It’s hard to find much criticism in this one as the Michigan State women’s basketball team opened early conference action with an 81-68 win at the Barn over Minnesota. The Spartans generally dominated in this one in all aspects of the game, starting with a 16-0 run in the first quarter.
MSU was led by Nia Clouden’s 25 points, 14 of which came in the first quarter as the junior went five-for-five on field goals. The preseason hype is proving accurate so far as she is averaging 18.3 points, 5.3 assists, and 2.7 rebounds on the season. Alyza Winston was second for the team in scoring with 20
The first quarter was a one-sided battle for the most part as MSU forced nine turnovers by the Gophers that led to 10 points for the Spartans. A 16-0 run helped set MSU up for a 20-11 lead at the end of the first. MSU kept up the defensive pressure with another six turnovers in the second quarter, and the duo of Alyza Winston and Tory Ozment went six-for-10 from three-point range to help Michigan State head into the locker room at the half with a 20-point lead, 43-23. Clouden, meanwhile, finished the half with 18 points and missed just one shot.
Minnesota did manage to cut the lead down in the second half after cutting out their turnover issues. However, MSU hindered their efforts by making sure the Gophers’ leading scorer fouled out early in the fourth quarter as Mardrekia Cook drew a charge on Jasmine Powell and she had to head to the bench for the remainder of the game. Minnesota focused defensively on Clouden in the second half, but were stymied by other Spartans stepping up to fill in the scoring gap. Defensively the Spartans also made sure to get enough stops to keep the Gophers out of reach.
Overall, Michigan State had just one block but managed 17 steals. The Spartans outrebounded the Gophers 40-36, and shot 43.2 percent from field goal range. MSU moves to 3-0 on the season and 1-0 in Big Ten play. The team next sees action against Iowa Saturday at 1 p.m. EST on BTN+.