TEMPLATE - MSU CAMPUS — Behind a game-high 23 points from junior guard Nia Clouden, the No. 25 Michigan State women’s basketball team improved to 3-0 in Big Ten action with a,71-64, win over Purdue Sunday afternoon in West Lafayette, Indiana.
MSU improves to 8-0 for the first time since the 2012-13 Spartan squad started the season with the same record. MSU also starts the season 3-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign. Purdue falls to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in league action.
Clouden earned her fourth 20-point game of the season and 14th of her career with 23 points with two assists and two steals. She now has 986 career points, just 14 shy of the 1,000-point milestone.
Junior forward Alisia Smith added a season high 15 points, including nine in the fourth quarter. Sophomore guard Julia Ayrault reached double figures for the second-straight game with 10 points to go along with four rebounds.
Kayana Traylor was Purdue’s leading scorer with 16 points.
Michigan State called an early timeout after Purdue jumped out to an early 9-5 lead. After the early timeout, the Spartans scored four-straight to tie the game. Michigan State settled into the offense, taking a 14-12 lead after a Kendall Bostic layup. The Spartans kept the Boilermakers off the board for the final three minutes of the quarter to take a 17-12 lead.
In the second quarter, MSU opened up a 22-13 advantage after an Ayrault 3-pointer. After a steal and a score by Smith, the Spartans opened up their first double-digit lead 29-19. Michigan State ended the first half on a 7-0 run to take a 37-25 halftime lead.
The Boilermakers came out hot in the second half, scoring eight of the first 10 points of the quarter, cutting the MSU advantage to 39-33. Purdue used a 15-2 run to make it a 41-40 game with 1:41 left in the period, but the Spartans scored the final four of the quarter to re-take a 45-40 lead. Despite scoring only eight points in the period, Michigan State maintained the lead.
Clouden took over in the fourth quarter as she scored her first of 11 points with a trey to put MSU up by eight, 48-80, at the 9:08 mark. Despite the Spartans’ taking a double-digit lead, the Boilermakers continued to fight, chiseling the lead to three points with 25 seconds left. Michigan State was solid from the free throw line down the stretch, going 6-for-8 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter. The Spartans’ 26 points in the final period were the most this season.
Michigan State now returns home on Thursday, Jan. 7 to take on No.14/14 Maryland at 5 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
Post-Game Notes vs. Purdue
- Michigan State improved to 8-0 for the first time since 2012-13, when the Spartans also started 8-0.
- MSU is also 3-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 2013-14.
- Junior guard Nia Clouden’s 23 points Sunday gives her 986 career points, just 14 points away from the 1,000 career points milestone.
- Sunday’s win was MSU’s third in a row at Purdue, winning five of the last six outings in West Lafayette ... Overall, the Spartans have won four of the last six and eight of the last 12 meetings with the Boilermakers, cutting Purdue’s series lead to 42-35.
- Michigan State led Purdue, 37-25, at halftime, as MSU has now led at halftime in all eight games ... Sunday’s 12-point lead was the Spartans’ seventh double-digit lead at intermission, joining advantages of 42-22 vs. Saint Francis, 36-24 vs. Detroit Mercy, 48-38 at Minnesota, 44-28 vs. Iowa, 46-33 vs. Northern Illinois and 42-31 vs. Oakland.
- MSU’s 26 points in the fourth quarter was the Spartans’ highest in the final frame this season, bettering the previous high of 24 vs Detroit Mercy (12/2/20) ... the 26-point quarter was MSU’s second-highest points in any quarter behind 28 points in the second stanza at Minnesota (12/9/20).
- Sunday’s Spartan starting line-up of junior guard Nia Clouden, junior guard Tory Ozment, sophomore forward Julia Ayrault, sophomore forward Taiyier Parks and sophomore guard Alyza Winston was Michigan State’s third-straight contest with that starting five and third of the season.
- Ozment and Clouden are the lone Spartans to start in all eight games this season ... Ayrault and Winston started for the fifth time of their career, all in the last five games ... meanwhile, Clouden made her 71st career start in playing in her 71st career game ... Ozment started for the 20th time of her career in playing her 56th game ... Parks started for the sixth time this season in the eight games as part of her ninth career start, while playing in her 38th career game.
- Clouden led the Spartans in scoring for the seventh time out in the eight games this season and was her 29th time in her career that she led MSU in the points column ... the Spartan junior guard has reached double-figure points in all eight games this season as part of her 19th-consecutive career game, now having posted double-digits in 35 of her last 38 games played, doing so in every game but three last season ... for her career, Clouden now has double-digits in 58 of her 71 overall games played.
- With 23 points Sunday, Clouden posted her fourth 20+ point game of the season, all coming in the last five games, as part of her 14th 20-point outing of her career, and MSU is now 10-4 when Clouden scores 20+ points ... Clouden netted two 3-pointers for her second game this season with multiple triples, joining three treys vs. Detroit Mercy (12/2/20).
- After Clouden only played a season-low 14 minutes last time out vs. Oakland, she played over 37 minutes Sunday, her second-highest output of the season.
- Redshirt-junior forward Alicia Smith tallied 15 points off the bench, for her MSU career high in just her second game for the Green & White, making her Spartan debut last time out vs. Oakland and netting nine points ... Smith also registered three rebounds, also an MSU career-bests.
- Ayrault posted 10 points for her fifth double-digit outing of the season ... she now has 10 double-figure games in her career.
- Winston netted one 3-pointer Sunday, extending her team lead behind the arc, now with 14 on the season, as well as a team-leading 11 in Big Ten games.
- Ozment led MSU with five assists on Sunday, marking the third time this season that she has led the Spartans in helpers ... the five assists was her fourth game this season with five or more helpers, including third in the last five outings after her career-high of seven assists twice (at Iowa (12/12/20) and vs. Northern Illinois (12/20/20)).
- Parks led the Spartans with five rebounds, marking the team-best third time that she has led the team in rebounds ... it is the eighth time in her career that Parks topped MSU in the rebounding column.
- The Spartan reserves had a 25-20 bench scoring advantage, as MSU has out-scored the opposition in bench scoring in all eight games, including five by double-figures.
- A game after scoring their season-high, the Spartans tallied a season-low with 71 points, but the MSU has topped the 70-point mark in all eight games this season ... the Green & White have won 154 of their last 173 games (.890) when scoring at least 70 points, and the Spartans are 172-28 (.860) under head coach Suzy Merchant when hanging at least 70 points on the scoreboard ... Michigan State is now 8-0 this season when reaching the 70-point mark.
- Michigan State led Purdue, 58-52 lead with 5:00 to go Sunday, and MSU has now won 217 of its last 230 games (.943) when leading with five minutes left, including 167 of their last 182 ... In Coach Merchant’s tenure, Michigan State is 252-19 (.930) when holding a lead with five minutes left ... MSU improved to 8-0 this season when leading with five minutes remaining.