Michigan State Women Drops In-State Battle to Michigan

Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant gestures from courtside in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Senior guard Taryn McCutcheon scored a season-high 23 points, but the Michigan State women's basketball team was topped by Michigan 89-69 at the Crisler Center on Sunday afternoon. A tough fourth quarter lifted the Wolverines past the Spartans.

Michigan State falls to 8-6 overall and 1-2 in Big Ten play, while Michigan improves to 11-3 overall and 2-1 in league contests.

McCutcheon's 23 points were just shy of her career-high 25 points against Maryland on Jan. 11, 2018. Redshirt-junior forward Mardrekia Cook also reached double figures in scoring with a season-high 13 points off the bench. For only the second time this season, sophomore guard Nia Clouden did not reach double figures in scoring with only eight points due to early foul trouble.

Michigan had two 20-point scorers, with Amy Dilk leading the way with 23, while Naz Hillmon scored 21 points with 12 rebounds.

Clouden was called for two quick fouls in the first quarter, but the Spartans still jumped out to an early 8-5 lead. The Wolverines responded to and took a 18-15 lead with under two minutes left in the first quarter. With three lead changes in the first period, Michigan was up 20-17 after the first 10 minutes.

Michigan State scored five of the first seven points of the second quarter to tie the score, 22-22. With turnovers mounting up for the Spartans, the Wolverines extended its lead to 29-24 midway through the period. MSU made five of its last seven field goals, but nine first-half turnovers prevented the Spartans from taking the lead. At the half, the Wolverines held the slight advantage, 35-32.

Both teams came out hot after the break, but the Spartans could not find a way to stop Hillmon, who scored eight points in the third quarter. Despite the Spartans making five-straight field goals, U-M led 56-50 with under three minutes left in the quarter. After a pair of Alyza Winston free throws, Michigan State was able to close the game to 60-59, but would not be able to get any closer.

The Wolverines broke the game open in the fourth quarter, taking a 72-59 after a Hillmon layup. Michigan scored the first 16 points of the period to take control for good. U-M out-scored the Spartans 16-10 in the final 10 minutes.

Michigan State remains on the road, taking on Penn State on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m.