Lykendra Johnson's double-double leads Michigan State

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan coach Kevin Borseth knew exactly why his Wolverines couldn't beat Michigan State (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) on Sunday.

"Every time Michigan State came down the floor, we basically had to stop them twice," Borseth said after a 63-56 loss. "If they missed the first shot, they would get an offensive rebound and put up another one. It's tough to play like that."

The Spartans (15-1, 3-0 Big Ten) had 17 offensive rebounds to Michigan's 17 defensive rebounds, and had a 24-7 advantage on the other end.

Lykendra Johnson was the biggest reason for Michigan State's domination of the glass. She finished with 17 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive glass, to go along with 17 points.

"She was a warrior out there," said Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant. "Lykendra just has a really high IQ when it comes to rebounding. She knows where to go for the ball, and she's also a great athlete. A lot of players have that understanding of where the ball is going to be, but they don't have the quickness to get there or the power to get the ball. She has all of that."

Brittney Thomas scored 13 and Kalisha Keane added 12 for Michigan State, which has won 13 straight since losing 78-52 to Baylor on Nov. 19. The Spartans also extended their winning streak over Michigan to eight games.

"We knew this was going to be a tough one, because there is always such emotion in these games," Merchant said. "Michigan's been playing well, and they made it tough on us."

Veronica Hicks led Michigan (9-7, 2-2) with 20, but missed two key free throws in the final minute, including the front end of a one-and-one.

"We lost this game because we made too many mental errors, and a lot of those were mine," said Hicks, who also had four turnovers.

The Wolverines beat three straight top-25 teams, but couldn't get a fourth in a row.

"There were too many times when we came down the floor and just threw the ball into press row," Borseth said. "When you are playing a team like Michigan State, you can't have unforced errors."

Both teams struggled in the first half of a game that started at noon. Michigan State led 27-22 at the half despite 14 turnovers. The Spartans caused 11 turnovers and were strong on the boards at both ends of the floor.

Michigan State led 41-34 with 10 minutes to play, but the Wolverines scored the next five points. Johnson ended the surge with a 3-point play, and Taylor Alton gave the Spartans an eight-point lead with a 3-pointer.

"We had a chance to tie, but we just couldn't get a tip-in off a missed free throw," Borseth said. "That could have changed the rest of the game."

Michigan State led by as many as 11, then held off a late Wolverine surge. Thomas iced the victory by hitting six straight free throws in the final 45 seconds.

"Brittney has been in that position before, and she has always come through for us," Keane said. "We had the utmost confidence that she would do it again."