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Posted on Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

Eastern Michigan women's basketball team loses overtime game at Michigan State

By Staff

The Eastern Michigan women’s basketball team led Michigan State by 14 points midway through the second half before the Spartans rallied for a 60-59 overtime win at the Breslin Center on Saturday.

Michigan State junior Jasmine Thomas hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left in the second half to tie the game and the Eagles’ Tavelyn James missed a potential game-winning jumper in the final seconds of overtime.

“You don’t like to walk away with moral victories, but I thought we really deserved this game,” Eastern Michigan coach AnnMarie Gilbert told “For 44 minutes, I thought we outplayed them.”

Gilbert, a former Michigan State assistant, was making her first appearance at the Breslin Center as a head coach. On the other sideline was Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant, who led the EMU program from 1998-2007.

Merchant said her Spartans may have been a little emotionally drained from its 76-60 loss to No. 9 Miami (Fla.) on Friday, leading to Eastern Michigan’s 22-17 halftime lead.

“Credit our kids for getting after it in the second half and coming to life but it was a disappointing performance for sure,” Merchant said. “We had a one day turnaround from an emotional game against a top-10 team and a one-day prep.

“These are Super Bowl games for mid-major teams and we have another one coming in on Tuesday (Detroit-Mercy), so it's not going to get any easier.”

The Eagles had their own first-half struggles. James, the team’s leading scorer, was held without a point during the first 20 minutes. Eastern Michigan opened the second half on a 20-11 run to take a 42-28 lead.

“We matched them bucket-for-bucket,” Gilbert said. “I was really proud of them and what they did, (especially) without Tavelyn scoring - I mean, Tavelyn had zero in the first half and our kids had the lead. And we probably could have had a bigger lead.”

James still finished with a game-high 19 points, including a layup with 28 seconds left in overtime that pulled the Eagles within 60-59. An MSU turnover gave Eastern Michigan a chance to win. James played for the final shot, but was not able to get off a clean look.

EMU’s Paige Redditt finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out less than a minute into overtime.

That was a turning point for Gilbert, who said “we have Paige Redditt, I think we would have won this game.”

Senior Lykendra Johnson had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Michigan State. Thomas added 13 points and freshman Kiana Johnson finished with 10 points and four assists.