FINAL: Michigan State 86, Delaware State 37


Kamaria McDaniel goes through defenders to shoot the ball during Michigan State’s victory over Delaware State. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Allie Cohen, Women's Basketball Beat Reporter

The Michigan State women’s basketball team played its first game of the 2022-23 season against the Delaware State Hornets. The Spartans dominated the court and won 86-37, starting the season with a strong win. 

Four Spartans had double-digit scoring. Junior guard Gabby Elliott led the team with 14 points, six rebounds, and two assists.  This year’s team has significantly improved its depth, unlike last season where the team dealt with injuries and transfers. Every player on the roster registered minutes against the Hornets except freshman Abbey Kimball, who is out with an illness.  

“The depth is something people have to buy into. People need to be okay with the fact that they might only play 20-25 minutes a game because it’ll help in the long run,” said head coach Suzy Merchant. “If we can keep people near that 20-minute mark as we go down the line with six games in 12 days, it will be helpful to keep the team fresh. 

Similar to their exhibition game against Saginaw Valley State University, MSU started the game slow offensively, only shooting 7-20 from the field in the first quarter. Despite the sluggish start from the Spartans, the Hornets trailed the entire game.

DSU guard Alexis Moragne scored the first points for the Hornets six minutes into the quarter. Michigan State forced seven turnovers and played well defensively. Michigan State took the first quarter with a 16-6 lead.

The Spartans’ offensive struggles continued in the second quarter. No shots were successfully made until there was 7:30 left in the second quarter, where MSU went on a run while DSU went on a three-minute scoring drought, that included four turnovers in under two minutes. 

“Everyone just sees the games, but we battle in practice,” said Merchant. “We have player efficiency ratings, we look at how they affect gameplay, and who’s earned the opportunity to get out there when it’s really time to play.” 

Michigan State went into halftime with a 39-19 lead. 

In the second half, MSU made five more 3-point pointers in addition to the five they made in the first half. 

Towards the end of the third quarter, Julia Ayrault stepped on the court after not being able to once last year due to injury and had a successful layup after forcing a turnover. The Spartans struggled to keep the ball. They finished the game with 26 turnovers.

The Spartans ended with  53 points from the bench, 13 coming from Moira Joiner, who had three 3-pointers, two rebounds, and two steals.   

Michigan State will host Purdue Fort Wayne on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m