Spartan Women Fall At Purdue

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Purdue never gave Michigan State time to find its shot.
FahKara Malone and Lakisha Freeman scored 16 points apiece and the Boilermakers used their speed and great defensive pressure at the start of each half to beat cold-shooting Michigan State 69-59 on Sunday.
"We knew we needed to get out and run as often as possible, and we started out early so we all knew we could do that," Malone said. "We just wanted to attack them offensively, defensively, the best that we could.
"We managed to get in the open court, and we do well in the open court," she said.
The Boilermakers (15-13, 11-6 Big Ten), coming off a 72-36 loss at Michigan, raced to a 15-point lead midway through the first half, held off a brief comeback early in the second period and stayed in front the rest of the way to snap a four-game winning streak by the Spartans (17-12, 9-8).
"The kids regrouped very well," Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said.
"We played more zone this time," she said of the rematch with the Spartans. "We tried to frustrate them a little bit, have them shoot the outside shot. They're a very good team ... the first time we played them, we had our opportunities but they were able to knock down some shots there. We needed to make sure that didn't happen here."
Michigan State, which started its winning streak with a 2-point victory over Purdue in East Lansing two weeks ago, managed only one field goal in its first 15 attempts over the first 10 minutes this time. Then, after cutting Purdue's lead to five points early in the second half, the Spartans went another eight minutes and 10 attempts without a field goal.
Purdue took its biggest lead at 66-47 and Michigan State never came closer than 10 after that.
"It was really frustrating," Spartans coach Suzy Merchant said.
"They were certainly more a focused team after what happened to them at Michigan. They were definitely a different team," she said. "It's hard to win anyway; it's hard to win on the road when you're 1-for-15, 1-for-10. We were getting good looks; they weren't falling."
Kalika France added 14 points for Purdue. Kalisha Keane led Michigan State with 18 points and Allyssa DeHaan added 15.
Both teams finish the regular season against Illinois, with Michigan State hosting the Illini on Thursday and Purdue visiting them next Sunday. The Big Ten tournament starts March 6 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Three early baskets by Freeman, four straight free throws by Danielle Campbell and a 3-point basket by Natasha Bogdanova helped Purdue to an 18-4 lead. Then, after a basket by Keane, just the second in Michigan State's first 15 attempts, a fast-break layup and free throw by Malone gave the Boilermakers their biggest lead of the first half at 21-6.
The Spartans' shooting started to improve, and a 10-2 run cut Purdue's lead to 23-16 before a 3-pointer by Malone and a basket and free throw by Keshia Mosley.
Purdue took a 33-25 lead at halftime. A 3-pointer by Mia Johnson helped bring Michigan State within five early in the second half before Purdue pulled away for good. The Spartans finished with 35 percent shooting.
Led by Freeman with nine rebounds, Purdue also dominated the boards 42-24.
"We just didn't have the focus," Merchant said. "I don't think we had anybody with any toughness about them today."

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