Spartans Beat Michigan For A 12th Straight Time

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State senior Courtney Schiffauer stood in the middle of her teammates -- shouting at them in a way that would make Ray Lewis proud -- before they stepped on the court to face rival Michigan.
"This is our state!" Schiffauer screamed.
In women's basketball, yes it is.
Becca Mills provided a lift with 12 points off the bench and Schiffauer provided passion along with nine points and nine rebounds to help the Spartans beat the Wolverines 61-46 Monday night.
Michigan State has won 12 straight in the series and 20 of the last 21 matchups, a stretch of dominance that is very important to the Spartans.
"That's huge," said junior guard Klarissa Bell, who had nine points and four assists. "They have a really good team this year with five seniors.
"When we go to Michigan, we're going to steal another one for our seniors and hopefully next year it happens all again."
The Spartans (18-4, 6-3 Big Ten) took control in their latest win with an 18-2 run that started late in the first half and ended later in the second. After being down by four points in the first half, they led 54-33 with 8-plus minutes left in the game.
"We did a nice job of getting stops and pushing in transition," Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant said. "They were tired. They play a lot of their key players a lot of minutes."
One of those players for the Wolverines (16-6, 5-4) is their leading scorer, Kate Thompson, who entered the game averaging 15-plus points.
Thompson, playing 38 of 40 minutes, made just 3 of 12 shots and had to finish with a flurry of scoring to have 10 points. Nya Jordan led Michigan with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Rachel Sheffer scored 12.
"Michigan State really wore us down in the second half," Wolverines coach Kim Barnes Arico said. "They were very physical."
The Wolverines, though, started strong and didn't trail until midway through the first half.
Bell broke a 20-all tie with 2:04 left in the first half to give Michigan State the lead for good. The Spartans led 38-22 with 17:11 left and kept a comfortable cushion at the Breslin Center, where they haven't lost to Michigan since 2001.
"Michigan State is the program that sets the bar in the state of Michigan," said Barnes Arico, who came to the Wolverines this season from St. John's. "They have a great fan base, they have a great program and they have a rich tradition. And, they win."
Both teams were ranked in The Associated Press poll earlier this season -- a first for Michigan in a decade -- but Schiffauer was determined to inspire her teammates to send a message that the Spartans are still the team to beat in the rivalry.
"Schiff gets everybody pumped," Bell said.

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