The Michigan State Spartans women’t basketball team moved to 4-0 on the season this afternoon, concluding a four-game homestand against Bryant in style. Michigan State’s 100-60 victory over the Bulldogs also marked head coach Suzy Merchant’s 300th career win at the helm in East Lansing, after she hit her 500th career win overall as a head coach on Tuesday night. It also marks the fourth time in the past five seasons MSU has opened the season 4-0, and seven out of the last 10 seasons.
Michigan State had a change to today’s starting lineup, as junior guard Moira Joiner remained on the bench in warmups following an ugly fall Tuesday night against Valparaiso in the closing moments. The roster is already shorthanded due to Tory Ozment and Julia Ayrault’s season ending injuries during the preseason.
The Spartans jumped out to an early lead in this one, outscoring the Bulldogs 27-17 in the first quarter, and then headed into the locker room up 59-34 at halftime. Bryant did make it tough early on, however. The Spartans needed a 7-0 run after the six-minute mark in the first quarter, and another 6-0 run in the second quarter after the Bulldogs trimmed the lead to just four points.
Coming out of the locker room, though, MSU continued the late first half run, starting out the half on a 17-0 run before Bryant stopped the bleeding with a free throw. Then in the fourth quarter, Michigan State went on another 11-0 run at one point, while holding the Bulldogs to just six points in the final quarter of play.
Junior guard Alyza Winston reached double-figures for the fourth-straight game with 16 points, hitting her 19th career game in double-digits. Senior guard Nia Clouden led the team, while scoring a season-high 21 points and adding eight assists and two steals. Friday’s contest marks Clouden’s 75th career game scoring in double-figures, as she is averaging 16.5 points and 6.0 assists per game.
Suzy Merchant, in her 15th season at the helm in East Lansing, reached the 300-win mark for the Spartans today. She now holds a 300-187 record at Michigan State. Karen Langeland is the all-time leader in wins at MSU with a 376-290 record. However, Merchant is just 12 wins away from tying Langeland’s 156 Big Ten wins by a MSU coach.
Michigan State next hits the road for three-straight games. The Spartans begin the road trip at Fordham on Sunday, Nov. 21 at 2 p.m.