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IPFW women pull off upset of No. 21 MSU

After over 10 years competing at the NCAA Division I level, the IPFW women’s basketball hit a milestone with an 81-76 upset win over No. 21 Michigan State on Sunday in East Lansing, Mich.

The victory is the program’s first win over a nationally ranked team since IPFW moved to Division I in the 2001-2002 season.

“It’s a huge win, but it’s only a steppingstone,” said coach Chris Paul. “We are going to enjoy the win today and build on and move forward tomorrow. The win gives the players inspiration to continue to believe in what they are doing.”

The Mastodons (4-4) controlled the game with 53.7 percent shooting from the floor, including 13 of 23 from beyond the arc.

Amanda Hyde led the Mastodons with 23 points, Haley Seibert and Rachel Mauk had 14 points apiece, Ariana Simmons added 12 points, and Mur Hagerman with 10. Simmons, a South Side graduate, also led the Mastodons in rebounds with 8.

Both teams kept the score close throughout the first half, but the Mastodons gained the lead with 9:17 left to play and did not relent.

Michigan State took the lead twice in the second half before the Mastodons went on a 15-2 run to recapture the lead and keep it for good.

The Spartans narrowed the gap to 79-76 on a Kiana Johnson lay-up with 5 seconds remaining but the rally stalled. The Mastodons set the final score with two free throws with three seconds remaining.

“The team was playing pretty well coming in, so it was good to have a quality opponent on our schedule,” Paul said. “As the game progressed, the players gained more and more confidence and trust in each other and it showed in their play.”

Michigan State (5-2) hit just 30 of its 73 shots from the floor (41.1 percent), and 7 of 20 from 3-point range, marking its first home court loss of the season. Aerial Powers led the Spartans with a game-high 28 points and 14 rebounds.

The Spartans’ only other loss of the season came as an 81-62 defeat on Nov. 11 against No. 5 Notre Dame.

The Mastodons are on the road on Wednesday against Evansville, and travel to No.16 Purdue on Sunday.