EAST LANSING – Having trouble communicating with his players at Michigan State Thursday, Michigan coach Kevin Borseth raised a clipboard over his head.

That may have been a bad idea.

Watching his team collapse down the stretch, Borseth called a timeout with 4:31 remaining. He slammed his clipboard to the floor, smashing it into pieces.

“I get through a couple each year,” Borseth said.

As the debris spread around the Wolverine bench, an appalled Breslin Center crowd booed resoundingly. But Borseth didn’t have a problem with that. He even has a philosophy.

“They paid money to get in,” Borseth said. “They can scream. That’s good for them. If they get a free ticket, then they can’t say anything.”

The 8,287 fans in attendance remained loud for the rest of the game.

The antics didn’t seem to inspire the Wolverines, as they continued their scoreless drought for three more minutes. But it was the spark Michigan State needed.

After the timeout, Michigan State sophomore Allyssa DeHaan blocked a Jessica Minnfield jumper. Then the Spartans went on a 7-0 run in just over two minutes, claiming their first lead since the first half.

Finding her way: Junior Stephany Skrba has seen her ups and downs off the bench this season.

After seeing ample playing time early in the season, she’s played just 12.2 minutes per game in the Big Ten season.

But she’s starting to find her way.

Borseth and the coaching staff have worked with Skrba to find her spot on the offensive end, developing a stronger inside-outside presence. She has particularly struggled with her ball control.

But in Thursday’s contest, she was key to extending Michigan’s lead to eight in the second half. She went eight-for-eight from the field, scoring eight points in each half.

Even more impressive was the fact she committed just one turnover in the game.

Yet in the final moments of Thursday’s game, she was on the bench.

“To put her in that environment after she’s starting to come around a little bit, I felt may be a bit much at this time,” Borseth said. “But certainly she has the ability to play in that stretch. We just have to make sure we have the right combination on the floor. And she could have been one of those kids.”

Borseth felt more comfortable putting those who have seen crunch time situations.

For Skrba, it’s just a matter of time.

First date: Tonight, Michigan meets Illinois for the first time this season in Ann Arbor.

That might be a good thing.

In their two previous games, the Wolverines lost to opponents they’ve seen earlier this year, both on the road.

Michigan fell 66-61 to Iowa and to 61-58 to Michigan State.

Borseth said he’s sure his team will have a considerable advantage at home.

“I think teams are 10 points better at home,” he said.

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