March 22, 2004
|NCAA Tournament: First Round|
By JIM VERTUNO
AP Sports Writer
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Lindsay Bowen scored 18 points and Michigan State used a strong defensive effort to beat Arizona 72-60 Sunday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Michigan State (22-8), the eighth seed in the West Regional, advances to the second round Tuesday against top-seeded Texas, which beat Southern 92-57.
Liz Shimek grabbed 13 rebounds and had 16 points for the Spartans, scoring eight over the final six minutes to help hold off Arizona's late rally. Kristin Haynie added 12 points.
Center Shawntinice Polk scored 23 points for Arizona (24-9), which otherwise struggled against the Spartans' tough matchup zone defense. Michigan State won the rebounding 41-31 and forced 18 Wildcats turnovers.
Bowen scored 10 in the first half and the Spartans threatened to take control early with a 31-20 lead on Haynie's jumper in the lane with 3:38 left. But the Wildcats closed the deficit to four with a 7-0 run sparked by three straight steals.
The second half played much like the first. The Spartans would start to build a comfortable lead only to see the Wildcats fight back within striking distance.
But Arizona couldn't grab the lead with an offense that found little success outside of Polk's dominating presence in the middle. Polk shot 9-of-15 from the field but accounted for nearly half of Arizona's 21 total field goals.
Michigan State led by as much as 12 in the second and the Spartans were up 57-49 before Arizona closed it to 59-56. Polk scored five straight points in a 7-0 run.
But Bowen ended the rally by hitting a runner in the lane and Shimek followed it with a layup. Shimek went 4-for-4 from the free throw line over the two minutes as Michigan State pulled away.