Two Second Half Runs Push Penn State Past Spartans, 69-57

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - A pair of extended second half runs propelled Penn State to a 69-57 victory over the Michigan State women's basketball team this afternoon at the Breslin Center. The Spartans, who fall to 9-7 overall and 1-3 in the Big Ten, were led by sophomore Allyssa DeHaan's fourth double-double of the season and 11th of her career. DeHaan totaled 14 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks. PSU improves to 11-4 overall and 2-1 in conference play.

The crowd of 11,245, the sixth largest total in MSU women's basketball history, saw an evenly played first half, as the Nittany Lions held a 37-36 advantage, but the visitors came out of the locker room strong to take control of the game. After a DeHaan jumper gave the Spartans back the lead at 38-37 in the second half's first minute, PSU ran off eight unanswered points over the next 3:58 to open up a 45-40 lead it would not relinquish.

Michigan State would get within two on a pair of occasions, the last coming after a Lauren Aitch layup with 11:41 remaining in regulation moved the score to 49-47. However, the Spartans would make only one field goal over the next 7:22, allowing the Nittany Lions to go on another prolonged run, this time 14-4, to put the game out of reach at 63-51 with five and a half minutes remaining. Penn State hit six of its final seven free throws in the game's last three minutes to seal the win.

Despite shooting 58 percent (15-for-26) from the field in the first 20 minutes, the Spartans went to the break down a point. Penn State held the lead until a 3-pointer by freshman Cetera Washington with 7:31 left put MSU ahead 27-26, its first lead since 2-0. After a fall-away jumper by Tyra Grant on the next possession regained the lead for the Nittany Lions, DeHaan's put back at 6:44 made the PSU lead short-lived. The Spartan lead would grow to three (31-28) with just under five minutes remaining, however, sloppy play to end the half - eight turnovers in the final six minutes - cost the Spartans a chance to take the lead into the intermission. PSU hit four of its final six shots from the field in the final 3:38 to close out the first half with the edge.

Penn State was led by a career-high 23 points by Brianne O'Rourke, who also added six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Mashea Williams and Grant were also in double-figures, chipping in 18 and 13, respectively. Williams also led the Nittany Lions with seven assists.

Freshman Brittany Thomas was second on the team in scoring with 12 points, while adding six rebounds and six assists. Aitch chipped in 10 points off the bench in the loss. The Spartans were held to 27 percent (8-for-30) shooting from the field in the second half, including an 0-for-8 effort from behind the arc, after shooting 57.7 percent figure in the first half. MSU did win the rebounding battle (40-36) for the third-straight game.

The Spartans remain home for a 8 p.m. tip off against Iowa on Thursday, Jan. 10. The game can be seen live on the Big Ten Network.

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