for this game

Defense helps No. 16 Spartans beat Indiana 53-44

Jan 3, 2010 - 8:35 PM By MICHAEL MAROT AP Sports Writer

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.(AP) -- Michigan State's Allyssa DeHaan saw her team struggling Sunday against Indiana.

So the 6-foot-9 center did her thing.

After moving into second place on the career blocks list, the senior scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the final 20 minutes, leading No. 16 Michigan State to a 53-44 victory.

"I'm a shot blocker, that's what I have to do for my team," DeHaan said. "(Offensively) it took us a while to get into a flow. But I'm a good shooter from outside, and we just had to get something. So I had to do what I do."

DeHaan finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. It was just her second double-double of the season, and it couldn't have come at a better time for the Spartans (11-4, 2-2 Big Ten), who have won seven straight in Bloomington and 87 in a row when holding opponents under 50 points.

On Sunday, they needed every contribution DeHaan could provide.

Michigan State came into the game scoring 73.4 points, second in the conference, but produced two new season-lows Sunday - fewest points in a half, 17, and fewest points in a game.

It was even worse than that.

The Spartans opened the game going 1 of 15 from the field and were 1 of 13 from 3-point range in the first half. Yes, the Spartans were better in the second half, but they still shot only 29.3 percent from the field for the game, 15.8 percent from beyond the arc and finished with more turnovers (20) than baskets (17).

DeHaan bailed them out by connecting on 5 of 13 shots and all five of her free throws, and after getting shut out in the blocks category against Wisconsin and Michigan, she was true to form on defense, too.

DeHaan now has 449 career blocks, two more than IUPUI's Brooke McAfee, whom she passed by swatting away Jori Davis' layup with 5:18 left in the first half. The only Division I player with more blocks than DeHaan is TCU's Sandora Irvin with 480.

"She should be up there," coach Suzy Merchant said. "She's 6-9, she's in the middle of the paint, she should change a lot of shots. It's good for her, we need her to do that for us."

Indiana (8-6, 1-2) shot just 23.8 percent from the field and was a dreadful 1 of 18 from 3-point range. It had an equal number of baskets and turnovers (15). Davis finished with 20 points and eight rebounds and Whitney Lindsay had 12 points.

"I thought we had a great game plan, we did all the things we needed to do and the shots just didn't fall. It's something that hasn't happened to us this season," Indiana coach Felisha Legette-Jack said. "We were wide open, I think you could hit a jump shot out there."

Early on, it looked like Indiana might sweep the season series against Michigan State, breaking to a 10-4 lead and taking a 20-17 halftime lead despite making only 3 of 17 shots over the final 12 minutes.

The Spartans had another plan.

After Merchant's pep talk, Indiana opened the second half by missing seven of eight shots, and the Spartans took advantage with an 11-2 run that made it 28-22 with 14:29 remaining.

Indiana rallied, closing to 31-28, before DeHaan took charge.

She scored the final five points in an 8-0 run that gave Michigan State a 39-28 lead with 8:16 to go, and the Hoosiers couldn't get closer than six the rest of the way.

"I don't think we raised the attendance figures or the ratings on the Big Ten Network, and it's frustrating because we just came off of a good effort against Michigan," Merchant said. "It seemed like a ho-hum effort in the first half, and if you want to be considered the best in the business, you have to perform night in and night out.

"We found a way. It wasn't pretty, it was kind of ugly."