The Falcon women’s basketball team fell 99-69 in its first game of the season on the road in the Breslin Center against the Michigan State Spartans Tuesday night.
The game was also the first for the Falcons’ new head coach, Robyn Fralick, who was previously the head coach for the Ashland Eagles in Division II, with a 104-3 coaching record over two seasons with the team.
Despite the loss, Fralick was impressed by the effort of her team against a tough Big Ten Conference opponent.
“I loved our fight,” Fralick said. “To fight back to a 12-point deficit was great. The problem is that you don’t want to dig yourself into such a hole where you have to expend that much energy to fight back.”
The Falcons kept the game close through the first quarter, with Michigan State leading it 20-15. Junior guard Andrea Cecil led the Falcon offense with 6 points on a pair of three-pointers. In the second quarter, however, Michigan State began to pull away with a 21-10 advantage to take a 41-25 lead at halftime. Freshman guard Molly Dever had a strong quarter, however, leading the offense with 5 points on two layups and a successful free throw.
“I thought they did a lot of good things for us,” Fralick said of the team’s freshman players. “Especially in a first college game, they made a lot of positive contributions, and they’ve been doing that in practice too. It was great to see that carry over.”
In the third quarter, Michigan State outscored the Falcons 29-21 to grab a 70-46 lead. Senior guard Sydney Lambert earned 8 points in the quarter, as a jumper, layup, free throw and three-pointer were all successful. The team then improved on their offensive production even more in the fourth quarter with 23 points; however, it wouldn’t be enough as Michigan State outscored the team 29-23 to win it 99-69. Cecil led the Falcons offense overall with 19 points, which included four three-pointers, three layups and a free throw.
“Going into this game, we really wanted a barometer for where we were,” Fralick said. “Now we’ve got a lot of feedback, and I hope they feel motivated this week to know where we are now and let’s get better.”
The team believes one of the biggest things they want to work on going into conference play is putting together a more complete effort.
“Playing a full 40 minute game and doing the things we’re supposed to do consistently, we’ve got to get better at,” Fralick said. “There’s also things that I loved; I loved our fight. We didn’t give up, and we’re going to hold onto that and continue to get better.”
The team will next play on Tuesday night in their first home game of the season against the Marshall Thundering Herd.