The Tigers got the expected scoring from Sylvia Fowles and Seimone Augustus with each scoring 20 points, but Scholanda Hoston really stepped up and scored 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including three treys, with five assists, one block and two steals before leg cramps forced her to the sidelines in the final minutes of the game.
Fowles also finished with a career-high equaling total of 17 rebounds to go with two blocks and four steals.
Victoria Lucas-Perry led Michigan State with 15 points, while Liz Shimek scored 10 as the only double figure scorers for the Lady Spartans.
The two heavyweights of women's college basketball stood toe to toe for much of the first half, feeling each other out while looking for the opportunities to score. An Aisha Jefferson bucket at the 9:48 mark gave Michigan State a 21-17 advantage, but points by Fowles and Hoston gave LSU the lead for good at 22-21 at the 7:02 mark.
Michigan State scored just three points over the final 3:56 of the first half as LSU was able to take a 35-29 lead to the intermission.
"I think early on we were stagnant, we were standing around a little bit," said Augustus. "Once we started moving and screening it opened a lot of opportunities for Scholanda to get some threes and Sylvia to get some touches."
The first few minutes of the half proved Hoston's worth to the contest as she stole a ball and assisted a layin by RaShonta LeBlanc and then scored a layup of her own to give the Lady Tigers their first double-digit lead. Hoston hit two more three-pointers, the last coming at the 15:59 mark to make LSU's lead 47-33. Michigan State was forced to call a timeout and Augustus and Fowles had not only not scored, but hadn't taken a shot as LSU virtually put the game away at that point.
"So often Scholanda's defense overshadows her offense, but when you can get it done on both ends of the floor to the tune of 19 points and then also do a nice job on (Lindsay) Bowen on the defensive end, and also add five assists to zero turnovers, you're going to help your team be successful," said LSU Coach Pokey Chatman.
Fowles continued to assert herself on the boards and the Tigers held steady on the double-digit lead, dropping it only to 11 one time before expanding back to as much as 21, 67-46, with 5:10 to go on a layup by Hoston.
"You have to credit LSU," said Joanne McCallie, Michigan State's head coach. "They did a great job. We took care of their zone pretty easily, then they played a lot of man and did a good job with it. I think that LSU just did a great job, particularly in the second half."
"For the first time in about seven years all four of our game goals had to deal with the defensive end of the floor," said Chatman. "I'm extremely pleased with the way our kids carried that out. But on top of that if you look at our ability to execute offensively against their zone, Michigan State is known for their zone and their match-up, and I thought our team was really locked in to recognizing if it was an odd or an even front. Any time you are putting a lock on people defensively and then you're transitioning down and being methodical offensively, good things are going to happen. I was extremely pleased with every facet of our game (Wednesday)."
Following Friday's South Florida game, the Tigers will open the new year at home on Jan. 1 (Sunday) with a 1 p.m. game against North Carolina A&T. The game has been moved up to 1 p.m. because of the visiting team's travel plans.