Ayrault, Hollie lead Spartans in 93-48 win over Morehead State

Spartan women’s basketball improves to 7-2 with big win over Morehead State


Credit: Joe Dandron

Joe Dandron, Staff writer

EAST LANSING — As the snow fell in East Lansing early on a Sunday afternoon, a flurry of Michigan State buckets dropped, too, for the No. 19 ranked Spartan women’s basketball team.

A combination of depth and a good shooting night for MSU led the Spartans to a 93-48 win over the Morehead State Falcons. 

And every player available got in on the action, from walk-on Laurel Jacqmain to incumbent starting point guard Taryn McCutcheon, all but two players who checked into the ball game scored for MSU in the blowout win.

“Actually today I just decided from here on out I’m gonna do the Izzo theory,” said MSU head coach Suzy Merchant. “I’m gonna let the assistants do all the subbing because we have so many kids who can play quite frankly … I’ve got three really good assistants.”

They played without a single worry, and everyone except Shay Colley, who was out for the game got to see time.

Redshirt sophomore Claire Hendrickson, who had a career high eight points, knocked down her first 3-pointer with 4:55 left in the first half, then dropped a dime to Kayle Belles with just over a minute left in the same quarter. 

Her play and others off the bench gave the Spartans a 45-17 lead at the half.

Senior Nia Hollie scored a season-high 12, freshman forward Julia Ayrault had her first career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, capitalizing the MSU win with the final Spartan bucket with two seconds left in the fourth quarter.

“I think, I’ve come to the realization that like, you’re gonna make mistakes,” said Ayrault after the win. “Today was awesome we shared the ball really well, I don’t remember the number of team assists that we had but it was up there.”

MSU, for lack of a better word, was in a rhythm. 

“We were hoping it would be like that,” said head coach Suzy Merchant. “I don’t think they backed down (Morehead State) … we felt that this could be a game if we do it right and we share the ball, play with our speed and our depth that we could probably get people in here and when your coming off exams, it’s good to just get back into something that isn’t so crazy and tense.”

An early MSU lead quickly became 11 then 20 and then 30, as the Spartans had 26 assists on 37 made baskets in the game and had five players score 10 plus points. Morehead State was led in scoring by Tomiyah Alford with 13 points.

After exam week, the win was one that was provided a relaxed moment for a team that has the expectations to compete in the Big Ten. Many in the preseason picked the team to finish in the top three of the conference.

MSU will head back to Florida once again to play in the Sunshine Challenge against Syracuse on Dec. 20 and then West Virginia on Dec. 21, both games will be played in Orlando.

The No. 19-ranked Spartans improve to 7-2 overall and are 5-0 at home this season. MSU will open up Big Ten action on New Years Eve against Nebraska.

Joe Dandron is a staff writer, columnist and football reporter for Impact89FM. You can follow him on Twitter @JosephDandronMI or contact him at [email protected]