EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Michigan State’s talent, size and depth were too much for Delaware.  Allyssa DeHaan had 13 points as part of a balanced offense to lead the fifth-seeded Spartans to a 69-58 win over the No. 12 Blue Hens on Sunday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
 
Michigan State (24-8), playing at home, advanced to face the winner of the Rutgers-East Carolina game on Tuesday night.

 
Tyresa Smith scored 19, Chrissy Fisher had 13 and Kyle DeHaven added 12 points for Delaware (26-6), which tied a school record for wins and played in the NCAA tournament for the second time.  Each of the Spartans’ starters scored in double figures: DeHaan, Mia Johnson (13), Victoria Lucas-Perry (12), Rene Haynes (11) and Aisha Jefferson (10).

 
Michigan State looked rusty in the first half, playing for the first time in two weeks.
The Spartans missed 21 of 29 shots and had 11 turnovers by halftime, but their defense allowed them to lead before eventually wearing down the Blue Hens in the second half.
Michigan State sent waves of players, including the 6-foot-9 DeHaan at Delaware, which leaned on only six players to play most of the game.
 
The Spartans closed the first half with an 8-0 run, going ahead 1:25 before halftime for the eighth lead change and didn’t trail again.  Lucas-Perry’s 3-pointer and Laura Hall’s three-point play gave the Spartans a 50-36 lead midway and they easily maintained the cushion.

 
Along with scoring 13 points, DeHaan had five blocks, nine rebounds and three steals.
Michigan State, an at-large team from the Big Ten, is playing in the NCAA tournament for the fifth straight year and has won four straight first-round games.
 
The Spartans clearly have plenty of experience this time of year, with Perry and Haynes tying a school-record for playing in their 12th NCAA tournament game. Both helped Michigan State advance to the 2005 national championship game.
 
Delaware, one of a Colonial Athletic Association-record three teams in the NCAA tournament, was confident entering the game because they twice beat Hofstra, which won at Michigan State last November.
 
That may have given the Blue Hens a boost early in the game, adding some energy to their aggressive defense that gave opponents problems all season.
 
Delaware scored 11 points off turnovers in the first half, accounting for more than half its points, but shooting worse than 20 percent in the first half hurt its hopes for an upset.
Despite struggling offensively, Michigan State led 25-20 at halftime.
 
Bill Laimbeer, coach of the WNBA’s Detroit Shock, and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo were among the 6,780 faces in the crowd.
Michigan State-Delaware Postgame Notes
Michigan State improved to 6-1 all-time in NCAA First Round games.
 
Sophomore Mia Johnson hit the 100th 3-pointer of her career with her third trifecta of the game … Johnson hit 64 as a freshman at Saint Louis in 2004-05 and has 36 this year … She finished 3-for-5 from behind the arc.
 
Johnson and freshman Allyssa DeHaan led the Spartans with 13 points … The Spartans are 6/5-0/1 when Johnson leads the team in scoring.
 
Five Spartans scored in double-figures with Johnson and DeHaan scoring 13, senior Victoria Lucas-Perry adding 12, senior Rene Haynes scoring 11 and sophomore Aisha Jefferson scoring 10 … It was the eighth time this year at least four Spartans finished in double digits.
 
Senior Myisha Bannister posted her first career points in the NCAA Tournament on a traditional 3-point play at the 14:03 mark of the first half … The senior from Cleveland, Ohio had seen action in two previous tournament games, last coming in the NCAA Championship game vs. Baylor on April 5, 2005.
 
DeHaan clinched the NCAA Division I freshman record for blocks in a season, as she blocked six shots to increase her total to 144 this season … Xavier’s freshman Amber Harris blocked three shots in the Muskateers’ 65-52 loss to West Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night to finish her season with 136.
 
The Spartans shattered their previous best in the NCAA Tournament by recording 11 blocked shots … The previous best was seven set against Alcorn State in the first round of the 2005 tournament.
 
It took DeHaan just eight minutes to tie the school record for blocks in an NCAA Tournament by recording three swats in the first seven minutes … She posted her fourth at the 8:43 mark of the first half … Paula Sanders, Kristen Rasmussen, Liz Shimek and Kelli Roehrig all previously held the mark.
 
DeHaan set the school’s NCAA Tournament career record with her six blocked shots, passing Liz Shimek’s mark of five set in 12 games from 2003-06.
 
Junior Laura Hall, who has been hampered by a foot injury all season, scored her first points since Feb. 18 at Ohio State with a traditional three-point play at the 10:28 mark of the second half to give Michigan State a 50-36 lead.
 
Sophomore Aisha Jefferson finished with 7 rebounds … She has had at least six rebounds in four career NCAA Tournament games.
 
The Spartans are now 19-1 when leading at halftime … 18-4 when MSU scores first … 11-2 when scoring 60-69 points in a game … 11-3 when State plays on Sunday … and 18-1 when outrebounding their opponent.
 
Alison Bales of Duke opened the NCAA Tournament with five blocks against Holy Cross, staying one ahead of DeHaan for the national lead.
 
 
Michigan State Post-Game Quotes
 
Michigan State Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie
Opening Statement…
“I thought it was a great game, a very scrappy game, there were some kinks that we had to work out in the first half most definitely.  Delaware is a very good team, they have very nice players, they play very hard, and I loved how our team fought, especially in the second half in terms of the rebounding and just the way we shared the basketball, the way we attacked and the composure we kept as Delaware continued to press and do some things they like to do, it was a nice team victory, and I was happy about the rebounds, and I think we got a little bit better and excited about Tuesday night.”
 
On the role of Mia Johnson…
“She leads by her effort, her fight; she does a lot for us defensively. She keeps getting better, she’s one of our greatest competitors, an in your face kind of kid, and that energy really does affect the other team members, and that way she’s incredible valuable to what we do.”
 
On the two week lay-off between games…
“Yeah I was concerned about 14 days, that’s a long time, and I think you just have to be ready for anything.”
 
On possible second round match-up with Rutgers…
“Well they are a great team, winning a championship and defeating Connecticut like they did, they are fantastic.  Not too many weaknesses on that team.”
 
Michigan State Senior Guard Victoria Lucas-Perry
On the first half offensive struggles…
“I don’t think there was any one thing you could contribute it to. I think what we’re focused on is getting second shots. Because any night, whether we have a lay off or we play a game two days before, you can have an off shooting night. So I think that what’s important was the fact that we were able to get offensive rebounds better in the second half and really get second chance points.”
 
On playing in the Breslin…
“The crowd was great. They were really into it, really loud. And being in your own locker room, that’s kind of fun, just a sense of familiarity. It was just fun overall knowing that so many people that live close can come watch you play and support you. I think that was definitely the best part about it.”
 
Michigan State Senior Forward Aisha Jefferson
On the Delaware defense…
“I think at first we were just kind of rushing because of the pressure and then in the second half I thought we did better with that. They had a lot of good defensive pressure and they’re a scrappy team. We needed to take care of the ball more and you could see that was our turnovers and we wanted to do better on that.”
 
 
 
 
Michigan State Freshman Center Allyssa DeHaan
On the defensive performance…
“Defense wins games and tonight we were just focused, together and communicating. We had to stop certain players and we made the big defensive plays on the end when our offense wasn’t going as smooth as we like. That’s where it started and that with rebounding was what won the game.”
 
On the rebounding margin…
“It’s all about heart, going after the boards and you just have to go at it and attack it. There’s no technical reason why we got more boards in the second half than in the first half, it’s just about going after it and being aggressive.”
 
On her first NCAA Tournament…
“It’s great. I haven’t had anything to compare it to and it’s great just to be able to come out at home, especially with great fans and just being here, the whole comfortable level of it. We’re having a blast and we got a great win tonight and we’re ready for Tuesday and everybody’s excited.”

 
Props to Joe Gustina the MSU SID.