IOWA CITY, Iowa - In front of over 13,000 fans, the Michigan State women's basketball team fought hard but was stopped by No. 19/21 Iowa, 74-57, in Iowa City on Sunday. It was a close battle until the fourth quarter when the Hawkeyes out-scored the Spartans, 28-9, and pulled away for the win.
Prior to the game, MSU head coach Suzy Merchant honored Iowa's Kathleen Doyle, who Merchant coached in the Pan Am Games over the summer.
Michigan State falls to 11-9 overall and 4-5 in Big Ten games, losing two-straight games. Iowa improves to 17-3 overall and now stands atop the Big Ten standings with an 8-1 record. Sunday was the Hawkeyes' 32nd-straight home win, the second-longest active streak in the country.
The Spartans had two players in double figures led by senior guard Taryn McCutcheon who scored 12 points, despite continuing to play with a fractured finger. Sophomore guard Nia Clouden added 10 points for the Spartans. Sophomore forward Kayla Belles was the leader on the boards with seven, while senior forward Nia Hollie added six.
McKenna Warnock led Iowa with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Doyle added 20.
Doyle scored the first six points for the Hawkeyes as the jumped out to an early 6-2 lead. Iowa's hot streak turned into a 10-0 run and a 10-2 lead. A Mardrekia Cook steal and a layup stopped the run as MSU got back on track. The Spartans used a 6-0 run to trim the Iowa lead to 12-10 with under two minutes remaining in the opening quarter. Michigan State was active on the defensive end forcing six turnovers and earning four steals.
After Michigan State took a brief lead, Iowa used a 7-0 run to take a 21-16 lead. The second quarter belonged to McCutcheon, scoring eight of the Spartans' 18 points. Michigan State nailed 4-of-5 to end the quarter to trail by only two at the half, 33-31.
The first six points of the third went to MSU as it tool a 37-33 lead. Iowa re-took the lead at 43-42 after an Amanda Ollinger layup midway through the quarter. The Spartans then held the Hawkeyes without a field goal for over five minutes to go up 47-45 with under two minutes remaining in the period.
After a slow start to the fourth quarter, Doyle tied the game with the first bucket of the stanza with 6:40 remaining in the game. The Hawkeyes looked to close out the game with a 6-0 run to take a six-point lead, 59-53 at the 3:29 mark. Iowa closed out the game on 15-2 run to secure the win.
The Spartans return home to the friendly confines of the Breslin Center to take on Purdue on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m.