The Michigan State Spartans (12-7, 4-2) were defeated by the Illinois Fighting Illini (9-10, 2-4) Thursday night, 61-51. This is the Spartans’ second loss in a row. Although MSU had a disappointing night against Illinois, there was a player that managed to make her presence known.
Junior forward Becca Mills started the game off for the Spartans with their first seven points in the first four minutes of the game. Mills finished with 17 points, four rebounds and 5-5 from the free throw line. Mills’ points allowed her to be tied for the most in a Big Ten game this season.
“She’s a kid that I thought brought some energy and enthusiasm and got us off on the right start for sure,” coach Suzy Merchant said.
Becca started the first half strong, but could not finish in the second half. She committed her fifth foul and fouled out with 1:31 remaining in the second half.
“She needs to be able to play both halves,” Merchant said. “She missed some rebounds, the ball kind of went off her hands, she didn’t catch some things and that kind of thing. For her, we’ve got to get her a little more consistent out there.”
Despite the loss, the Spartans were effective in the first half and entered halftime with a three-point lead. The team seemed to lose their focus toward the end of the second half.
“We got a little flat and didn’t change it,” Mills said. “There was a little bit of lack of focus.”
The Spartans head back on the road to play Ohio State for a 12:30 p.m. game on Sunday.
Jennifer Aldridge is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: Nubia Buckingham/Impact Sports