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MSU Women’s Basketball: Spartans fall to Maryland, Minnesota game preview

The Spartan women’s game at Indiana has been rescheduled for Feb. 12

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Michigan State Spartans women’s basketball team hosted the No. 17/14 Maryland Terrapins on Thursday night in East Lansing. The Spartans played tough, but fell in a close one. Maryland’s 67-62 victory snapped a four-game winning streak for Michigan State.

Senior guard Nia Clouden scored 18 second-half points, but it wasn’t enough for Michigan State to overcome the Terrapins. Clouden finished the game with 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Senior forward Alisia Smith scored 18 points, two shy of her career-high, grabbed eight rebounds, notched two blocks, and had two steals. Freshman guard/forward Matilda Ekh added 10 points to round out Spartans in double figures and grabbed seven rebounds.

Maryland’s Angel Reese, who was a high school teammate of Clouden’s at St. Frances Academy in the Johnston Square neighborhood of Baltimore, had the game-high 25 points to lead all scorers.

Maryland jumped out to a 13-7 lead by the mid-point of the first quarter before the Spartans could trim it to just 17-15 late in the period. Maryland finished the quarter up 21-15.

The Terps quickly pushed the lead out to 10 points on a pair for free throws by Reese, but Michigan State battled back. Despite both teams shooting poorly, just 26.7 percent in the period, the Spartans finished the half down just 32-25.

MSU came out strong to open the third quarter, mounting a quick 5-0 run and eventually cut the UMD lead to just 45-40 with 3:01 left in the period. Clouden scored 15 of Michigan State’s points in the third quarter, going 5-for-7 from three-point range.

The Spartans continued to battle hard to try and mount a comeback in the final quarter. MSU cut the deficit to five points again on a jumper by Tamara Farquhar with just under seven minutes left to make it 58-53. Michigan State even managed to cut it to just 62-60 on a Clouden three-pointer with 2:29 left. However, Maryland responded with Reese hitting clutch free throws down the stretch and left with a win.

The loss ended MSU’s longest winning streak since the 2015-2016 season. The Spartans moved to 12-9 overall on the season and 6-4 in Big Ten play.

Suzy Merchant’s Postgame Remarks

Nia Clouden’s Postgame Remarks

Alisa Smith’s Postgame Remarks

Minnesota Preview

The Spartans return to the road on Sunday to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The teams will play for the second time this season after Michigan State clinched a narrow 74-71 victory in East Lansing over the Gophers on Jan. 23.

Minnesota sits at 10-13 on the season as the Spartans arrive in Dinkytown, and are 3-8 in Big Ten action. Minnesota most recently fell 80-70 at Indiana on Feb. 3 in Bloomington.

Three players are averaging double figures for the Golden Gophers, led by Sara Scalia’s 16.5 points per game. Jasmine Powell was adding 12.4 points per game, but has left the team. In her absence, Deja Winters is averaging 11.4 points per game on the season and Kadi Sissoko adds 10.3 points per game. Scalia ranks 11th in the Big Ten in three-point percentage, averaging .420 per game. Winters is sixth in the league with a .421 percentage and Scalia ranks second in the Big Ten with 3.2 makes from behind the arc per game.

The Gophers are 10th in scoring in the conference, averaging 68.5 points per game while allowing 71.1 points per game.

Indiana Game Rescheduled

The Spartans’ game at Indiana has been rescheduled. Originally on the season schedule for Jan. 19, the game was postponed due to COVID-19 issues among the IU roster. Michigan State will now be making that trip to Bloomington next Saturday on Feb. 12.

The game is scheduled to tip off at 3 p.m. EST and will stream online on B1G+.

Nia Clouden added to the Dawn Staley Award late season watch list: