Michigan State overcomes seven-point halftime deficit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- What a great day to be a Spartan.

Shortly after Michigan State reached the men's Final Four with a double-overtime victory over Kentucky, Kristin Haynie led the women's team into the Kansas City Regional final with the second triple-double in team history.

The 5-foot-8 senior had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to help the top-seeded Spartans beat Vanderbilt 76-64 on Sunday.

Haynie, who had just two points in the first half, also had two steals to increase her team record to 107.

"I didn't realize it until after I looked back to see how I did," Haynie said of her rare triple-double. "It all comes from the rest of the team. We all got a triple-double tonight."

Coach Joanne P. McCallie had said she hoped her team could take energy from the Michigan State men.

"I'm so happy for the men," Haynie said. "We wanted to start playing Michigan State basketball. We needed some energy out there."

Michigan State quickly erased a 37-30 halftime deficit by scoring 18 of the first 21 points of the second half.

"I'm so proud of our team and their second-half effort," McCallie said. "It really was incredible."

The only other triple-double in the Spartans' 32-year history was by Kim Archer, who had 16 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds against Northwestern on March 8, 1984.

"A triple-double is not a very common occurrence," McCallie said. "But more than that, it was her heart and her leadership that really made a difference for our team."

Liz Shimek, Michigan's top scorer who was held without a point in the first half, got the second-half surge started with a layup. Lindsay Bowen followed with a long 3-pointer.

Rene Haynes stole a pass and drove in for a bucket, and the stunned Commodores (24-8) could not regroup until the Michigan State lead reached 57-44 on Laura Hall's second straight basket.

"The beginning of the second half, we came out flat, me in particular," Vanderbilt forward Ashley Earley said. "We were rushing shots. Turnovers, I think, that was the difference."

Dee Davis finally stopped the Michigan State surge when she hit a 3 for Vanderbilt with 9:40 left. But the Spartans made 18-of-29 second-half shots, and the closest the Commodores came until the final minute was 61-55 when Earley hit two free throws at 6:29.

Haynie quickly got the lead back into double figures with a six-footer that made it 69-58.

Nevertheless, Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb felt the Commodores could still recover.

"I thought we could still win and I know my players did," she said. "That's the belief system we have. We've won a lot of games coming back."

Carla Thomas, Vanderbilt's 6-foot-3 power forward, had 16 points in the first half but only six in the second. Her reverse layup got the Commodores to 69-64 with 39.5 seconds left but Michigan State scored the final seven points en route to its school-record 15th straight win.

"We played ugly in the first half," Haynie said. "Our defense played horrible. We wanted to focus on defense and rebounds."

Thomas, who usually works inside with Earley, popped in a succession of 12- and 15-footers to help the fifth-seeded Commodores get off to a surprisingly fast start. Vanderbilt led by as many as 10 in the first half as Shimek, the Spartans' 6-2 junior who scored 32 points in opening-round games over Alcorn State and
Southern California, went scoreless.

Vanderbilt's Abi Ramsey, who broke three school records for 3-point shooting this season, was 2-for-3 from beyond the arc in the first half but 0-for-3 in the second.

With their usual balanced attack, Kelli Roehrig had 18 points for the Spartans while Bowen had 14 and Haynes 12.

Thomas had 22 for Vanderbilt and Earley added 15.