Three players score 14 points as Spartans cruise to a 77-60 victory over Illinois

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Illinois came into East Lansing Thursday having lost four straight games. A strong effort from Michigan State extended the Illini losing streak to five, as well as extended their unbeaten home record.

The Spartans’ offense put up 77 in the win, with scoring coming from multiple sources, including five players scoring in double figures. MSU also shot 40 percent as a team from three.

The Spartans moved the ball very well, putting up 25 assists, making them 6-0 this season when they total 21 or more assists.

Jenna Allen led the way, tying for the lead in points with 14 and leading in rebounding with nine. She also went 2-of-3 from deep, and was a force the Illini seemed to never be able to minimize, both offensive and defensively.

The Spartans had control the entire game, never trailing while building a 20-point lead early in the second quarter after jumping out to a 14-5 lead to start the game. This was thanks to MSU starting hot from 3-point range. Another key was a plus-22 rebound margin, an important stat to Taryn McCutcheon.

“When we rebound well we play well, so that will be important for us to focus on moving forward,” McCutcheon said.

The Spartans also made the most of those rebounds with 16 second-chance points and 20 off fast breaks.

Michigan State owns a 2-4 record on the road as opposed to an 11-0 mark at home. When asked about the road struggles, head coach Suzy Merchant couldn’t come up with a reason why her team thrives so much more at home.

“We need to focus on being mentally tough, rather than playing well,” Merchant said.

A notable impact player for the Spartans was Nia Clouden, who didn’t score but put up four rebounds and 11 assists. Taryn McCutcheon also performed well, scoring 14 points, including four 3-pointers and four rebounds. Also scoring 14 points was Shay Colley, adding seven assists as well.

Merchant said going into their next game against Michigan, the Spartans need to focus on being a team and not focusing on individuals. When asked what the game against their in-state opponent meant to the Spartans and herself, Merchant described it simply.

“It’s not just another game, it’s another game with a larger impact, and we’ll need to come ready.”

The Fighting Illini (9-10, 1-7 Big Ten) are in the midst of a 5-game losing streak and will next head home to continue conference play against Northwestern.

The Spartans (14-5, 4-4 Big Ten) got a win after a loss at Rutgers this past Sunday, improving to 11-0 at the Breslin Center this season. They will next travel to Ann Arbor this upcoming Sunday to take on rival Michigan.