LINCOLN, Neb. – A ferocious fourth-quarter comeback was not enough as the Michigan State women’s basketball team fell to Nebraska in Lincoln Sunday, 82-71. The Spartans battled back in the fourth quarter, out-scoring the Huskers in the period, but were unable to complete the comeback. In the loss, senior center Jenna Allen became the 27th Spartan women’s basketball player to reach the 1,000-point mark. Allen was just shy of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds in the loss.
Michigan State now stands to 17-8 overall and 7-7 in Big Ten action, while Nebraska improves to 12-14 overall and 7-8 in league play.
For the fifth-straight game, the Spartans were led by junior guard Shay Colley, who scored 17 points to go along with a team-high three assists. Redshirt-junior forward Victoria Gaines also reached double figures for MSU with 13 points and seven boards. Freshman guard Nia Clouden and junior guard Taryn McCutcheon both added three steals apiece.
Nebraska used the long ball to stop Michigan State, shooting 50 percent (12-for-24) from beyond the arc. Nebraska had five players in double figures led by 16 points from Hannah Whitish. Leigha Brown was 4-for-5 from long range to score 14 points.
The Huskers got off to a fast start, jumping out to an early 8-2 advantage. Nebraska was able to force four Spartan turnovers in the first four minutes of action. Clouden was strong early on for MSU on both ends of the court, scoring the first five Spartan points and being active on the defensive end. Nebraska made five 3-pointers in the quarter and led 27-18 after the first 10 minutes.
In the second stanza, the Huskers jumped out to as big a lead as 18 points. The Spartans held Nebraska scoreless for over three minutes and trimmed the Husker advantage to 35-24, but Nebraska followed with an 8-0 run to make the score 42-24. Michigan State was held to only eight points in the second quarter. The Huskers were dangerous from long range in the first half, going 8-from-14 from beyond the arc.
The Spartans kept fighting throughout the third quarter. Michigan State used a 9-0 run to cut it to 50-37. Colley was the leader for MSU in the third period scoring seven points.
Michigan State scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter, cutting the Nebraska advantage to 64-48. The first 11 points of the period for the Spartans all came from redshirt-sophomore forward Mardrekia Cook and Colley. MSU used a 7-0 run to get to a 10-point deficit 67-57 with 5:39 remaining in the period. A Gaines hard-fought layup got the gap to single-digits momentarily at 67-59, before Nebraska responded with a 6-0 run to put the game out of reach for the hard-charging Spartans. MSU never gave up in the final stanza, out-scoring Nebraska, 30-20.
After a tough three-game week, Michigan State returns home to the Breslin Center for a pair of home games. The Spartans will take on Ohio State on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. on the Big Ten Network. MSU will then celebrate Senior Day on Sunday, Feb. 24 against in-state rival Michigan at 2 p.m. on ESPN2.
Post-Game Notes vs. Nebraska
• With 13 points on Sunday, senior center Jenna Allen became the 27th player in Spartan history to reach the 1,000 career points milestone. She now has 1,007 career points in her four years in the Michigan State green and white.
• MSU’s starting lineup of junior guards Shay Colley and Taryn McCutcheon, sophomore forward Sidney Cooks, freshman guard Nia Clouden and senior forward Jenna Allen was the seventh-straight time this season that the Spartans have started with that quintet.
• McCutcheon made her 25th start of the season and 90th of her career … Allen also notched her 25th start of the season and 53rd of her career … Colley started for the 18th time this season and made the 40th start of her career … Clouden posted her 25th start of the season … Cooks made her seventh start of the season and 29th of her career.
• Allen, McCutcheon and Clouden have started all 25 games this season and are joined by junior forward Victoria Gaines in playing all 25 games.
• The 17 points by redshirt-junior guard Shay Colley on Sunday was also her 15th double-figure outing of the season and 28th of her career. In three games this week, she has averaged 24.3 points per game.
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