Jan. 9, 2000
East Lansing, Mich. - The Michigan State women's basketball team rebounded from its disappointing loss to Northwestern on Thursday to defeat Wisconsin, 75-61, today. A season-high crowd of 3,351 watched as the Spartans won their 10th straight game at the Breslin Center, improving to 11-4 on the season and 2-2 in the Big Ten. The Badgers fall to 6-6 on the year and 0-3 in the league.
?A much better effort and performance today,? MSU coach Karen Langeland said. ?This was by far our best game. We had balanced scoring and got some good production from our bench. I thought we played well defensively whether we were in our player or our zone and I thought when we got the lead we got a little tougher than we normally do and built on it instead of relaxing.?
Junior Erin Skelly provided the lift off the bench that Langeland has been seeking all season long. The 6-4 center scored 10 of her season-high 12 points in the second half to lift the Spartans to the victory.
?Erin had a very good week of practice and she came through big today at both ends of the floor. She scored, rebounded, blocked shots and played tough defense.?
After the Spartans went into the intermission with a slight 33-31 edge, the game stayed close in the opening minutes of the second half. After Wisconsin took a 48-47 lead on a pair of free throws by Kelley Paulus, the Spartans went on an 8-0 run to take a 55-48 lead with 10:10 remaining in the contest.
The Badgers responded with a three-pointer by LaTonya Sims to cut the deficit to 57-56, but Skelly scored six points during another 8-0 run to put MSU up 65-56 with 4:48 remaining. Wisconsin never got closer than six points the remainder of the way.
?Michigan State does a great job of playing a post game that is very hard to defend,? Wisconsin coach Jane Albright said. ?Someday, I hope we can have a team that can do that as efficiently. We tried to play some zone against them and I thought we made their guards take some shots, but then we didn't rebound from it so it didn't really help us.?
Skelly ended the game with 12 points, on 5-of-6 shooting from the field, six rebounds and two blocks. Junior Becky Cummings led the way with 18 points and 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the year, while senior Kristen Rasmussen contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds for her eighth double-double. Senior Maxann Reese contributed 16 points and three assists, while rookie Maria Recker came off the bench to add five points and four rebounds.
Sims paced the Badgers with a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds. Paulus was the only other player in double figures for Wisconsin with 11 points.
Michigan State has just one game on tap next week, a home game against Indiana on Thursday, Jan. 13. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., at the Breslin Center.