7:00 PM ET, December 30, 2005
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Victoria Lucas-Perry and her Michigan State teammates showed they've learned a lesson about toughness.Victoria Lucas-Perry scored 16 points and Liz Shimek added 14 to help the 10th-ranked Spartans beat Central Michigan 75-50 Friday night for their 19th straight home win.Freshman reserve Lauren Aitch had a career-high 12 points and five rebounds in 16 minutes to help Michigan State (10-3) bounce back from a 20-point loss at No. 3 LSU on Wednesday."All our losses have been winable," Lucas-Perry said of games against Top 10 teams. "It's a matter of us getting tougher. And balance is one of the keys to that. When a team can't focus on a go-to player, it's always better for us."Lucas-Perry scored at least 14 points for her fourth straight game, and had a team-high six assists, no turnovers and four steals in just 23 minutes."It was a great game to play a lot of people, have a balanced attack and get past the Christmas blahs," Michigan State coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "Coming off a bitter loss at LSU, this game was really about us."Shimek, the Big Ten's No. 1 scorer and No. 2 rebounder, bounced back from a rough outing to shoot 6-for-7 from the field. Still, she was far from satisfied."We've really gotten away from being the blue-collar team we've always been," Shimek said. "We've got to come out and make the hustle plays to win the Big Ten, And to outrebound a team by five the way we did tonight is unacceptable."Casey Manning led the Chippewas (9-2) with 15 points, seven assists and six steals but committed eight turnovers. Chasidy Myers had 12 points."Michigan State is a fine basketball team, no doubt about it," Central Michigan coach Eileen Kleinfelter said. "We're proud of what they've done for our state. Our only regret is not playing our style of ball at the start of the game."The Spartans tuned up for Sunday's Big Ten opener against visiting Michigan by hitting their first seven shots and building a 22-11 advantage on a night they honored Kristin Haynie, last year's All-America point guard now playing in the WNBA.The lead grew to 38-22 at halftime, as Central Michigan committed 17 of its 29 turnovers before the break. Michigan State led 62-31 midway through the second half.The Spartans shot 58.8 percent from the field, 45.5 percent from 3-point range and made all 10 free throws. But they were sloppy, too, committing a season-high 27 turnovers."We have to do better than that," Lucas-Perry said. "Seeing the kind of teams we've seen so far, we know we're not going to play anyone better than that. And beating Michigan here Sunday would mean a lot. It would say we're ready to send a message."