EAST LANSING, Mich. – The 2012-13 season began on a high note for the Michigan State women’s basketball team, as the Spartans beat UT Arlington, 83-39 Sunday afternoon at Breslin Center. Five Spartans posted double digit scoring efforts, led by career high totals from juniors Klarissa Bell (19 points) and Annalise Pickrel (18).
Michigan State jumped on the Mavericks early on, opening a 17-2 lead in the first nine minutes, and held a double digit margin the rest of the way. The Spartans’ defense was on from the start, forcing seven of the 25 UTA turnovers in that opening run. MSU held the Mavericks to 31.4% shooting for the game, including a 2-for-11 (18.2%) effort from the 3-point line.
After taking a 36-18 lead into halftime, the Spartans opened the second half on 19-5 run in the first six and a half minutes and added another long run - 19-4 over six minutes – midway through the half to put the game away. The second run was highlighted by 3-pointers from Pickrel on three consecutive possessions. Michigan State shot 71.4% (20-for-28) in the second half, totaling 47 points in the final stanza.
Bell had an impressive stat line in the opener, leading the Spartans in points, rebounds, assists and steals. She tied her career high with 19 points, while adding eight rebounds, a career high six assists and three steals.
Making her first career start, Pickrel scored in double figures for just the third time in her career, surpassing her previous career high of 13 points set her freshman year vs. Detroit. She was 7-of-14 from the field, including a 4-for-7 effort from behind the arc, in just 27 minutes. Pickrel also added a career high four assists, without committing a turnover.
Joining Bell and Pickrel in double digits was senior Jasmine Thomas and sophomore Jasmine Hines with 11 apiece, and sophomore Becca Mills with 10.
The Spartans hit the road for the first time this season on Thursday, visiting Eastern Michigan for a 7 p.m. tip.