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Michigan State clinches share of Big Ten title

By AP

CHAMPAIGN, IL – Kalisha Keane scored 27 points and No. 11 Michigan State beat Illinois 69-56 to clinch a share of the Big Ten title on Sunday.

The Spartans (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) secured the top seed for the Big Ten tournament March 3-6 as they maintained a 1 1/2 game lead ahead of Penn State. Michigan State can secure the outright title with a victory against Ohio State on Thursday.

Brittney Thomas added 19 points for the Spartans, who last won the Big Ten in 2005, when they shared the championship with Ohio State.

Keane repeatedly scored the Spartans' most important baskets. After Illinois (7-20, 2-12) cut a 14-point halftime deficit to six early in the second half. Her layup sparked a 9-0 run.

When that 15-point lead was reduced to nine with 6 minutes remaining, Keane had five points and Thomas four in another flurry that pushed the margin to 16.

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