Michigan State women’s basketball gets back in the win column with triumphant victory

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Gina Guy

The Michigan State women’s basketball team faced off against Northwestern on Wednesday evening at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, dominating the Wildcats with a score of 91-72.

The Spartans came into this matchup with an overall record of 12-4, pushing it to 13-4 by the end of the night.

“I think winning in the Big 10 is always a challenge, and I loved our start to the game,” head coach Robyn Fralick said. “We’re really proud of how we set the tone for the game, but there’s a lot to learn, especially in that second half. We just didn’t have the same focus on the defensive end.”

Michigan State brought speed and effort right out of tip-off, with a clean block by graduate guard Julia Ayrault off a Wildcat shot just 13 seconds into the game.

Within the same minute, Ayrault netted a three-pointer to give the Spartans the 3-0 lead very early on. Near the halfway mark in the first quarter, sophomore guard Abbey Kimball executed an incredible layup for MSU.

Kimball was a key player in this game, as she flawlessly banked another layup shortly after with help from Ayrault. Towards the end of the first quarter, Kimball drained a three-pointer from the right.

“[Kimball] is a really hard worker. She’s always creating space because she’s always a threat to be able to score from so many different spots on the court,” Fralick added. “She’s solid, she takes good care of the ball, it was good to see tonight.”

Graduate student Tory Ozment swiftly made a free throw for Michigan State to put the Spartans ahead by 10 points in the final minute and a half of the first quarter. The remaining time ran out scoreless, keeping the board at 21-11 with a Spartan lead.

In the starting minutes of the second quarter, graduate student Moira Joiner ramped it up with intense possession of the ball for most of the 10-minute period. Another strength for the Spartans is their misdirection, which throws their opponent for a loop. This came in handy in their battle against Northwestern.

With about 4:15 left in the second quarter, junior guard Dee Dee Hagemann secures a notable three-pointer on the fast break, gaining an added point with a successful free throw right after to go into halftime with a 50-28 lead.

“[Hagemann] is a great passer, she has a really good feel and can make good decisions,” Fralick said. “She can see, it’s almost seen before they get open and she does a great job of seeking where help came from, and really putting people in a position to score.”

Kimball brought more fire into the second half of the game with multiple layups and three-pointers for MSU. Another helpful pattern for Michigan State was being on top of the ball and being one step ahead of the rest. The Spartans got a lot of second-chance layups this game, demonstrating their strive to shoot the ball and keep possession.

With just under three minutes left in the third quarter, Joiner knocked down another two-point shot for MSU and extended the lead for the Spartans.

In the third quarter, Michigan State got an increase in free throw opportunities, taking advantage of each one to grow the score. Of these free throws, sophomore guard Theryn Hallock took the game under her wing and secured the majority of those opportunities for the team.

Through each quarter, Michigan State gained a larger and larger lead over Northwestern, putting the score at 71-52 going into the final 10 minutes of play.

With a minute and a half left, the Spartans took the lead to the final buzzer, resulting in a final score of 91-72.

Michigan State will next travel to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers on Jan. 20 at 3 pm.

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