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Michigan State women’s basketball defeats Delaware State 86-37 in season opener

2022 Women’s Big Ten Tournament - Michigan State v Ohio State Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

The Michigan State Spartans women’s basketball team opened its 50th season Monday afternoon at the Breslin Center with an 86-37 victory over the Delaware State Hornets. It moves MSU to 3-0 all-time against Delaware State. The Spartans last played the Hornets at the Breslin Center in 2008, winning 71-41. A matchup in Dover in 2007 saw the Spartans win 65-62.

Michigan State moves to 35-15 in season openers with the win, while head coach Suzy Merchant is now 13-3 in season openers at MSU and has won 19 of her last 21.

The Spartan women competed in front of local students as part of Spartans School Day and celebrated the 50th season for the team and Title IX. Spartan Athletics honored select individual achievements as well as team milestones from the past half century to mark the signing of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 of the Civil Rights Act on June 23, 1972.

In her Spartan debut, following her transfer home from Clemson this offseason, junior guard Gabby Elliot led the team in scoring with 14 points, 11 of which came inside the arc. Graduate student guard Stephanie Visscher combined with Elliot for the team lead in rebounds with six apiece. Visscher led the team in free throw attempts with seven, but hit just three of them. She finished the game in double digits scoring with 12 points.

Senior guard Moira Joiner added 13 points, while senior forward Taiyier Parks added 10 points to round out double-digit scorers. DeeDee Hagemann led the team in assists with five, and she also tied for the team lead in steals with two. Elliot and Joiner also added two steals. Five different Spartans totaled a block apiece.

Michigan State scored first and never trailed in the game. The team struggled in the first quarter offensively, though. MSU went 0-for-8 from three-point range. The Spartans still finished the first quarter up 16-6.

Michigan State improved drastically over the final three quarters of the game, finishing 10-for-29 from three-point range and 31-for-64 from the field overall. The defense was also tight as the Spartans forced 26 turnovers by Delaware State and held the Hornets to just 30 percent from the floor.

Michigan State finished out the first half up 39-16. The Spartans outscored Delaware State 23-10 in the second quarter, but posted the largest scoring margin difference in the third quarter with a 25-11 advantage. MSU opened the third quarter on a 9-0 run and ended it on a 6-0 run that would have been a larger margin if it wasn’t for a missed free three and two missed three-pointers in the final two minutes.

Michigan State closed the out the final quarter with a 22-10 scoring advantage to finish with the 86-37 victory.

Michigan State returns to the Breslin Center on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time. The Spartans will take on Purdue Fort Wayne with the game available to stream on B1G+.