No. 23/22 MSU Past Hartford in Overtime

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL (PHOTO;  MSU SID)
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL (PHOTO; MSU SID)

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - A career-high 19 points from sophomore forward Sidney Cooks lifted the No. 23/22 Michigan State women's basketball team past a tenacious Hartford squad on the road Sunday, 74-66, in overtime.

With the win, the Spartans improve to 9-1 for the first time since the 2012-13 season, when they started the season 13-1. Hartford which has now faced three ranked teams, falls to 5-6 this season.

Cooks scored 19 points and added six boards to lead the Spartans. Redshirt-junior forward Victoria Gaines earned her first double-double of the season and third of her career with 16 points and 11 rebounds as the Spartans scored 40 points in the paint. Junior guard Taryn McCutcheon added 14 points and six boards.

Gaines scored the first four points of the game for the Spartans as MSU jumped out to an early 9-7 lead, heading into the first media timeout. Sidney Cooks scored six-straight for the Spartans to up the lead to 15-8. Both teams struggled offensively at the end of the quarter. MSU was held scoreless the final 2:28 of the quarter, while Hartford went 1-for-9 from the field to end the quarter.

Hollie started the second period with five-straight points as MSU opened up its first double-digit lead, 20-10 with 8:31 left in the period. Michigan State used a 10-2 run over 6:53 to extend its advantage to 25-12. The Hawks did not go easily using a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 32-25 at the half. Hartford used the three to staying the game going 4-for-11 from long range in the half.

The Hawks came out fast, cutting the Spartan lead to 32-27 with a quick bucket. Hartford kept the intensity up the quarter, chipping away at the MSU advantage. A three by Abed cut the lead to 44-43 with 2:25 left in the third, the closest the Hawks had been since the start of the game. Michigan State's 5-0 run to end the period pushed the lead back to 49-43 heading in to the final 10 minutes.

In the fourth quarter, Lindsey Abed's layup tied the score at 57-57 with 1:02 left in the fourth quarter. Freshman forward Tory Ozment's first bucket came at an opportune time giving the Spartans the 59-57 lead with 30 seconds remaining in regulations. While Sierra DeCosta's bucket tied the game with 12 ticks left on the clock. Ozment's attempt with for the game winner came up short and MSU headed to overtime for the first time this season.

The Spartans used a 9-0 run in extra time to take 70-64 lead with just over a minute left in overtime.

Post-Game Notes vs. Hartford
 With the starting lineup of Nia Clouden, Taryn McCutcheon, Nia Hollie, Victoria Gaines and Jenna Allen, Michigan State has now had three different starting lineups. McCutcheon, Gaines and Allen are the only three Spartans to have started all 10 games. MSU is 1-0 with this starting lineup.

 With 19 points sophomore forward Sidney Cooks now has four double-figure scoring games. The Spartans are 4-0 this season when she scores in double figures.

• The Spartans improved to 9-0 this season when leading at intermission.

• Michigan State is 8-0 this season when having a lead with five minutes left, having won 182 of the last 192 games when leading with five minutes to go, including 133 of the last 143 . . . MSU is 217-16 when holding a lead with five to play under Coach Merchant.

• Redshirt-junior forward Victoria Gaines earned her first double-double of the season with and third of her career with 16 points and 11 rebounds against the Hawks. She is the fourth different Spartan with a double-double this season along with Jenna Allen (2), Nia Clouden and Taryn McCutcheon

• Michigan State is now 9-1 when at least three players score in double figures.

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