Patel: The four biggest takeaways from Spartans dominating win over Saint Francis


Suzy Merchant gives instructions to her players/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Manit Patel, General Assigment Reporter

EAST LANSING- In their opening game of the season, the Michigan State Women’s Basketball team started their season at the Breslin Center with a resounding 77-44 win against the Saint Francis (Pa.) Red Flash. Here are four of the biggest takeaways/building blocks from the Spartans’ strong win:

1. The Defense played exceptionally well

The Spartan defense started out the game strong as they allowed only 14 points to Saint Francis in the first quarter and 16 combined points in the second and third quarters. Not only did they limit the Red Flash in terms of scoring, but in overall shooting efficiency as well. Saint Francis shot only 35% (17-for-48) from the field and a miserable 19% (3-for-16) from the three-point line. MSU also forced 26 turnovers with 14 steals and five blocks.

However, despite the strong performance, head coach Suzy Merchant was rather critical in terms of the overall defensive play of her team.

”I wasn’t totally pleased with it; we were kind of foul heavy early on,” Merchant said. “There were certain plays where we had breakdowns or allowed a basket we shouldn’t have.”

That kind of “we can improve” attitude will be crucial come Big Ten time as the competition will become substantially more difficult.  

2. The overall depth of the bench was on full display

Starting with freshman Kendall Bostic, the Spartans’ bench scored 33 points, and provided a boost to the MSU offense.

“We’ll take it; every coach’s dream is to have a bench like that, and getting that kind of contribution from the bench is something we’ll take any day of the week,” Merchant said. “The players producing were the players that have been performing in practice, so we’ll take it, and look to see similar results in the future.”

Kendall Bostic led the bench with 15 points and came in with the right attitude. She shot 6-for-7 from the field and grabbed six rebounds. Look for Bostic to make a push for the starting lineup and the bench to keep having a big impact on the overall outcome of the upcoming MSU games. 

3. The unselfish passing by the entire team

Led by junior guard Nia Clouden, the Spartans had 25 total assists and posted an uber-efficient 2.27 assist to- turnover ratio. No single scorer stood head and shoulders above the rest, as everyone chipped in and contributed on the offensive end.

MSU had four players score in double-figures, including 15 points apiece from Clouden and Bostic. Merchant mentioned that unselfish passing was really emphasized in practices throughout the summer.

Suzy Merchant oversees practice/Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

4. The efficient scoring and improved shot-selection

Michigan State posted a 48% (29-for-60) shooting percentage from the field and a 53% shooting mark from three-point land. The Spartans also shot efficiently and were very smart in terms of overall shot selection.  

MSU placed an emphasis on getting out in transition (they scored 28 total fastbreak points) and scored 30 points off of turnovers.  One of the biggest parts of the game was their paint domination; the Spartans scored 38 points in the paint against the St. Francis’ bigs. 

Michigan State will look to continue to remain undefeated as they welcome in the Detroit Mercy Titans on Wednesday.