#23 MSU’s Three-Game Winning Streak Halted By #16 Iowa

PHOTO:  MSU SID
PHOTO: MSU SID

IOWA CITY, Iowa - No. 23 Michigan State women's basketball had its three-game winning streak come to an end with a 86-71 loss at No. 16 Iowa on Thursday night in Iowa City.

The Spartans endured a tough travel day, unable to arrive in Iowa City on Wednesday night due to inclement weather in Iowa. MSU was able to arrive in Iowa Thursday late morning.

Michigan State falls to 16-6 overall this season and 6-5 in Big Ten action. Iowa improves to 18-5 overall and 9-3 in league play.

The Spartans were led by 20 points from freshman guard Nia Clouden, who has now reached the 20-point mark twice this season, both against Iowa. She scored a career-high 27 in the win against the Hawkeyes on Dec. 30. Coming off the bench, redshirt-sophomore guard Mardrekia Cook scored 12 points and added five boards. Junior guard Taryn McCutcheon also reached double figures with 11 points.

Iowa was led by senior Megan Gustafson who scored a game high 41 points and added 14 rebounds.

Gustafson got off to a fast start for Iowa, scoring eight of the Hawkeyes' first 11 points, while MSU got balanced early scoring from Cooks, Clouden, McCutcheon and senior forward Jenna Allen to tie the score at 11-11. MSU also struggled with Allen on the bench with two early fouls. Behind Gustafson's 13 first period points, Iowa jumped out to a 23-15 lead.

In the second period, the Spartans scored the first five points of the period to cut the gap to 23-20. After a pair of Tania Davis free throws, Iowa opened up a 37-28 advantage. The home team Hawkeyes took their first double-digit lead after a pair of Kathleen Doyle free throws made it 41-30 with 3:32 left in the half. The Spartans made five of their last seven buckets, but were unable to stop Iowa, as the Hawkeyes took a 50-38 lead into the locker room.

Cook had a strong first half, leading the Spartans with eight points, scoring all of those in the second period. Redshirt-junior guard Shay Colley added seven points and six boards in the first 20 minutes.

After getting a pair of quick baskets to start the third period, the Spartans endured a two-minute scoring drought that was stopped by a McCutcheon three. As Allen and redshirt-junior forward Victoria Gaines both picked up their fourth fouls, Iowa went on a 10-0 run to take a 67-48 lead.

In the fourth period, the Spartans fought hard, as Iowa only out-scored MSU, 19-17, but the Spartans were unable to chip away at the Hawkeye lead.

Michigan State will now return home to take on Indiana on Monday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Breslin Center for National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

Post-Game Notes vs. Iowa
• MSU's starting lineup of junior guards Shay Colley and Taryn McCutcheon, sophomore forward Sidney Cooks, freshman guard Nia Clouden and senior forward Jenna Allen was the fourth-straight time this season that the Spartans have started with that quintet. MSU is 3-1 with that lineup.

• McCutcheon made her 22nd start of the season and 85th of her career ... Allen recorded her 22nd start of the season and 49th of her career ... Colley started for the 15th time this season and made the 36th start of her career ... Clouden posted her 22nd start of the season ... Cooks made her fourth start of the season and 26th career start.

• Allen, McCutcheon and Clouden have started all 22 games this season and are joined by junior forward Victoria Gaines in playing all 22 games.

• Michigan State's 71 points was MSU's fourth-straight game in the 70s after netting 77 in back-to-back games and three of the previous four after a 77-60 victory at home vs. Illinois (Jan. 24) and winning at Michigan 77-73 (Jan. 27) as well as 77 in a 77-60 upset of No. 9 Maryland (Jan. 17).

• Michigan State is 16-2 this season as part of 134 of its last 149 games when scoring at least 70 points and the Spartans are 152-24 under Coach Merchant when hanging 70 or more points on the scoreboard.

• Senior center Jenna Allen's two points Thursday gave her 991 for her career, just nine points shy of becoming the 27th player in Spartan history to reach the 1,000 career points milestone.

• Clouden's 20 points was her second 20-point outing along with her 14th double-digit scoring outing this season.

• McCutcheon's 11 points was her seventh-straight game in double-figures as part of the 14th time this season and 35th of her career.

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