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No. 23 Spartans defeats no. 18 Minnesota after tough stretch

Women’s basketball has blowout game against Minnesota after losing two of the last three games.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Indiana vs Michigan State Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

After a tough three-game stretch that included two on-the-road loses, the Michigan State Spartans blew past the Minnesota Gophers, 86-68.

Before losing to Northwestern on Jan. 3 and then Indiana three days later, MSU was on an eight game winning streak, the longest since winning eight games straight in the 2012-13 season. Head coach Suzy Merchant credits Wednesday night’s win to better defensive play and sharing the ball more. Michigan State held Minnesota to only 55 attempted shots with 19 turnovers. The team collectively racked up 28 assist on 35 baskets made.

“We looked at ourselves a little bit and took some ownership,” said Merchant. “I thought we were prepared for the other games but our energy wasn’t good, their competitiveness wasn’t there… so our team just needs to make sure we’re practicing at the level we need to.”

The Spartans had four players that scored in the double digits. Sophomore forward Sydney Cooks came off the bench and led the team in scoring with 21 points in almost 21 minutes. Freshman guard, Nia Clouden followed behind with 15 points.

“Coming off two loses that was tough for us and we know we’re such a good team we just had to connect it so I just wanted to be mentally focused for this game,” said Cooks.

Michigan State will hit the road again to play Ohio State on Jan. 14. The Spartans are now 12-3 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten.