The Spartans took on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Thursday evening as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Starting for the Spartans was Tori Jankoska, Jasmine Lumpkin, Aerial Powers, Anna Morrissey and Becca Mills.
Jankoska led the team with 21 points, followed by Powers who recorded her sixth double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Center Jasmine Hines also scored 16 points.
The Yellow Jackets came out shooting early and forced a fast-paced game. The Yellow Jacket defense held off the Spartans and they maintained the lead for the entire first half. Georgia Tech kept the game physical and the Spartans could not keep up.
“When you look at Georgia Tech and how they play, they’re a very physical team. They crash the boards; they’re one of the best rebounding teams,” head coach Suzy Merchant said. “I felt like we were going up against one of Izzo’s teams, to be honest with you, with how hard they crashed the boards on the offensive end.”
The Spartans entered the second half down by 13 and quickly scored seven points within the first two minutes of the half.
“I do think those kids in the second half just really found a way right out of the gates,” Merchant said.
While the Spartans were trying to break the Georgia Tech lead, there was an exchange of words between Jankoska, Powers and Georgia Tech’s Sydney Wallace, resulting in a technical foul for both Powers and Wallace. The call seemed to unite the Spartan women and they went into full speed.
“She did that and I kind of stepped up like these are my girls,” Powers said. “I’m going to stick up for them. It just all switched after that and we started playing together.”
The Spartans tied the game at 46 before taking their first lead of the game with 13:57 left in the game. They kept the lead, but Georgia Tech stayed close behind. With two minutes remaining, the Yellow Jackets broke the Spartan lead and tied the game at 63.
At the end of regulation, the game was tied at 66, leading to overtime.
Powers fouled out of the game in the first minute in overtime. The two teams went back and forth until the Spartans opened a lead large enough to hold of the Yellow Jackets. The Spartans won 79-73.
“I think it was a huge team effort. Jasmine got some huge boards, Becca got some good shots, Anna hit that three,” Jankoska said. “I think the entire team was involved in that, the bench got really loud and got us all hype”
The next game is set for Tuesday, December 16 at 7:00 p.m. against Alcorn State in East Lansing.
Jennifer Aldridge is the host of Merchantaries for Impact Sports
Photo: Jennifer Aldridge/Impact Sports