisler’s support behind them, the Wolverines entered the final ten minutes ready to send the Spartans back home to East Lansing. Lots of whistles put some of Michigan’s heaviest hitters in foul trouble. Nolan ended the third quarter with four and Kiser drew her fourth early in the fourth quarter. But that didn’t bog them down at all. Kiser put up 10 in the second half, going to work down low and shooting lights out at the line. Hobbs was locked in for the final quarter, drawing yet another offensive foul to stir up those heated rivalry emotions.
Turnovers were still a big issue for the Spartans. They ended with 22 on the day, tied for second worst this season. To put salt on the wound, Michigan scored 22 points off of those 22 turnovers, to bury the Spartans by 15 to end the game. Michigan State shot 35 percent from the floor and 15% from beyond the arc to add on to their rough afternoon.
The Wolverines earned their fifth win out the past six games against the Spartans for the first time ever as a program. Nolan also scored her 137th three pointer to put her in the top ten in Michigan history. Four players had double digit efforts en route to the fifteen point win at home, where for the first time, Crisler had back to back 10K+ crowds for the women’s team.
Brown led the Wolverines with 17 points and six assists. Kiser wasn’t far behind, with 14 points and six rebounds. The biggest effort came from Hobbs off the bench, she contributed seven to the Wolverines. Nolan notched three 3’s to end the day with 10 points and guard Laila Phelia had 12 to be the fourth Wolverine in double digits.