8:00 PM ET, November 18, 2005
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Liz Shimek didn't waste time or shots in Michigan State's season-opening win.Shimek was 10-for-13 from the field and scored a game-high 26 points as the Spartans (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today; No. 10 AP) used a 27-4 start to beat UC Santa Barbara 86-55 Friday.Lindsay Bowen added 16 points, Victoria Lucas-Perry 15 and Rene Haynes 14 for the Spartans, who lost to Baylor in the NCAA championship game last April."After the way we played in our second exhibition game [an 84-77 win over Grand Valley State], we knew we had to play better if we wanted to go anywhere," Shimek said. "For us, that means defense. I don't worry about how many shots I get."Michigan State coach Joanne P. McCallie said Shimek was the dominant force and her teammates followed her lead."Liz is her own cat," McCallie said. "She just keeps getting better and better every time she's out there. But 10-for-13? She didn't get the ball enough. And that's on her coach."UCSB (0-1), favored to win its 11th straight Big West title, was led by Jenna Green with 17 points and Erin O'Bryan with 13. It was the Gauchos' first loss in an opener since 1994."I thought Michigan State looked pretty good tonight," UCSB coach Mark French said. "Their transition offense surprised me, especially with Bowen converted to point guard this year. But Shimek is a great player."Michigan State dominated from the tip with alternating zone and pressure defenses and solid rebounding. But 11 of the Spartans' 19 turnovers helped UCSB draw within 40-30 in the last minute of the first half.Another surge, keyed by 53-percent field-goal shooting to the Gauchos' 25 percent, put the game out of reach and gave Michigan State its seventh straight opening win."That's my role now, to push the ball," Bowen said. "After the exhibition game, we wanted to play a lot better on offense and defense. And it helps that Liz and I have lived together since we came in as freshmen. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses."The Spartans, pushing the ball upcourt at every opportunity, finished with 53 percent accuracy and 19 assists. Michigan State also had a 44-32 rebounding advantage.Shimek and Laura Hall each had seven rebounds, one less than UCSB's Kat Suderman.
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