EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Nia Clouden spurred a third-quarter comeback, and Michigan State stunned rival No. 4 Michigan 63-57 on Thursday night.
One person was “not surprised,” and that was Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant.
“Nia has been a great leader and she wasn’t going to step off this floor without taking a win,” Merchant said.
The Spartans (13-10, 7-5 Big Ten) snapped the Wolverines’ eight-game win streak. Michigan (20-3, 11-2 Big Ten) shot 40.4% from the field, its lowest since losing to Nebraska on Jan. 4. The Spartans finished with a 46% mark.
Naz Hillmon had 27 points and nine rebounds for the Wolverines, who played their second straight game without senior leader Leigha Brown. Danielle Rauch finished with 12 points as the only other Wolverine to score in double digits.
No bench players scored for Michigan compared to the Spartans’ 15 points off the bench.
“We’re trying to find our identity,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “We lost an all-conference player for the second game, who is our leading guard scorer and is a dynamic player. I think we’re trying to figure out where we can make up 15 points per game.”
Clouden was the Spartans’ leading scorer with 20 points, while Tamara Farquhar had 11 points and Dee Dee Hagemann had seven rebounds and nine assists.
At the half, Michigan held the 29-26 edge. Clouden came out hot after the break, scoring 13 in the third quarter alone.
After a cold 0-for-6 start, Matilda Ekh sealed Michigan State’s win by going 2 for 2 for the 3-poin line in the fourth quarter.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
It was Michigan State’s first win against an AP top 5 team since Dec. 9, 2018, when the Spartans beat then-No. 3 Oregon.
Michigan State: At No. 7 Indiana on Saturday.
Michigan: At Northwestern on Sunday.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25