Michigan State falls in overtime to No. 10 Iowa


Sarah Smith

DeeDee Hagemann dribbles the ball during Michigan State’s 84-81 overtime loss to No. 10 Iowa on January 18, 2023. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Marin Klein, Women's Basketball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – The Michigan State women’s basketball team came out big against No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes on Wednesday night, but fell in a heartbreaking fashion 84-81 in overtime.

“I don’t think our effort was bad, and I thought we fought the battle,” said MSU head coach Suzy Merchant. “Our problem is down the stretch we have opportunities to seal things and we don’t hit them.”

In the first quarter, the Spartans did a good job creating a high-pressure defense to slow the Hawkeyes down, but did not shut them down completely. Both teams were aggressive  and put up a fight from the first tipoff, but the shooting issues that have plagued the Spartans all season, kept them behind the Hawkeyes. The Spartans started out the night shooting 27% inside the paint and 17% outside. However, the team’s strong defense kept the margin small with the Hawkeyes only leading by five at the end of the first quarter. 

MSU had a total of 10 steals, 26 defensive rebounds, and forced 20 turnovers. The Spartans’ effort on defense was crucial, holding off the aggressive Hawkeyes long enough for the Green and White to gain their footing offensively. 

Junior guard Moira Joiner, who was charged with guarding Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, stepped up in a big way. Joiner stayed right on Clark, helping keep the Hawkeyes’ points down. Clark averages 26.8 points a game, and Joiner did a great job of shutting down Iowa’s star. Clark totaled 26 points, with 12 coming from free throws. 

At the start of the second quarter it looked like the Hawkeyes would pull away, but after a three-pointer from freshman guard Abbey Kimball ended a two minute scoring drought, the Spartans flipped a switch and found some offensive momentum. Kimball, who has not seen much time on the court this season, tied her season high of seven points at halftime. 

“She’s a shooter that comes in with a lot of confidence,” said Merchant. “She knocked some shots down that got us ahead and helped get some confidence offensively.” 

MSU continued to work hard and shut down the Hawkeyes, forcing a three minute scoring drought to end the half. The Spartans left the court with enthusiasm, after a half-court buzzer beater by senior guard Kamaria McDaniel put the team up 32-31. 

A few minutes into the second half, sophomore guard DeeDee Hagemann left the court with an injury on her right leg. While it looked like Hagemann may have been done for the night, or even longer, she returned to the court just 20 minutes after heading into the tunnel. 

The third quarter started with instant offensive momentum from MSU. Matilda Ekh sank two back-to-back shots from outside the arc. The Hawkeyes, however, were not silenced easily, and kept the margin close throughout the quarter. The lead changed 10 times throughout the 10 minutes of play. MSU remained on top heading into the fourth, leading 58-54.

In the final quarter of the game, the Spartans started off on another offensive run, but the Hawkeyes responded quickly, closing the gap and bringing the game down to the wire. In the last few minutes, senior forward Monika Czinano, one of the Hawkeyes’ top scorers with 22 points, fouled out of the game. MSU’s fouls sent Iowa to the line, bringing the score to a tie at 70 with 30 seconds left to play. Both teams got stops on defense, forcing the game to overtime. 

In overtime, Michigan State’s foul trouble continued to be an issue. Clark was sent to the line three times in overtime, and gave the Hawkeyes a three point lead with 17 seconds to go. Iowa led 82-79 with 5 seconds left, but an intentional foul called on Clark sent MSU guard McDaniel to the line, and the game came down to the Spartans’ last possession. McDaniel drained both free throws, and the Spartans trailed 81-82. In the end, a foul called on Hagemann sent Iowa back to the line. Iowa senior Molly Davis sank both free throws with two seconds left, sealing an 84-81 victory for the Hawkeyes. 

MSU has now lost four straight games in Big Ten play. The Spartans will look to get back into the win column on Sunday afternoon, where they’ll take on Rutgers at the Breslin Center.