Despite the injury struggles of the season, Michigan State was able to start their four seniors tonight on senior night.
What was the result of this one? Utter. Dominance.
What a start for our SENIORS!!! MSU scores the first 11 points of the game!— Spartan Basketball (@MSU_WBasketball) March 1, 2020
MSU 11 pic.twitter.com/OoCemFXrxz
Michigan State jumped out to an 11-0 lead to start the game. Penn State managed to get on the board, but it was MSU in the lead 16-8 before both teams hit dry spells late in the first quarter. Taiyier Parks managed to push the lead out to 20-9 just before the close of the quarter to give MSU its first double-digit lead of the game.
What a pass and what a finish! Spartans take a double-digit lead! pic.twitter.com/oCPOZueksV— Spartan Basketball (@MSU_WBasketball) March 1, 2020
The second quarter saw the Spartans open with a six point run before Penn State responded with a nine point run of their own to bring the score to 26-18 MSU in the lead. It was a back and forth affair score-wise to close the first half with MSU in the lead at the buzzer 41-27.
Penn State came out hot in the second half, scoring 13 of the first 20 points of the third period. As the MSU offense began to heat up, the story quickly turned to senior guard Taryn McCutcheon. She tied the career assist record at Michigan State with a crisp pass to a wide-open Julie Ayrault with 1:09 remaining in the third quarter. With 40 seconds remaining, McCutcheon found fellow senior Hollie to pass former Spartan great and current assistant coach Kristin Haynie as the all-time assist leader at MSU. McCutcheon finished the game with nine total assists, bringing her career total to 577.
Over the final quarter, seven different Spartans scored. MSU maintained its double-digit advantage, despite being outscored in the final quarter by Penn State 28-25. Belles led the way with six points in the final 10 minutes. Freshman center Cydni Dodd put in a solid performance with four points and two rebounds in less than four minutes of action.
MSU has earned the No. 8 seed in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament, facing No. 9 Purdue on Thursday, March 5 at 12 p.m. The winner will take on top-seeded Maryland on Friday, March 6 at 12 p.m.