ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — At the end of an up-and-back second half in which neither team had trouble scoring, Michigan State finally played a few minutes of solid defense.
That was enough for another win over Michigan.
Annalise Pickrel had 16 points and eight assists, and the Spartans outplayed the Wolverines down the stretch for a 79-72 victory. It was Michigan State's 14th win in the last 15 meetings between the rivals.
"I don't think our defense was spectacular today to be honest with you, but certainly we've been concentrating on it," Spartans coach Suzy Merchant said. "I did like our response. I thought defensively in the second half, we were a different team."
Especially toward the end.
The Wolverines (11-5, 2-1 Big Ten) tied it at 65 on a layup by Cyesha Goree with 4:24 to play. Then Michigan didn't score again until the final minute. Michigan State (11-5, 3-0) scored the next six points and took over sole possession of first place in the conference.
Becca Mills scored inside to put the Spartans up 67-65, then Michigan committed a shot clock violation. After a missed layup by Michigan State's Aerial Powers, the Spartans got the ball back on a steal by Pickrel.
Michigan State called time with 1:32 to play, and Mills then slipped free for a layup to push the lead to four.