Parks played her ‘best,’ MSU tops Niagara at home


EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The bar was set pretty high for the Michigan State women’s basketball team on Sunday. In its season-opener on Thursday, against Morehead State, the Spartans set a new school record for most 3-pointers in a game with 17.

Against Niagara, on Sunday, MSU only connected on five 3-pointers, but still managed to take down the Purple Eagles 89-65.

Senior guard Nia Clouden was 3-4 from behind the arc and finished with 12 points. She was one of four Spartans in double figures on the day. Alyza Winston, who had a game-high 20 points against Morehead State, led the stat book again with a game-high 17 points.

Another player that stepped up for Merchant was junior forward Taiyier Parks, who scored 11 points and pulled in eight rebounds.

“I told her, this is the best I’ve seen her play – with the minutes she played. Top to bottom, hardest, most consistent, great bounce, great energy, communication, aggressiveness – aggressiveness that didn’t set her next to us,” MSU basketball coach Suzy Merchant said. “She’s always been aggressive, but sometimes that puts her next to me. So, it was really nice to see it come together. She’s worked really hard.”

“Becoming an upperclassman, you know, you have young babies, freshmen, who are looking up to you. So, I’m just trying to set an example for them and just try to gain the trust of the team,” Parks said.

Also, for the second straight game, freshman DeeDee Hagemann was in double figures. Michigan’s reigning Miss Basketball has now scored ten points in each of her first two college basketball games, and on Sunday she added seven assists to her total.

“She’s a very confident kid. Her ability to play downhill helps us a ton,” Merchant said. “The one thing she’s been very consistent with is getting to the free-throw line. She led us in free-throw attempts by getting downhill.”

“Coach Suzy, and the rest of the staff and the veterans on the team are really helping me transition into a good player, and they’re really impacting me,” Hagemann said. “Nia Clouden is one of the best leaders that I’ve ever seen. She helped me transition and she’s a good role model for me, to show me the ropes of college basketball.”

“Her seven assists, I mean they’re always spot on,” Merchant said. “Some of her assists, against that pressure, was exceptional for a freshman.”

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