The Michigan State Spartans women’s basketball team hit the road on Thursday night with a visit to State College to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions. MSU left Happy Valley with the team’s first road win outside of the state of Michigan this season, downing the Lady Lions 79-58.
The Spartans featured a well-rounded attack on offense with five players scoring in double figures. Senior guard Nia Clouden led the team with 16 points and was in a five-way tie for the team-high in steals with one. Clouden also added a block and four assists. Junior forward Taiyier Parks and freshman guard/forward Matilda Ekh were second on the team in scoring with 15 points each, while Parks led the team in blocks with three.
Freshman point guard DeeDee Hagemann added 13 points along with a team-high nine assists, while graduate student and forward Alisia Smith added 12 points. Graduate student Tamara Farquhar led the team on the glass with 14 rebounds. As a team, Michigan State shot 50 percent from deep, going 10-for-20 from three-point range. MSU also out-rebounded Penn State 45-18, scoring 20 second chance points.
The Spartans got off to a slow start on the road. The Lady Lions scored the first five points before Farquhar made a layup just under two minutes into the game to get MSU on the scoreboard. Penn State kept the lead through the first half of the first period, however. That was until Hagemann sunk a three-pointer at the 5:!5 mark to tie it up.
Clouden made another one on a fast break with 4:55 to go, and the Spartans never looked back in terms of holding the lead. Michigan State would end the period leading 18-11.
The second period saw PSU make a run at the midway point, cutting Michigan State’s lead to just two points on a layup by Ali Brigham with 4:24 left to make the score 27-25. The Spartans answered with a 9-0 run, capped off by a Parks jumper with 1:39 left to take the lead 36-25. Michigan State ended the first half leading 38-29.
Penn State refused to go quietly in the first half of the third quarter. The Lady Lions cut the lead to within four points twice, and PSU even had the deficit within five at the 4:55 mark, trailing 44-39. However, Michigan State went on a 17-4 run to close out the period, finishing the third quarter leading 61-43.
The final quarter was much the same of the third quarter for Michigan State. The Spartans continued to lead by double-digits throughout. Penn State cut it to within 12 points at the 4:31 mark on a pair of free throws by Marisa Makenna, but Michigan State responded with a 4-0 run. The Spartans would close out the game on a fast-break layup by Farquhar with nine seconds left to leave Happy Valley with a 21-point victory.
The Spartans move to 11-8 overall on the season with the win, and 5-3 in Big Ten action. Michigan State closes out a two-game road trip with a visit to Rutgers on Sunday at 2 p.m. EST. The game will stream on B1G+.