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Posted on Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

Michigan women's baskeball snaps 12-game losing streak to Michigan State with 70-69 win

By Kyle Austin


Michigan players rush the floor after their 70-69 win over Michigan State Saturday.

Courtney Sacco |

Updated at 3:30 p.m.

There’s been no shortage of streaks stopped and records broken for this Michigan women’s basketball senior class.

The team got off to its best start in program history this year, was ranked for the first time in a decade. Sunday, it won at Purdue for the first time in 15 years.

Saturday at the Crisler Center, the team added one more accomplishment to that list: beating Michigan State. And the result had senior guard Jenny Ryan standing alone with her hands raised near the block “M” moments after the game ended.


“I just think it was kind of a culmination of four years, a lot of feelings and emotion coming out,” Ryan said. “It was one of the goals that our senior class had. It was a sense of relief and a ‘Finally’ moment.”

Michigan went on a run midway through the second half and held on late to top Michigan State, 70-69, snapping a 12-game losing streak to the Spartans that stretched back five years. The game marked just Michigan’s second win over MSU in their last 22 meetings.

“It’s great to break the streak, and if anyone deserves to do it it’s our senior class because of what they’ve been able to accomplish since they stepped on campus,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said.

The win came six days after Michigan beat No. 13 Purdue on the road, its first win in West Lafayette since 1998.

Ryan, the senior guard from Saginaw Nouvel, finished with a career-high 24 points. That included 14 in the second half, plus five assists, four steals and no turnovers.

“She played pretty much the entire game and didn’t have a turnover,” Barnes Arico said. “She was under pressure for 39 minutes, so I thought that was pretty incredible.”

Senior forward Kate Thompson also scored 20, including four 3-pointers, after scoring 22 points Sunday at Purdue.

After a back-and-forth game through the early minutes of the second half, Michigan went on a 10-2 run in a three-minute stretch midway through the half and never trailed agin.

Ryan scored eight of those points. The run started with an and-one from Ryan, and ended with a steal and a bucket followed by a 3 that put Michigan up six.

“I just think it just gave us confidence that we belong here, we can do it, we can score with them, we can make stops,” Ryan said of the streak.

The Wolverines led by as many as nine, before Michigan State fought back and the the deficit to one on a 3-pointer with two minutes left, and again on a Becca Mills free throw with 1:02 left.

But Wolverines forward Nya Jordan scored on Michigan’s next possession, and Ryan scored two free throws with 17 seconds left to put the Wolverines up by five.

The finish capped the Wolverines’ third straight win, following a four losses in five games stretch, in a game that started and ended well for Michigan.

Coming out of a timeout early in the first half, Michigan scored on four straight possessions -- two Thompson 3’s, plus a Ryan bucket and two Ryan free throws. The run gave Michigan led 17-8 with 12:26 left in the first half.

“When (Thompson) got it going, now all of a sudden it’s like everybody has confidence,” Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant said. “That’s what we tried to warn the kids about.”

Thompson, who set Michigan’s single-season 3-pointer record Sunday at Purdue, hit her first four shots, including three 3-pointers. One of those, with 14:20 left, came from on the center-court logo with a hand in her face as the shot clock expired.

“I actually told Kate when we were walking up here that some plays happen throughout a game when you know it’s going to be an OK day, and that was the play,” Ryan said. “So when she hit that I laughed at her and I smiled.”

After a MSU run, the Wolverines went into halftime down by four, but after quick buckets on their first two possessions of the second half were able to tie the game at 32.

In the days leading up to Saturday’s game, Barnes Arico tried to downplay the Michigan State matchup and the losing streak that went along with it.

But afterward, everyone could admit that breaking the streak was something that mattered plenty.

“We tried for the last couple of days not to make it about Michigan State, because I think our seniors kind of have a block in their head when you say Michigan State,” Barnes Arico said. “So we tried to make it about us and just about Michigan and about what we do.

“You could tell down the end, they were doing things that they don’t normally do because they had a refuse to lose attitude.”

Kyle Austin covers sports for He can be reached at or 734-623-2535. Follow him on Twitter @KAustin_AA.



Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 1:47 a.m.

Go BLue!!! I was there and what an exciting game. Barnes Arico is the real deal and so happy to have her. Suzy Merchant is very good also and has not lost to Michigan since she was snubbed by Bill Martin. He passed on her but sparty was smart enough to gain from our mistake. This should be quite the rivalry with these two coaches. Hopefully Blue can get the upper hand! Great game ladies!

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

Yes, I'm pleased we were able to draw KiBA to Michigan, though letting Suzy Merchant slip away (and, if you remember the '80s here, she has Tempie Brown on staff, who was one of the nicer, funnier players we ever had) was terrible. I hope this becomes a great (and more even) rivalry for both schools, just like it is for the men.


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 1:30 a.m.

Kyle, Great game and what a crowd, filling most of the lower bowl. Is there an estimate of the attendance? Two reasons for David Brandon appearing happy in the picture with coach.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 1:38 a.m.

How nice for you. You can have the luxury of a little personal space and the aesthetic of a more crowded, cramped audience around you. Still, uncomfortable for those of us who prefer good sight lines and wish to avoid the randomness of an unpleasant stranger in our personal spaces. It's definitely an impediment when considering whether to attend a game. And I've gone to a lot of games over the years, lately with my son. One question: the announcement was for a "sellout" of 5,800. Was that just marketing jibberish, or were people actually turned away because of love for the curtain of arbitrary misery?

Kyle Austin

Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 10:30 p.m.

Well my accommodations are the same either way, and I didn't notice any difference in the announcing. For me, I just prefer a smaller arena that's full to a larger arena that's half full.

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

I'm happy for the Wolverines. They've had two great victories after a tough mid-season slump and they're headed in the right direction. The curtain is sheer idiocy, though. It makes the announcer unintelligible. And it packs people together when it would be much more comfortable to spread out a little and gain better sight lines higher up. They did the same thing at Breslin this year (idiots spread out throughout the conference, apparently) where they get bigger crowds and it ruins the experience. I'd imagine for a reporter, still with a comfy area with desk room and a good sight line, it might seem like an improvement. For the real fans, it's a slap in the face.

Kyle Austin

Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 4:26 a.m.

Attendance was announced as a sellout of 5,800. This was my first time seeing the venue with the curtain down, and I'd say it definitely improved the atmosphere.


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 12:38 a.m.

This was a game of shifting momentum. Michigan showed energy and focus early in the first half and took a lead. Then the energy and focus shifted to MSU and they went into half-time with a lead. Finally, mid-way through the second half, Michigan found its energy and focus again which lasted long enough to produce the win. When you consider some of the easy shots that did not drop the Michigan win should have been by a larger margin. But a win-is-a-win and a win over the Spartans is especially sweet!

Kyle Austin

Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 4:29 a.m.

When Michigan went up 9, you knew Michigan State would be making a comeback. Only question was if Michigan could hold on, and it did.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 7:02 p.m.

Way to go!