Illinois women’s basketball falls on the road at Michigan State, 75-60

Illinois+Kendall+Bostic+dribbles+during+the+teams+game+at+Michigan+State+at+Breslin+Center+on+Thursday.+The+Illini+fell%2C+75-60%2C+to+the+Spartans.

Photo Courtesy to Fighting Illini Athletics

Illinois’ Kendall Bostic dribbles during the team’s game at Michigan State at Breslin Center on Thursday. The Illini fell, 75-60, to the Spartans.

By Angelle Cortes, Assistant Sports Editor

Illinois women’s basketball began its Big Ten campaign on the road at Michigan State. The Illini started off strong, but the Spartans came out with a 75-60 victory. 

Matilda Ekh led the scoring with 20 points, nailing six 3-point field goals. Right behind her was Nia Clouden with 17 points, making all eight of her free throws. 

The Illini started off strong with a lot of momentum from their previous game. Eva Rubin got two good layups, and Aaliyah Nye, back in her hometown, nailed a 3-pointer early. 

The first quarter saw Michigan State and Illinois go back and forth with scoring, so it was neck and neck early at Breslin Center. 

The quarter alone saw 11 3-point field goals, with Moira Joiner and Aaliyah Nye getting three and two apiece, respectively. 

By the end of the first ten minutes, the Illini were up 21-18, with Jada Peebles extending it to three with a buzzer-beater jumper. 

Come the second quarter, both Michigan State and Illinois were not having the greatest of quarters. The Spartans managed to only score a mere eight points, while the Illini bagged 13. 

The Spartans went on an 8-0 run right after De’Myla Brown got the first points of the quarter. After a near six-minute scoring drought from the Illini, Nye broke it with a jumper and then a 3-point field goal to set off on an 11-0 run, ending the first half 34-26 going into the break. 

After the break, however, it was all Michigan State. Illinois didn’t have a moment in the second half where it could hold the lead and extend it. If the Illini scored, the Spartans were right there to respond and vice versa. 

By the 6:34 mark in the third quarter, Clouden had turned her game around after hitting none of her shots and going 0-5 in field goals during the first half. 

With a jumper, it put Michigan State within one point of Illinois, and from there, it was back and forth scoring between both teams. 

Ekh, to add to her 3-point field goal tallies, ended the third quarter with a three to put the Spartans in the lead before the last ten minutes of the game. 

In the fourth quarter, it was all Michigan State. Balanced scoring from the Spartans and the Illini struggling to nail their shots, and the hosts were able to extend their lead by a lot. 

DeeDee Hagemann started the quarter off with a 3-pointer, followed by two free throws from Clouden. The lead was at six, which was the most Michigan State had during the game, and from there it just continued to grow. 

Despite Brown and Peeble’s efforts to get some momentum going, it just wasn’t enough and with four minutes left, the Spartans were up by a whopping 13. 

With 30 seconds left, Ekh nailed both her free throws to end the game with a 15-point lead. 

 

@AngelleCortes

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