Spartans blow out Bowling Green in regular-season opener


Sam Britten, Women's Basketball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State women’s basketball came back to regular season play on Tuesday night and looked like they relished the opportunity. After an exhibition game against Hillsdale, the Spartans hosted Bowling Green and were victorious against the Falcons 99-69.  

The Spartans came out of the gate hot, dominating Bowling Green in a 10-0 run in the first 1:53 of the game while holding the Falcons to 26.3 percent shooting in the first half. MSU’s Taryn McCutcheon made her presence felt early in the game, shooting 4-of-6 overall, and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc in the first half. Center Jenna Allen led the team with 10 rebounds in the first half, finishing with 15 to go with 17 points. Head coach Suzy Merchant had high praise for her veteran center.

“I think she’s done an exceptional job this offseason of really working on her game,” Says Merchant, “I felt like I could’ve played that kid for 40 minutes if I had to right now.”

Sophomore forward Sydney Cooks showed promise as a freshman, averaging nine and a half points and nearly five rebounds a game, but struggled with an Achilles injury in the offseason. She made her sophomore debut tonight, scoring six points in the first half, finishing with 13.

The Spartans walked off the court with swagger, taking a comfortable 41-25 lead into halftime ready for more.

Halfway into the third quarter, Michigan State went on an 11-0 and a 14-2 run, not allowing any chance of a Bowling Green comeback.

After a season plagued with injuries, hearts sank into the ground when veteran point guard McCutcheon walked to the locker room momentarily after a hit to the knee.

“I went to get the ball, and somebody had like undercut me,” said McCutcheon. “I just got scared.”

Fortunately for Michigan State, McCutcheon returned with 4:05 left in the third quarter.

Michigan State remained in control of the game before hitting a shooting slump, allowing the Falcons to go on a 9-6 run. The Spartans regained momentum, scoring 23 to Bowling Green’s nine in the final six minutes to round out the game.

Michigan State is looking like a team strong enough to compete in the Big Ten. With players back from injuries, the Spartans looked like a good team on both sides of the ball. Though it is just the first game of the regular season, Michigan State showed promise.

Having two players put up double-doubles in Allen and McCutcheon shows how balanced this team is. If Mardrekia Cook continues to play with her aggressive style, and McCutcheon can keep raining threes, this team is scary good competition in the Big Ten.

The Spartans will resume play this Sunday against East Tennessee State. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Breslin Center.