East Lansing — Aerial Powers scored a career-high 40 points and No. 25 Michigan State withstood Rachel Banham’s 52 points that made her the Big Ten’s all-time leading scorer to take a 114-106 victory over Minnesota on Sunday.
Banham now has 2,921 points to pass Penn State’s Kelly Mazzante (2001-04), who had 2,919. Sunday she was 14-of-28 from the field, 9-of-13 from 3-point range and 15-of-16 on free throws in coming within eight points of her career high of 60 set against Northwestern in a 112-106 double-overtime win on Feb. 7. Carlie Wagner added 20 points.
“I mean, wow. Felt like we were guarding (NBA all-star) Steph Curry out there, you know,” said MSU coach Suzy Merchant, who got her 400th career win. “The first half we weren’t very good on guarding Banham.
“I mean, she had open looks that she shouldn’t have got. I was real disappointed in that, but I felt like second half she stopped scoring as much. It seemed like we were way better, and that kid is good.
“I’ve coached for obviously a long time and as a head coach. I don’t know too many teams with kids that score 40 or more a game and this kid does. ... She’s the real deal. She’s literally putting the team on her back. So I give her a lot of credit.”
Powers hit 14 of 26 shots and had eight assists. Four other Spartans reached double figures: Tori Jankoska (24 points, 15 assists), Branndais Agee (18 points, six assists, five blocks), Jasmine Hines (14 points, seven rebounds) and Jenna Allen (10 points).
“Obviously tonight (Jankoska) did a good job of distributing the ball for sure,” Merchant said. “I think that hopefully she understands that she isn’t defined by making a shot. And tonight I hope she can see how important she is to the team.”
Minnesota (18-9, 10-6) rallied from a 19-point first-quarter deficit to take a two-point lead early in the third quarter before the Spartans (20-7, 11-5) regained the lead for good with a 23-5 run.
Big Ten men
(At) Wisconsin 69, Illinois 60: Ethan Happ had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and helped spark a 17-0 run that allowed Wisconsin to roar back from a double-digit deficit in the second half. Happ had three steals during the decisive run for the Badgers (17-10, 9-5 Big Ten), who avoided a potentially damaging loss.
Oakland 74, (at) Illinois-Chicago 63: Kay Felder had 20 points and 10 assists, Jalen Hayes had 15 points and 13 rebounds and Oakland turned back UIC. Nick Daniels hit all four of his 3-point attempts and added 18 points for the Golden Grizzlies (20-10, 12-5 Horizon League), who reached 20 wins for the first time in four seasons.
(At) Valparaiso 90, Detroit 74: Detroit (15-13, 9-8 Horizon) was led by Paris Bass with 28 points and seven rebounds — his sixth straight 20-point game. Carlton Brundidge scored 19 points and Anton Wilson added 17. The Titans shot 52 percent, but took 10 fewer shots than Valpo.
Alec Peters scored 32 points with 11 rebounds for Valparaiso (24-5, 14-2). Peters was 7 of 12 from the field with five 3-pointers and 13 of 15 from the line. Keith Carter added 13 points, eight assists and five steals. Valpo shot nearly 47 percent and was 12 of 26 from beyond the arc.
Valparaiso, which enjoys a three-game lead in the conference with two games left in the regular season, led the entire way. An eight-point spurt early in the second half pushed the lead over 20 points.
Top 25 men
(At) No. 21 SMU 74, East Carolina 63: Nic Moore had 22 points, including four 3-pointers after halftime, and seven assists to lead the Mustangs (22-4, 10-4 American), who are 4-4 since their 18-0 start.