EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Sports have returned to Michigan State University’s campus for the first time since a deadly shooting on Monday.

Prior to Saturday’s Michigan State women’s basketball versus Maryland, Rick Kimball said he had conversations with his daughter Abbey about what the game could ultimately mean. 

“It’s going to be good for you, it’s going to be good for your team, it’s going to be good for the community to help start that healing process,” said Rick Kimball.

Abbey Kimball, a freshman at MSU and West Catholic High School graduate, said when the Spartans took the floor, they knew that they were playing for much more than themselves.

“It’s been very special to get back with the team, especially after everything that’s happened.” Abbey Kimball said. “I think that we’re playing for a bigger picture here and just giving it our all together. Being close has made us stronger.”

During the game versus Maryland, MSU players and staff wore “Spartan Strong” T-shirts. Players and staff were emotional as the university honored the students whose lives were lost.

Ty Hallock is a former MSU football player. Hallock’s daughter Thyren, a Forest Hills Central graduate, now plays basketball for the Spartans. Ty Hallock recalled his and his wife’s visit to campus prior to Saturday’s game.

“We had classes in Berkey Hall, we were in the Union, it was very emotional. You just would never want anybody to go through that,” Ty Hallock said.

He said the game was a big part of helping heal a hurting community.

“Win, lose, or draw, we can at least give everybody some sense of normalcy and even for ourselves, but it will be a struggle,” Ty Hallock said.

As the Spartans left the floor Saturday, Abbey Kimball was proud of how her team represented the green and white.

“It’s hard to keep your mind straight when so many other things are playing a factor but I thought we did a good job handling it, staying together, and playing for our community,” she said.

Abbey Kimball said MSU was also thankful for the support that has been shown by other universities across the state.