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Hawkeyes Outlast Michigan State, by a Fingernail

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IOWA CITY, Iowa Same shooter. Same shot. Same spot.

Same result? Not this time.

This time, Kachine Alexander didn't switch. This time, Kalisha Keane didn't deliver the dagger.

Keane missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer, then Lykendra Johnson missed two point-blank follows in the final frantic moments as 18th-ranked Iowa edged No. 10 Michigan State, 66-64, in a Big Ten women's basketball game before 4,550 Thursday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

"I just said, 'There wasn't going to be a repeat' (of Keane's 3-pointer that beat Iowa, 63-60, at East Lansing on Jan. 13)," said Alexander, who got a fingernail literally, a fingernail on Keane's shot from the left corner Thursday.

The outcome left the Big Ten with a four-way tie for first place: Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin are 6-2 as the race hit the midpoint.

MSU is 18-3 overall.

A 13-4 run, punctuated by 3-pointers by Jaime Printy and Kelly Krei, turned a six-point deficit into a 55-52 lead for the Hawkeyes (16-5, 4-4), and they stayed in front the rest of the way.

By a fingernail.

Krei hit another trey to make it 66-61 with 58 seconds left, then Keane followed with a 3-pointer of her own to bring the Spartans within two.

A shot-clock violation by Iowa with 8.9 seconds left opened the door for MSU, then the Spartans called timeout with 5.9 ticks left.

This time, Alexander didn't switch defensively. And this time, Keane misfired.

"We had the right person shooting and the right rebounder," said Spartans Coach Suzy Merchant. "I thought (Keane) got bodied, but she got the thing off. We got two good rebounds. They just didn't go down for us."

Alexander compiled the 30th double-double of her career 23 points, 11 rebounds. Printy and Krei added 11 points apiece.

Brittney Thomas paced Michigan State with 17 points, including seven in the final 5 minutes. Her drive brought the Spartans within 63-61, then MSU missed three shots on its next possession before Krei's 3-pointer opened it to 66-61.

"It was a great pass by (Alexander) and a great opportunity to make a three," Krei said.

The Hawkeyes prevailed despite shooting 20 fewer field goals than the Spartans (Iowa was 24 of 48 from the field; MSU was 23 of 68), getting outrebounded 44-34 and making just 12 of 21 from the line.

"I can't believe we won on a night we shot free throws like that," Bluder said. "But we were very efficient with the ball when we had it."

Michigan State led most of the first half, by as many as six points early.

Iowa took its first lead at 32-31 on Kamille Wahlin's free throw with 1:04 left in the half, then Kalli Hansen's 3-pointer gave the Hawkeyes a 35-32 advantage at intermission.

The Hawkeyes are at Illinois on Sunday.