Mo Joiner joins the 1,000-point club as Michigan State women’s basketball cruises to a victory over Purdue

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Gina Guy

The Michigan State women’s basketball team took on the Purdue Boilermakers at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Wednesday night, winning-handedly with a final score of 97-70.

Both teams came out stagnant on the offensive end to start the game, but it only took a few minutes for Mo Joiner to knock down a three-pointer from the left wing for her fifth point of the night, solidifying her legacy at Michigan State as she became the newest member of the 1,000-point club. 

“You don’t score 1,000 points on accident. It’s a consistency piece, it’s a work ethic piece, and you feel so proud of that. That’s just something you love to be a part of,” MSU head coach Robyn Fralick said. “As impressive as her 1,000 points are… just as impressive is the 1,000 points she hasn’t let the other team score, because in my opinion, she’s one of the best defenders in our league.”

The historic feat set fire to the Spartan offense as they hit six out of their next eight shots.

MSU also forced four first-quarter turnovers from a stifling 1-3-1 trap defense that coach Fralick had the Spartans in right from the tip.

Purdue’s top scorer Abbey Ellis was determined not to let things get out of hand early as she hit two big three-point shots towards the end of the quarter to keep the Boilermakers in the game.

The Boilermakers continued to hit timely threes to keep them in the game early in the second quarter, but their turnovers cost them any momentum they were able to gain.

After coach Fralick’s demoralizing full-court defense took the ball away four times in the first quarter, they doubled down with eight turnovers in the second quarter, allowing Michigan State to hold on to a 43-31 lead going into the locker room at halftime.

The Spartan defense allowed them to pull away early in the third quarter with an 8-0 run as Mo Joiner and Abbey Kimball hit back-to-back threes on fastbreaks, turning some of those turnovers into points on the other end. 

“Your defense affects your offense, you don’t get to just be a one-way player… when we are getting stops and forcing turnovers, our offense is better,” Fralick said.

In their best effort to get back in the game, the Boilermakers came out in a full-court trap defense, forcing a timeout and a turnover on their first two possessions in the new defensive set.

Michigan State briefly lost their dominant force in the paint as Julia Ayrault exited the game with an apparent lower-body injury halfway through the third quarter. However, the Spartan offense did not skip a beat as Tory Ozment stepped up and caught fire with 15 of her 23 points in the third quarter alone. 

“I was really proud of the way she was posting; she did a good job of getting the ball and finishing inside… Tory was electric tonight,” Fralick complimented. “We knew we were going to have to fight and battle and be feisty early, and I thought she did a great job at that.”

The Spartans entered the fourth quarter up 24 points, and they hung on to a double-digit lead for the remainder of the contest despite some late offensive bursts from the Boilermakers. 

Michigan State sophomore guard Theryn Hallock made sure things didn’t slip away as she went a perfect six for six from the floor in the fourth, scoring 16 of her career-high 24 points in the final quarter. 

The Wednesday night victory put Michigan State back in the win column after last Saturday’s loss at Minnesota and gives them some much-needed momentum as coach Fralick gets her first taste of the Michigan vs. Michigan State rivalry this weekend. 

“I love rivalries… I sometimes think people make up rivalries, but this is a real state rivalry, so I’ll be excited for it,” Fralick said.

The Michigan Wolverines will travel to the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Alumni Day this Saturday, Jan. 27, at 12 pm.

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