The Michigan State women's basketball team battles back, wins Big Ten Conference opener at Penn State, 67-60, today at Bryce Jordan Arena. Trailing, 51-43 with 9:23 remaining, the Spartans closed the game on a 24-9 run, including the last seven points, for their first road win of the season. MSU, now 8-4 overall, has won five of its last six Big Ten openers.
Junior Allyssa DeHaan led the way with 14 points, a season-high nine rebounds and three blocks, while redshirt senior Mia Johnson and redshirt junior Aisha Jefferson added 11 apiece. The Spartans are now 5-0 this season and 15-1 overall when both DeHaan and Jefferson score in double-figures. Sophomore Brittney Thomas led the team in assists for the seventh time in 10 games, tying her career-high with eight, while playing a season-best 38 minutes. Redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson tallied a career-best nine points for the bench for the Spartans.
Michigan State opened the game with the first eight points, holding Penn State scoreless for the first 3:38. The Nittany Lions responded with 11 unanswered of their own, until a Kalisha Keane layup brought the score to 11-10 with 11:58 on the clock. PSU would stretch its lead out to 16-12, but MSU would run off 10-straight, capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from Mia Johnson, over a span of 3:15 to take a 22-16 with 5:50 left. The streaky half continued as Penn State matched the Spartans' 10-0 run with one of its own, going up 28-24 with 2:07 left. A pair of 3-pointers from Lykendra and Mia Johnson gave MSU back the lead (30-28), but two layups from PSU's Tyra Grant in the final minute, including one as time expired, gave PSU a 32-30 advantage going into the break. MSU had 10 turnovers in the first eight minutes of the first half, but closed the final 12 minutes with only two.