Spartans NCAA Tournament Journey Ends Tuesday Night

After getting through the first round in the NCAA Tournament, the Lady Spartans were in Chapel Hill, N.C. Tuesday night to take on the No. 4 North Carolina Tar Heels.

The Spartans fell to the Tar Heels 62-53 and will not be advancing in the tournament. MSU head coach Suzy Merchant said how difficult this game was compared to others.

“It was the most physical game I’ve been involved in in a long time. I mean, I can say that,” Merchant said. “And we play some really, really tough teams and just felt like off the ball and on the ball there was a lot of physicality and physical plays and very aggressive physicality.”

The physicality of the game seemed to had gotten to redshirt freshman Aerial Powers. She had just set a rebounding record for the program in the first round, but had a difficult night. Powers, who normally is a leading scorer for the team, had two points and did not make any shots in the second half of the game.

Junior center, Jasmine Hines led the team with 16 points followed by freshman Tori Jankoska with 14.

North Carolina led the Spartans the whole game, with their biggest lead by 26 in the second half.  Freshman Diamond DeShields led the Tar Heels with 24 points and 12 rebounds.

“Like coach (Merchant) said, she’s a really great player, real aggressive,” Hines said. “I think she kind of got into us a little bit and we turned the ball over in the first half and kind of lost our fight a little bit. But by the time we responded it was little too late I think.”

Although they will not be NCAA Champions, the Spartans end their season as Big Ten Champions and with several Spartans breaking personal and program records.

Jennifer Aldridge is the host of Merchantaries for Impact Sports.

Photo: Nubia Buckingham/Impact Sports