The Spartans opened up December at home playing the IPFW Mastodons. MSU entered Sunday afternoon’s game with a five-game winning streak as well. But in the end, IPFW gave the Spartans a great fight and were ready to break the winning streak, as the Spartans lost 81-76.
“I think we kind of overlooked the team” redshirt freshman Aerial Powers said.The Mastodons kept the game close and even took the biggest lead by 12 points. MSU got into a lot of foul trouble late in the first half.
They came out of halftime and took a small lead, but IPFW didn’t let it stay like that for long. The Spartan defense could not stop the Mastodons and their outside shooting.
This is IPFW’s first win against a Big Ten opponent. Amanda Hyde was the team’s leader in points with 23.
“This is a huge confidence builder for our program right now,” Chris Paul, the IPFW head coach said.
Despite the loss on Sunday afternoon, Powers was able to pick up 28 points followed by Annalise Pickrel with 15, and Tori Jankoska with 13.
“Individually having standards for yourself and making sure you reach them when it comes to defense. If we don’t start playing defense this is going to happen constantly,” Powers said.
The biggest issue the team faced was the defense. The Spartans were lacking on the defensive end and allowed shots to be made by IPFW.
“We just need to sit back, evaluate ourselves and find a mesh,” Pickrel said.
The overall consensus of the team seemed to be playing with more urgency and intensity.
“Playing with more intensity has to come from our leadership and our veteran group, it just seems like they are a very flat core right now…it’s disappointing, I thought we were prepared for the game…it’s time to roll up their sleeves and go to work. Can’t cry about it, complain about it, its over. We need to learn from it and move on,” coach Suzy Merchant said.
The Spartans’ next game is December 4 at Florida State.
Jennifer Aldridge is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: Jennifer Aldridge