Michigan State Defeats Minnesota on Senior Day, 71-67


Sarah Smith

Kamaria McDaniel drives to the basket during Michigan State’s loss to Georgia Tech on December 1, 2022. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Jay DeCoster, Women's Basketball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – The Michigan State women’s basketball team (14-13, 6-10) played their last home game of the season late Wednesday afternoon at the Breslin Center, defeating the Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-18, 3-14) 71-67 on senior day.

The game was moved from a 7 p.m. tipoff to 4:30 p.m. due to inclement weather. 

Michigan State honored three graduating seniors after the game. Jayla James, Stephanie Visscher, and Kamaria McDaniel were all recognized for their contributions on and off the court.

“To see their journey and see the growth that they’ve made since they got here, it’s special,” said interim head coach Dean Lockwood. “More than anything, it’s kind of a benchmark moment. This is a chapter that’s ending because those three will never wear this uniform on this floor again. There’s always a little sadness to it, but you’re also excited for them and their futures.”

“They’re my sisters,” said sophomore guard DeeDee Hagemann. “All three of them bring those positive vibes, they always keep our energy up, and we wouldn’t be us without them.”

It was a defensive battle in the first quarter, as both teams struggled from the field. Each team shot a combined 4-20 early on, and Minnesota would only shoot 12% in that span. 

The Spartans ended the first quarter with a 17-7 lead. That would quickly fade as the Golden Gophers improved on the offensive side and went on a 7-0 run to begin the second quarter. A three-point basket by graduate guard Mi’Cole Cayton tied the game at 23-23 with under five minutes left in the half. 

Minnesota took its first lead of the contest in the third quarter, going up 40-39 after a 6-0 run. However, Michigan State stopped the Golden Gophers from scoring in the final 2:20 and regained the lead at 51-45 to start the fourth quarter. 

Freshman guard Mara Braun led the Golden Gophers in scoring with 17 points. 

Both teams traded buckets in the fourth quarter, but the Spartans were able to put the game away. Graduate guard Kamaria McDaniel led the team in scoring down the stretch, putting up 10 of her 15 points in the final 10 minutes.

Four Spartans reached double figures in scoring, with Kamaria McDaniel and sophomore guard Matilda Ekh leading the team with 15 points. Senior guard Moira Joiner and DeeDee Hagemann also added 11 points. 

“DeeDee and Tilly [Matilda Ekh] have been very stable for us. When they do well, we typically do well,” Lockwood said. “That’s the beauty of this game, it never falls on one person, it always has been and always will be a team game.”

Michigan State will close out the regular season on the road against Penn State on Saturday, Feb. 25. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.