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Michigan State ousts No. 9 Indiana from Big Ten women’s tournament

Nia Clouden
Posted at 7:05 AM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 07:05:11-05

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (AP) — Nia Clouden scored 30 points, including seven in a pivotal 10-1 run, as Michigan State upset No. 9 Indiana 69-61 in the quarterfinals of the women’s Big Ten Tournament on Thursday night.

The junior guard hit two jumpers as well as a 3-pointer in about a two-minute span to propel the seventh-seeded Spartans to a 57-48 lead over the second-seeded Hoosiers in the final quarter.

Clouden had 12 points and five foul shots in the final quarter. She finished 8-of-17 from the floor and made 13-of-16 free throws.

The Spartans (15-7) avenged a regular-season loss to the Hoosiers (18-5), who had entered on a nine-game winning streak. Michigan St. advances to face the winner of Rutgers-Iowa in Friday’s semifinals.

Alyza Winston added 13 points for the Spartans.

Grace Berger led the Hoosiers with 19 points before fouling out. Mackenzie Holmes had 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Both teams struggled with shooting, but the Spartans were also sloppy with ballhandling in committing 12 first-half turnovers. The Hoosiers capitalized for a 16-11 lead after the first quarter and 34-26 at the half.

Indiana was ahead for all but 15 seconds of the first half with the largest lead reaching 11 points with just under one minute remaining.

Michigan St. erased that deficit in a 9-0 run with just 2:14 elapsed in the third quarter. A Clouden layup put the Spartans ahead 35-34.

Indiana struggled with seven turnovers and endured a scoreless drought of 3:49. The Spartans took a 47-45 edge into the final quarter after a 21-11 third.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan St.: The Spartans strengthened their case for an NCAA Tournament bid with wins on back-to-back days. They reached the NCAA’s second round two years ago.

Indiana: As second seeds in the conference tourney for the first time in program history, the Hoosiers envisioned a title-game showdown with No. 7 Maryland. Instead, the team will have extra time off wondering went wrong before learning their next opponent in the NCAA tourney.

DOWN THE STREET

Although the pandemic limits arena capacity for games, Indiana had fans scattered downtown because the men’s team was playing Rutgers in the Big Ten tourney at Lucas Oil Stadium while the women were facing the Spartans a few blocks away at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Indiana-Rutgers game was shown on the BLF video boards at halftime of the women’s game.

UP NEXT

Michigan St.: Rutgers-Iowa winner, Big Ten tourney, Friday.

Indiana: NCAA Tournament, TBA.