2:30 PM ET, March 19, 2005
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Michigan State has its defense and rebounding down. Now the Spartans can go to work on their offense and taking care of the ball.No. 1-seeded Michigan State struggled with turnovers and tepid shooting early but then got going in the second half behind Liz Shimek and beat Alcorn State 73-41 on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament."In the second half we picked it up right from the start and never looked back," guard Lindsay Bowen said. "It was just a solid win."Still, the Spartans (29-3) will have to play better if they want to live up to their top seed and get to the Final Four, especially at the start of games. While they were never in danger of losing, it took awhile for the Big Ten champions to turn the game into the blowout that had been anticipated.In its two previous NCAA Tournament appearances, Alcorn State (21-9) had lost to No. 1 seeds by margins of 49 and 42 points. But the Lady Braves trailed just 30-17 at halftime, and it would have been even closer if they had made one of the three good shots they missed on the final possession of the half.Michigan State finally got into a flow after halftime and started the second half with a 16-3 run, ending Alcorn State's hopes of keeping it respectable."We're going to take the positives and run with it and get ready for Monday," Michigan State coach Joanne P. McCallie said.Michigan State ran its winning streak to 13 with its 17th victory in the last 18 games and will play eighth-seeded Southern California in the second round of the Kansas City Regional on Monday night. USC advanced with a 65-49 victory over Louisville.One of the positives for the Spartans was a whopping 62-29 rebounding edge, which made their 20 turnovers a little easier to take. There were plenty of rebounds available because Alcorn State shot just 23.4 percent (15-for-64)."We knew we had a height advantage," said Kelli Roehrig, the Spartans' burly 6-foot-4 center. "It was just a matter of us attacking all night. We had to attack and run the floor."Shimek worked free for two layups and a jumper in the first four minutes of the second half to get Michigan State going and finished with 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting and 13 rebounds. Roehrig, added 12 points and eight rebounds, while Rene Haynes and Victoria Lucas-Perry each scored 10.Kristin Haynie contributed six points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals.Shikhia Sims' 11 points led Alcorn State and Tnonealyer Powers added 10 for the Lady Braves, who had quickness but not the size to keep up with their taller opponent on the boards."We missed some easy, easy baskets that were very disappointing to me," Alcorn State coach Shirley Walker said. "I don't know why we rushed because we were right down there in the paint. That was a weakness on our part."Michigan State was playing for the first time in 12 days and the rust was evident. The Spartans were sloppy with their passing and off the mark when they did get a shot, missing nine of their first 13.More than 10 minutes went by before Michigan State had more baskets than turnovers. With six minutes left in the first half, after the Spartans had thrown the ball away for their ninth turnover, McCallie motioned both hands toward the floor and implored, "Settle down. Settle down.""I thought it was a reflection of our intensity on defense and it was a frenzy on defense," she said. "When you haven't played for a while, it's hard to turn that frenzy down a notch on offense."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||16-61 (.262)||33-65 (.508)|
|3P Made-Attempted||4-12 (.333)||6-17 (.353)|
|FT Made-Attempted||8-15 (.533)||4-7 (.571)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||8 (0/0)||13 (0/0)|