EAST LANSING, Mich. - Four Spartans scored in double figures, led by junior Allyssa DeHaan’s game-high 17 points, as the Michigan State women’s basketball team extended its winning streak to three games with a 70-59 victory over Penn State before a crowd of 6,085 at the Breslin Center Sunday afternoon. The win gives the Spartans (12-6, 5-2) their first series sweep over the Nittany Lions (7-10, 2-5) in school history; MSU defeated Penn State on Dec. 21 in University Park, Pa., 67-60.
In addition to her 17 points, DeHaan collected six rebounds, was 5-for-5 from the free-throw line and 6-of-10 from the field. She scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the second half, as the Spartans outscored the Nittany Lions in the final 20 minutes, 38-29.
It was a balanced effort for Michigan State, as six players scored at least eight points. Sophomore Brittney Thomas scored a season-high 14 points and tied her career high with six free throws. Classmate Kalisha Keane had her best game of the conference season, chipping in 12 points, including two 3-pointers, to go along with a season-best six assists. Redshirt junior Lauren Aitch added 10 points and five rebounds, while redshirt freshman Lykendra Johnson scored eight points and recorded season highs in free throws (6) and assists (5). Redshirt junior Aisha Jefferson also poured in eight points for MSU.
The Spartans were extremely proficient in two areas of the game: passing and free-throw shooting. MSU dished out 20 assists for 23 of its field goals, and shot a season-high 92 percent from the charity stripe (22-of-24), including a perfect 14-of-14 in the second half.
Penn State led most of the first half, but never by more than six points. The Spartans regained the lead late in the half as Keane hit a 3-pointer with 1:37 left, putting MSU up, 29-28. Michigan State extended its margin to four at 32-28 as Thomas connected on a 3-point play, but PSU’s Mashea Williams made a layup right before the break to cut the lead to 32-30.
The Spartans came strong out of the gates in the second half, scoring the first eight points to open up a 40-30 lead, and never looked back. MSU led in double digits nearly the rest of the game, pushing its lead to as many as 18 points with a 61-43 advantage with 6:47 left. Penn State cut the lead to 11 points on two occasions in the closing minutes, but it was as close as the Nittany Lions would get in losing their third straight.
Penn State was led by Brianne O’Rourke, who was the lone Nittany Lion in double figures with 10 points. MSU held Tyra Grant, the Big Ten’s second-leading scorer with 19.3 points per game, to a season-low seven points.
Michigan State returns to action Thursday, Jan. 22 to face Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., at 8 p.m. ET.