AUSTIN (AP) -- Michigan State's coach Joanne McCallie was
surprised by her team's offensive execution, but was more impressed
with the rebounding.
The Spartans grabbed 41 boards and held down Arizona 72-60
Sunday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
"I think rebounding always seems to make a big difference,"
McCallie said. "Thirteen rebounds for Liz (Shimek) is pretty
outstanding, so I think that's a critical statistic for us."
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.
"We know how tough Texas is, and I know they'll be excited to
play that game," McCallie said.
In addition to Shimek's 13 rebounds she scored 16 for the
Spartans, getting 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 forced 18 Wildcats turnovers.
"We knew we had to protect the paint," said Spartan center
Kelli Roehrig, who defended Polk. "Polk is a good player and we
had to step up and defend her. We knew she was going to get her
points, so we just had to play defense."
Arizona coach Joan Bonvinci said she knew the game would be
"Michigan State did a great job establishing its inside
presence and they were able to break our stand. The big difference
was the rebounding," she said.
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.
"It was a physical game with exciting twists and turns which
made it a lot of fun," McCallie said.
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.