Dominant start to season continues for MSU women’s basketball


Sarah Smith

Head coach Suzy Merchant and her team stand for the national anthem. Photo credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Matt Merrifield, Women's Basketball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – Michigan State women’s basketball continued its hot start to the season Tuesday night with an 85-39 win over Oakland University. 

The Spartans are 4-0 on the year. MSU got off to a slow start but the Spartans’ tough defense propelled them to victory.

MSU head coach Suzy Merchant didn’t like the team’s slow start, but felt that the team improved as the game progressed.

“I thought it was a little bit of a slow start,” Merchant said. “I thought there were some good things for sure that we worked out over time.”

The slow start allowed the Golden Grizzlies to keep it close in the first quarter until MSU went on a 12-2 run in the final 1:33 of the quarter and took a 23-15 lead. Nine of the 12 points on that run came off the fast break for MSU.

The Spartans began to pull away in the second quarter, outscoring Oakland 20-4 in the period. The Golden Grizzlies only made one field goal in the entire second quarter, and it came from a layup by sophomore guard, Kennedie Montue with 1:24 remaining. MSU would take a 43-19 lead into the half with freshman guard, Theryn Hallock leading the way with nine points.

Junior guard Gabby Elliott took over early in the third quarter. The transfer from Clemson scored six of the Spartans’ first 15 points to start the half. She would finish the night with a team-high 12 points and was the only Spartan to reach double figures.

The Spartan defense continued to impress in the third quarter, continuing to shut down the Oakland offense. The Golden Grizzlies were held to just five points in the quarter and still hadn’t made a 3-pointer heading into the fourth, shooting 0-12 as a team from deep.

The fourth quarter wasn’t much better for the Golden Grizzlies. Oakland couldn’t handle the full-court press from MSU. As a unit, MSU forced a season-high 29 turnovers on the night including 16 in the second half. 

Senior forward Taiyier Parks didn’t get many minutes early in the game due to foul trouble but came alive in the fourth quarter. She went 4-5 from the field and scored all nine of her points on the night. Parks and senior Tory Ozment led the way in the fourth quarter for MSU, combining for 14 of the 20 points scored by the Spartans in the quarter as MSU went on to win 85-39.

The Spartans return to the floor Thursday night at 7 p.m. against Florida A&M in the fifth and final game of the Spartans’ homestand to start the season.