Â INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -Michigan State freshman Allyssa DeHaan had 27 points and eight rebounds to lead the No. 22 Spartans to a 77-68 victory over Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals Friday.
The 6-foot-9 DeHaan was unstoppable, dominating the middle against the Golden Gophers. She hit 12 of 14 shots, had six blocks, five assists and only two turnovers for the third-seeded Spartans (23-7), who won for the eighth time in nine games.
They’ll make their fourth straight semifinal appearance Sunday against No. 15 Purdue (26-5).
Sixth-seeded Minnesota (16-15) was led by Emily Fox with 21 points and Kelly Roysland with 18, not nearly enough to avoid a seventh loss in 10 games and doom any chance of making a late impression on the NCAA tournament selection committee.
DeHaan did it all, freeing herself up for shots, sliding off defenders and routinely finding open teammates. When she wasn’t hurting Minnesota on offense, she was intimidating it on defense.
The combination was too much for the Gophers.
Michigan State quickly built a 13-4 lead and extended the margin to 32-17 late in the first half. The Gophers closed to 34-27 at halftime, when DeHaan was on the bench, but the freshman sparked a second-half surge that helped the Spartans take a 17-point lead.
Minnesota charged back late, getting within five several times, but the Spartans sealed the outcome with an 8-1 run in the closing minutes.
Michigan State took a nine-point lead at 13-4 with 13:43 left in the first half, which increased to 12 points with 10:33 left in the first half, forcing Minnesota’s first timeout.
Freshman Allyssa DeHaan hit the first seven shots in her Big Ten Tournament career, including five field goals and two free throws before missing her first shot with 1:15 left in the first half … She had 14 first half points.
DeHaan reached 20 points in a game for the fifth time this season, as she finished 12-for-14 from the field for 27 points … The last time DeHaan had 20 in a game was at Ohio State in 52-49 win on Feb. 18.
DeHaan’s 27 points ties her for the third most points by a freshman in MSU history.
With their fourth block of the game, the Spartans set a Big Ten record for blocked shots in a season, passing the mark set by Penn State in 2001-02, with the team’s fourth block of the game … The Spartans finished the game with 10 blocks and currently have 191 blocks on the season.
DeHaan tied her career-high of four assists, set two other times, with four in the first half and broke the mark with her fifth on the first play of the second half, on a bucket by sophomore Aisha Jefferson … She finished with five assists.
DeHaan finished with six blocks in the game, giving her 135 on the season … DeHaan passed Wisconsin’s Janetta Johnson’s mark of 130 blocks in 1988-89 for second in the Big Ten single-season record book and one shy of the conference record of 136 set by Michigan’s Trish Andrew set in 1991-92.
DeHaan also set a Big Ten Tournament single-game record with six blocked shots, tying the mark set by both MSU’s Kristen Rasmussen vs. Indiana on Feb. 26, 1999 and Ohio State’s Jessica Davenport vs. MSU on March 5, 2006 … She is currently tied for seventh in a single tournament session with her seven blocks, four from the tournament record set by Penn State’s Reicina Russell in 2004.
Jefferson finished with 15 points, the 12th time in 16 games the forward reached double figures.
Junior Alisa Wulff hit two 3-pointers, the second game in a row the junior hit a trifecta … She finished with six points.
Junior Courtney Davidson logged her first 3-pointer since the Ohio State game on Feb. 18, a string of two games … She finished with three points.
Senior Rene Haynes finished with 15 points, as the Spartans improved to 49-3 in her career when she scores 10 or more points … Haynes also reached 300 points on the season, the first time in her career she has reached the mark.
MSU’s 22 assists tied for the ninth most in a Big Ten Tournament game, a mark that has been reached eight times.
The Spartans recorded 20-plus assists for the first time since recording 23 in a 76-49 win over Penn State on Feb. 1 … MSU has surpassed the mark six times this year.
Michigan State advances to the conference semifinals for the fourth straight time.
Props to Ben Phlegar, MSU SID.