The Michigan women’s basketball team was determined not to
repeat the 34-point loss it endured to Michigan State in the
Breslin Center earlier this season. But while everything seemed so
different for much of the game, it all ended up the same.

Laura Wong
Gandy reaches for a discouraged Tabitha Pool after falling behind in the second half. (DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily)

The Wolverines surrendered a 17-point first-half lead and the
Spartans grabbed a 59-54 win in front of a record crowd of 4,611 at
Crisler Arena last night

“Maybe we can call this a rivalry now,” Michigan
coach Cheryl Burnett said. “One thing we talked about besides
the X’s and O’s adjustments is that you have to play
hard against Michigan State because they play hard.”

Michigan (4-8 Big Ten, 11-14 overall) carried a 13-point lead
into halftime, but allowed No. 17 Michigan State (9-3, 19-4) to
chip away the entire second half. The Wolverines made things very
easy for the Spartans down the home stretch when they failed to
score a single point after a pair of free throws by freshman guard
Kelly Helvey gave Michigan a 54-48 lead with 4:40 remaining.

The Spartans took advantage of the Wolverine scoring woes by
going on a 9-0 run in the next 1:48. A turnaround jumper from
forward Liz Shimek capped off the run, but the exclamation point
came off a possession earlier from guard Kristin Haynie. The junior
nailed a 3-pointer with 3:09 left on the clock, giving the Spartans
their first lead of the game at 55-54. The bucket turned out to be
the game-winner.

“She’s a dagger girl,” Michigan State coach
Joanne P. McCallie said. “If you’ve followed our team
at all, Haynie has always put the painful one into other
opponents.”

Haynie’s play represented Michigan State’s entire
game in a nutshell. She shot 0-for-8 from the field in the first
half, mirroring the Spartans’ miserable display of 25-percent
shooting in the opening frame. Haynie made her shot when it
counted, though, finishing the game with 3 points while shooting
1-for-10 from the field.

Guard Lindsay Bowen did most of the damage for Michigan State in
the second half. Fourteen of her game-high 17 points came in the
second half. Most of her buckets came right after conversions on
the other side of the court by the Wolverines, who were desperately
trying to hold off a suddenly fervent Michigan State squad.

“In the first half, we didn’t come out fighting or
focused,” Bowen said. “We were really getting onto each
other about being blue-collar and fighting through this to stay
together. In the second half I think we did that.”

Michigan pulled out to as much as a 17-point lead before taking
a 33-20 lead to the lockerroom at break.

Senior forward Stephanie Gandy came out fired up and on fire,
scoring 15 of her 17 points in the first half.

She got a little help from junior forward Tabitha Pool, who was
perfect from the field in the first half on 4-for-4 shooting,
including two from downtown.

Behind a noisy crowd by Crisler Arena terms, Michigan jumped out
to an early 14-4 lead and was able to add to the cushion until
halftime.

The first-half play of center Kelli Roehrig may have been the
only thing that kept the Spartans in the game. The 6-foot-4 Roehrig
cleaned up on the offensive boards, scoring 6 of her 10 first-half
points off of offensive rebounds.

She also shut down senior center Jennifer Smith, who shot
2-for-11 in the first half. Smith finished with 15 points, more
than six below her average.

All five of Michigan’s starters played at least 33
minutes, while both Gandy and Smith played a full 40. Michigan
State, on the other hand, had only two players play more than 30
minutes, and had seven players log at least 10.

“When we’re having five players play an incredible
amount of minutes with the depth that Michigan State has, I just am
proud of our kids for playing so hard so long,” Burnett
said.

Michigan’s schedule doesn’t get any easier, as it
travels to State College to take on No. 8 Penn State on Sunday.

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