Spartans blow 26-point second-half lead

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State coach Joanne P. McCallie thought her players were trying to be too pretty.

"We had a lot of Barbie dolls out there tonight," McCallie said after the ninth-ranked Spartans beat Wisconsin 74-66 on Thursday night for their best start in school history.

If not for Liz Shimek's 22 points and nine rebounds, it might have turned out differently.

Michigan State (14-2, 3-1 Big Ten) led just 33-30 at halftime but then built a 26-point cushion before letting the Badgers back in the game in the final 8:01.

"Liz Shimek was our one player who came ready to play," McCallie said. "Everyone else attacked, then ate pizza, attacked, then went on vacation. We were on-again, off-again. I was impressed with how feisty Wisconsin played."

The Badgers (6-8, 1-4) were led by Jolene Anderson's 16 points and might have had a shot at an upset if not for 11 first-half turnovers and 13.3 percent 3-point shooting.

"I thought we had chances to be even better," Badgers coach Lisa Stone said after her team shot 50 percent to Michigan State's 43.8 percent. "But that's a very tough team we played. Shimek and Kelli Roehrig are very good inside."

Shimek was 9-for-15 and showed her inside-outside versatility with five offensive rebounds, four assists and three steals.

"We all need to realize what can happen when we go all out," Shimek said. "Instead, we stopped for some coffee, and we can't be that kind of team.

"We let them back in it a couple of times, then said, 'Oh, I guess we can pour it on now,' instead of playing Michigan State basketball," she said.

Despite those lapses, Roehrig and Lindsay Bowen had 14 points each and reserve Rene Haynes added 11 in the Spartans' seventh straight win at home.

Michigan State started fast in each half -- 10-2 to open the game and 14-4 after the break -- but needed an 18-2 surge midway through the second half to put Wisconsin away.

"That's not the kind of team we want to be," Haynes said after starring in the last second-half spurt. "Everyone has to be ready to play 40 minutes -- the starters and anyone who comes off the bench. You can see what happens when we really pour it on."

The Spartans also benefited from a 36-30 edge on the boards and 5-for-6 long-range shooting in the second half -- including Bowen's 3-for-3 from behind the arc.

Kristin Haynie added nine points, five assists and four steals for Michigan State, while Stephanie Rich had 10 assists, seven rebounds and three steals for the Badgers.