EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Victoria Lucas-Perry knew it wasn't
her team's best victory, but she said Michigan State will skip the
blame game and concentrate on postseason challenges.
The 20th-ranked Spartans (22-7, 13-3 Big Ten) were outhustled
Sunday in a 57-50 win over Minnesota. That didn't affect their
confidence or their No. 3 seed in the conference tournament.
"There was a lot of positive emotion for Senior Day,"
Lucas-Perry said after leading her team with 13 points in her final
regular-season home game. "But the two things we had to do --
rebound and take care of the ball -- didn't get done. We have to
find a way to bring it now. And we will."
The Golden Gophers (15-14, 7-9) were led by 6-foot freshman
guard Korinne Campbell's career-high 17 rebounds and Emily Fox's 15
points. Minnesota also had a whopping 50-33 advantage in rebounds,
but 30-percent shooting from the field in each half cost the
Gophers an upset and a .500 league mark.
"I was proud of our kids' desire and heart for 40 minutes,"
Minnesota coach Pam Borton said. "It came down to the last four
minutes. You have to give Michigan State credit for going 8-for-8
at the foul line down the stretch. But we knew rebounding would be
the key for us."
When Campbell finished with as many rebounds as any three
Spartans, the visitors had a chance. But their 1-for-11 3-point
shooting and 19 turnovers let Michigan State escape.
The Spartans trailed 35-31 before a Lucas-Perry 3-pointer
triggered a 10-0 run midway through the second half. Alisa Wulff
gave her team the lead with a breakaway layup before Aisha
Jefferson hit a 19-foot jumper from the right corner and Mia
Johnson added a 3 from roughly the same spot.
"It was definitely a defensive battle, but I was appalled by
our lack of rebounding," Michigan State coach Joanne P. McCallie
said. "Rebounding is all about heart and hustle. For that young
lady, Miss Campbell, to have 17 rebounds, showed she had a lot more
heart and hustle than anyone on our team."
When the Gophers cut the deficit to 45-44 on a 3-pointer by Fox,
the Spartans answered with a three-point drive by Johnson and
protected that margin with free throws.
"How can you play that way?" McCallie said. "You can when you
don't have high goals for yourself and start to get satisfied.
Actually, we played a lot better today than we did Thursday at
Illinois, if you can picture that. But we have to play 40 minutes,
whatever team we play."
Allyssa DeHaan had eight points and eight blocked shots for
Michigan State. The 6-foot-9 freshman has 129 blocks this season,
seven shy of the Big Ten season mark.
"I still look at us as the team that won at Purdue and Ohio
State," senior Katrina Grantham said. "It's not that difficult to
focus and bring your 'A' game now that it's one-and-done time. But
to be satisfied in any game is a loser's mentality. All the games