McDaniel’s 28 points not enough as Michigan State ends PKI tournament 0-2


Kamaria McDaniel passes the ball through a lane of defenders during Michigan State’s 109-44 victory over Florida A&M on November 17, 2022. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Luca Melloni, Sports Editor

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Michigan State women’s basketball team fell to No. 18 Oregon in the Phil Knight Invitational consolation game. Despite MSU guard Kamaria McDaniel scoring a game-high 28 points and seven assists, the Ducks played a strong match and earned an 86-78 win over the Spartans. 

The all-time series between MSU and Oregon is now 3-1 after Sunday’s game. 

“Playing hard is one thing, competing is another. I thought this team competed today,” head coach Suzy Merchant said. “We have a lot of new faces, and we’re trying to figure ourselves out a little bit.” 

The Ducks improve their season record to 5-1, while the Spartans sit at 6-2 as they travel back to East Lansing. 

McDaniel played a team-high 37 minutes and was influential in trying to get the Spartans back in the game. She also had three three-pointers to go along with her impressive individual performance. 

“I’m trying to visualize myself being where I want to be and coach has instilled so much confidence in me,” McDaniel said. “I’m going to continue putting the work in and continue being the best I can be.”   

McDaniel was the go-to point guard for the Spartans for the majority of the game.

The Spartans were close to taking the lead in the fourth quarter when sophomore guard Matilda Ekh tied the game at 68-68 with a fastbreak layup. Ekh returned to the lineup after missing the Nov. 24  game against No. 5 Iowa State due to her playing with the Swedish National team. 

She flew directly to Portland on Friday after playing with the Swedish team and recorded 14 points against the Ducks. 

Oregon guard Ahlise Hurst extended the Ducks’ lead to double-digits with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. By that point, Michigan State did not have enough firepower to catch up. 

“It was a good performance all the way,” Oregon head coach Kelly Graves said. “Michigan State is a good team, man. Coach Suzy [Merchant] is one of my favorite coaches.”

The Ducks went on to close the game with a series of free throws and a layup by freshman forward Grace VanSlooten. Senior guard Taya Hanson made the final two free throws of the game, solidifying the 86-78 victory. 

The Spartans ended their PKI journey 0-2 against two ranked opponents. 

“Our one-on-one accountability defensively has to continue to get better,” Merchant said. “I learned a lot about our team and a lot about each one of these kids.” 

The Spartans return to action to face Georgia Tech in East Lansing.  Tip-off at the Breslin Center is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1.