EAST LANSING – Nearly two weeks ago the Michigan State women’s basketball team was trending up following an upset victory at home over nationally ranked Ohio State.
Now the Spartans are trying to find their footing as they manage life without coach Suzy Merchant on the sidelines.
The losing skid continued for MSU as it suffered a 76-66 Big Ten loss to Purdue on Sunday evening at Breslin Center.
The loss was the third straight for the Spartans, who have gone from being a game out of first in the Big Ten 12 days ago to falling under .500 in conference play.
Tori Jankoska had 16 points to lead the Spartans, who were being led by interim coach Amaka Agugua for a second straight game after Merchant took a medical leave of absence earlier this week. Branndais Agee added 15 points.
Ashley Morrissette had a game-high 31 points for Purdue, which shot 59.2 percent while halting a two-game losing streak and completing a regular-season series sweep of MSU.
The Spartans (13-7, 3-4 Big Ten) fell behind by double figures in the second quarter, trailing by as much as 13. MSU never recovered from the deficit.
MSU was within three in the middle stages of the fourth quarter following a 3-pointer by Taryn McCutcheon. But Purdue answered with six straight points to push its lead back to double figures.