EAST LANSING — When it comes to playing rivalry games, records don’t seem to matter.

Boasting its best start in program history, the Michigan women’s basketball team came into the Breslin Center hoping to extend its record to an impressive 13-2.

But Michigan State and its 9-5 record — regarded as an underachievement compared to past seasons — wasn’t going to win on talent alone like in years past.

So the Spartans stole it for themselves.

Michigan State went on a 10-2 run to go up by 4 with 13:33 left in the game, while Michigan broke down offensively. The Wolverines committed four turnovers in the four-minute stretch and came up empty from behind the three-point line, giving the Spartans all the momentum they needed. They went on to win, 60-55.

To Michigan coach Kevin Borseth, that sequence was the game’s deciding factor.

“We turned the ball over and they hit shots,” Borseth said. “That was the game. That was the whole game, that stretch right there. Had we been able to answer, have some fluidity to our game during that stretch right there, it would have been a different outcome.

“We turned the ball over, they came back with a couple of shots and I thought that was the swaying difference.”

The Wolverines’ struggles during those four minutes continued for the rest of the second half. Michigan committed 12 turnovers, leading to 15 Michigan State points. Though the Spartans had more turnovers, recording 18, the Wolverines struggled to convert their opportunities into points and momentum.

Michigan shot just 38 percent from the floor, and junior forward Rachel Sheffer was the only Wolverine with a hot hand. Sheffer scored a game-high 20 points, while senior guard Courtney Boylan added 11. Michigan’s bench was nowhere to be found, scoring just 14 points — the Spartan substitutes scored 25.

Michigan State’s size advantage in the post gave the Wolverines some issues as well. Sheffer was in foul trouble for most of the game, while her backups — redshirt sophomore forward Kendra Seto and junior forward Sam Arnold — struggled to match up against the Spartans’ stronger, tougher interior players.

“You can’t afford not to be tough in a game like this, especially when you’re going to the basket,” Borseth said. “We had a lot of opportunities down inside that lane.”

Michigan State’s dominance inside wasn’t obvious from the final points-in-the-paint totals — Michigan was outscored by just six points, 30-24. But all night long, the Spartans dominated the boards, winning the rebounding battle, 44-29. The Wolverines were especially hurt by Michigan State’s second-chance opportunities. The Spartans pulled down 14 offensive rebounds, leading to 10 points.

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