ORLANDO, Fla. -- Kalisha Keane and Brittney Thomas each scored 14 points, leading Michigan State (No. 25 AP) to a 59-51 victory over Western Kentucky in the first round of the UCF Thanksgiving Classic on Friday.
Jasmine Thomas added 12 for Michigan State (4-1), which hit 57 percent (13 of 23) of its shots in the second half after making only 34 percent (11 of 32) in the first.
The Spartans led 30-21 at halftime.
Senior guard Amy McNear collected 12 points and seven rebounds in her season debut for Western Kentucky (0-4) following a three-game suspension violating team rules. The team's leading scorer last year was suspended for three games because of a violation of team rules.
Sophomore transfer Janae Howard added 10 points and Arnika Brown had eight points and 10 rebounds for the Hilltoppers, who committed 25 turnovers
The Spartans led by as many as 13 points after three lead changes en route to a 30-21 advantage at halftime, helped by 29-percent shooting (9 of 31) by the Hilltoppers.
Michigan State will take on Richmond on Saturday. Western Kentucky will face host Central Florida.