EAST LANSING — One of the biggest points of emphasis for Alisia Smith has always centered on leadership.
It is what the veteran has strived to bring to the Michigan State women's basketball program, as well as rebounding and sprinting the floor.
"That was really the role I was going after because the points — they come when they come," Smith said.
Sunday marked one of those instances when the scoring opportunities came for Smith. And she delivered, turning in one of the best performances of her MSU career during an 85-75 victory over Marshall at Breslin Center.
Smith had a career-high 20 points and added six rebounds and two blocks while contributing to the victory. She was 7 of 11 from the field while putting together her second straight game in double figures scoring.
"It's really nice," Smith said. "It feels really good. This was a great win and I felt like it helped my team out a lot.
"It builds a lot of confidence in myself when I know I'm capable of doing these type of things."
Smith, whose previous career high was 19 points last season, also connected on all six of her free-throw attempts and played a season-high 25 minutes Sunday. MSU coach Suzy Merchant was pleased with what Smith brought while helping the Spartans prevail in a tight game for their second straight win.
"I thought she was posting hard and using her up-and-under moves," Merchant said. "She did a great job setting screens and I thought she did a really good job communicating out there defensively. She knew what was in front of her. She kind of was a force in there and had a couple of big blocks as well."
Smith has posted double-digit scoring efforts while playing the most minutes of the season the last two games. She was 6 of 7 from the floor while scoring 13 points in 20 minutes Friday at Oakland.
MSU senior Nia Clouden said Smith giving the Spartans consistent scoring and more in the post is vital as the games start to get bigger beginning with Thursday’s home matchup with Notre Dame in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
“It’s really important, especially just to gain some kind of consistency on our team to where we know we can do a certain thing and we’ll get results,” Clouden said. “Just having her be a presence down there as well as (Taiyier Parks) - I think they really complement each other well when one is not in the game and the other is. Their presence is definitely really important.”
Clouden, Hagemann also deliver
Clouden has been a consistent presence and had her fifth straight outing with at least 20 points Sunday, scoring a season-high 24 points and adding eight assists and six rebounds while battling foul trouble.
Freshman DeeDee Hagemann added a career-high 15 points and was 4 of 6 from the field and played 30 minutes.
Moira Joiner put MSU ahead 71-69 when she hit a pair of free throws with 4:09 to play. That was part of a stretch where the Spartans outscored Marshall, 8-1. That helped the Spartans (6-2) take a lead they held on to.
Savannah Wheeler had a game-high 30 points for Marshall (3-2) before fouling out in the final minute.
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.
This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Michigan State women's basketball gets lift from Alisia Smith