<
>

Spartans start fast, hold off Northern Illinois in win

CANCUN, Mexico (AP) -- Allyssa DeHaan scored 17 points to lead Michigan State (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) to a 67-40 victory over Northern Illinois on Wednesday in the opening game of the Caribbean Challenge.

Kalisha Keane added 15 points and Alisa Wulff 11 for the Spartans (3-1), who bounced back from a 64-41 loss to LSU last week in the preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament.

"We really beat ourselves in that game," said Spartans coach Suzy Merchant. "LSU is a great team, no doubt, but we did not play very well. This was a chance for us to come out and redeem ourselves."

The Spartans opened the game with a 26-1 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Wulff with 6:17 left in the first half. DeHaan, a 6-foot-9 sophomore center, scored eight of her points during the surge.

Kylie York had 14 points for Northern Illinois (2-2), which closed the first half on a 10-3 run and got within 35-23 early in the second half. But the bigger, stronger Spartans dominated on the boards and slowly pulled away.

"Any victory is a good victory," Merchant said. "We need to keep working. Our kids played hard. We won the defensive battle on the boards, that was the key."

Michigan State will play again Thursday against Kansas State.