INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Michigan State stopped Minnesota's strong
inside tandem, and Liz Shimek scored 15 points in a 55-49 victory
Monday night that gave the seventh-ranked Spartans their first Big
Ten tournament title.
The Spartans (28-3) set a school record by winning their 12th
straight game and got an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by
taking the lowest-scoring championship game in conference history.
The combined 104 points, eclipsed the 108 scored in 1998, when
Purdue beat Penn State 59-49.
Shimek also led the Spartans with eight rebounds and had three
"We knew coming in that they had two go-to post players,"
Shimek said. "We just really played them."
Michigan State, which used a closing 13-2 run to ensure the
outcome, got its sixth straight victory over Minnesota
(24-7), and did so in uncharacteristic fashion.
Janel McCarville, one of the Big Ten's most dominant players,
was a dismal 1-for-17 and finished with just two points.
Jamie Broback led Minnesota (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today; No. 12 AP) with 18 points -- all in the second
half. Broback (26 points) and McCarville (21.5) entered the game as
the tournament's top scorers.
The Spartans shut out both players in the first half but could
not pull away after scoring just seven points in the final 11:47.
"I think you're never satisfied but this is what you work for
all year long," Michigan State coach Joanne P. McCallie said as
her players cut down the nets.
Broback got the Gophers started in the second half by scoring
all eight points in an opening 8-3 surge and seven points in a 9-0
run that gave Minnesota a 39-34 lead with 11:46 to go.
But the Spartans rallied, tying the score at 49 on Shimek's
15-footer with 3:52 to go, taking the lead on another 15-footer by
Shimek and shutting out Minnesota for the last 4:17.
Michigan State's Kristin Haynie was chosen as the tournament's
most outstanding player after averaging 12 points in three
victories. She had six points, five rebounds and two assists
against the Gophers.
"They made plays," McCallie said as her players cut down the
nets. "Kristin and Kelli [Roehrig] have grown so much in four
years. They know where they are and they know what they can do."
McCarville had 12 rebounds and three assists.