The Hillsdale College women's basketball team won't play in a bigger venue or against a better team than it did Thursday night.
The Chargers lost an exhibition contest to Michigan State University 59-88 at the Jack Breslin Events Center. This game will not count in Hillsdale 's final record, but will no doubt be a game the coaches and players will never forget.
Playing in a Big Ten venue is an honor for any Division II program, and the players on Hillsdale's team enjoyed an unforgettable experience in one of the country's most famous college basketball venues. The final score was less important than the overall experience on this night.
The game was tied very early at 6, and a pair of 3-pointers by freshmen Clare Mitchell and Grace Touchette put Hillsdale down just 15-12 midway through the first quarter. But the Spartans exploited their obvious advantage in size, and wore down the Chargers both in transition and in the half-court game.
Hillsdale heated up from 3-point territory in the second quarter, making five as a team, coming from four different players. The Chargers figure to be a powerful 3-point shooting team this season, and the signs of that firepower were present even in the exhibition opener.
Touchette, making her first appearance in a Charger uniform, played with impressive calm and scored 8 points, making a pair of 3-point shots.
The Spartans treated this game very much like a regular season one, with their five starters averaging 29.6 minutes played each. Two of the four players they brought off the bench played six and eight minutes in the contest.
Hillsdale opens the regular season at home on Saturday, November 10, hosting the University of Indianapolis.
PHOTO: MaryKate Drews