EAST LANSING, MICH. – For three quarters, the Gophers women’s basketball stayed just ahead or just behind Michigan State on Thursday night at the Breslin Center — a place they have not won since 2009.
Then the fourth quarter came and the Spartans pulled away, winning 85-69 to end the Gophers’ modest winning streak at two and to sweep their season series.
Branndais Agee scored 30 points — eight more than her previous high — and Tori Jankoska 24 to lead Michigan State (17-9, 7-6 Big Ten). Each of the made six three-pointers.
The Spartans led only 61-55 after three quarters before outscoirng the Gophers by 10 over the final 10 minutes.
“The quarter which really got us was the fourth,” Gophers coach Marlene Stollings said in a postgame radio interview. “Defensivley we did not get out to Agee and Jankoska. .... We never shut them down. They essentially had two kids that light it up.
“We got close on some of [their shots], but not close enough. … And they were picking on some of our freshmen.”
The Gophers’ leading scorer was backup center Jessie Edwards, who had 14 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes. Normally high-scoring guards Carlie Wagner and Kenisha Bell were held to 13 and eight points, respectively.
“Carlie had a lot of good looks, but her shots were not falling,” Stollings said. “I thought she settled for too many jumpers.
“Jessie — it was a big night for her ... and we got solid production from the five position, just not enough guard scoring with Kiki [Bell] and Carlie.”
Wagner shot 4-for-16 from the floor, including 1-for-7 on threes. Bell went 3-for-11.
The Gophers (14-13, 5-9) were only 3-for-15 (20 percent) from behind the arc, the Spartans 13-for-30 (43.3 percent).
That made up for the difference at the foul line. The Gophers were 24-for-32 on free throws, the Spartans 6-for-11.
Michigan State used a closing 10-0 run to take a 37-35 lead at halftime. The Gophers made four turnovers in that stretch and Agee scored five points,.
“You’ve got to do it both halves,” said Stollings, whose Gophers were tied at halftime in their first game against Michigan State this season but lost 93-74 at Williams Arena on Jan. 30.