Spartans collect 60 rebounds, still fall to No. 17 Ohio State 61-55 on Senior Day


MSU forward Matilda Ekh calls out a play while dribbling during the Spartans 75-60 win over Illinois on Dec. 9, 2021/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Marin Klein, Women's Basketball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING, Mich — It’s not often you see a team grab more rebounds than points scored over the course of a game.

You also don’t normally see a team outbound its opponent by 22, including 14 on the offensive glass, and still lose.

MSU forward Isaline Alexander (12) calls for the ball as Tamara Farquhar (2) attempts a jumper in the Spartans’ 65-46 win over Northwestern on Jan. 16, 2022/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

But that’s exactly what happened in Michigan State’s 61-55 home loss to No. 17 Ohio State on Sunday afternoon.

Despite a 22-rebound performance from senior Tamara Farquhar, Michigan State couldn’t overcome a 16-for-64 shooting performance en route to its third loss in a row. The Spartans, who outrebounded the Buckeyes 60-38, didn’t shoot 30% from the floor in any quarter.

Senior guard Nia Clouden led the Spartans with 22 points, but struggled mightily from the floor, only going 4-for-21. She did make all 10 free throws she attempted. Freshmen Matilda Ekh and Deedee Hagemann combined to go 2-for-20 from the floor with eight points. Ekh also missed all nine 3-pointers she tried.

With the loss, the Spartans dropped to 14-14 on the season and 8-9 in Big Ten play. They will take on Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday, March 3 as the No. 8 seed. It was also MSU’s ninth loss this season by 10 or fewer points.

As part of the annual collegiate tradition of having the last home game of the season be “Senior Day,” the Spartans started senior guard Nia Clouden alongside forwards Laurel Jacqmain, Tamara Farquhar and Alisia Smith. It was the first start of Jacqmain’s career.

MSU, who only shot 25% from the floor overall, found themselves down 22-15 at the end of one after shooting 6-for-18 from the floor. Ohio State, meanwhile, shot 53% from the floor and 3-for-5 from 3-point range. Guard Taylor Mikesell helped kickstart the Buckeye offense; she leads the league in made 3-pointers per game, 3-point percentage, and 3 three-pointers made.

MSU guard Deedee Hagemann warms up before the Spartans take on Indiana on Feb. 12, 2022/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

The second quarter saw both teams going on mini scoring spurts, but the Spartans once again struggled to get anything going in the half-court offense. In the quarter, MSU shot a measly 2-for-14 from the floor. Nine second-quarter free throws, mainly spurred by Clouden, helped keep it in the game.

OSU didn’t fare much better in the second, only going 3-for-14 from the floor. After starting off red hot from deep, the Buckeyes missed all five 3-point attempts in the second and held a narrow 32-29 lead at the break.

True to form, both teams came out of the intermission in an offensive slog. The first points of the quarter for either team came from Farquhar after both teams went the first two minutes without scoring.

As the quarter wore on, the Spartans managed to tie the score at 39. After an OSU foul, Clouden got two points in for the Spartans to give them a 41-39 lead with just under two minutes left. The Buckeyes would end the quarter on a 5-0 run that included a Kateri Poole buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

MSU guard Nia Clouden looks for an open teammate vs. Ohio State in 2019/ Photo Credit: Ian Gilmour/ WDBM

Both teams shot below 30% from the floor in the third quarter; Poole’s 3-point shot was the only successful attempt in the entire quarter for either team.

The back-and-forth seesaw affair continued in the fourth as the Spartans kept themselves in the game with free throw makes and offensive rebounds. However, despite 21 made free throws overall, another stone-cold shooting performance in the final quarter (3-for-15) eventually doomed the Spartans to their third consecutive loss. Other than Clouden, only Farquhar (10) and Taiyier Parks (15) scored in double figures for MSU.

The Spartans also gained 24 offensive rebounds, to Ohio State’s 10, but only went 2-for-15 from 3-point range. OSU finished the game with an equally paltry 22-for-63 overall mark from the floor.

MSU will now have four days to regroup before taking on Purdue as the No. 8 seed in the Big Ten tournament. It is a rematch of the 2020 Big Ten tournament where the Spartans, as the No. 8 seed, fell to Purdue 72-63 in the first round.