Spartans Down Rival Michigan, 70-56
MSU moves into fifth place in the Big Ten with key conference victory.
February 14, 1999
Site: Breslin Center, East Lansing, MI
Game Result: Michigan State 70, Michigan 56
Records: Michigan State 14-11 overall, 8-7 Big Ten; Michigan 15-9 overall, 7-7 Big Ten
MSU's Next Action: vs. Ohio State - Feb. 18, 1999 (7:30 p.m., EST) - Columbus, OH
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State shot 51 percent from the field and used a balanced scoring attack to defeat Michigan, 70-56, today before 3,595 fans at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. With the victory, the Spartans improved to 14-11 overall and moved into fifth place in the Big Ten with an 8-7 mark, while the Wolverines fall to 15-9 overall and into a sixth place tie with Wisconsin in the league standings with a 7-7 record.
Junior Maxann Reese (Highland Park) led four Spartans in double figures with 22 points and six rebounds, while sophomore Becky Cummings (Walled Lake) hit 7-of-10 shots from the field en route to 17 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
A three-point play by Cummings gave MSU a 43-33 lead with 13:18 left in the contest, but Michigan went on a 12-3 run to cut the deficit to one at 46-45 with 10:15 to go.
A three-pointer by senior Ann Lemire at the 5:45 mark kept the Wolverines within three points of the Spartans, but MSU held Michigan to just three more points the rest of the way to secure the victory.
Junior Kristen Rasmussen (East Lansing) added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Spartans, while senior Pernille Dalgaard scored 10 points in the final home appearance of her career.
Junior Stacey Thomas and Lemire were the only Wolverines to score in double figures with 13 points each. As a team, Michigan shot just 36 percent from the field.
The Spartans close out the regular season on Thursday, Feb. 18 at Ohio State, while the Wolverines will host Iowa (Feb. 19) and Indiana (Feb. 21) to end the year.
Michigan State Coach Karen Langeland
"I apologize for being late, but when the Governor of Michigan is in your locker room you don't cut out early.
"This is a big win for us. We felt going into this weekend that we had to win our last three regular season games. We have won two of them and we have one more to go. After that, there are five teams, us, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Illinois that could finish anywhere from third through eighth in the standings. I don't know what's going to happen, all I know is we have one more game left and we are going to try and take care of our own business and then see what happens with the other teams next weekend.
"We had struggled up to this point when we played a zone in not rebounding well out of it, but we corrected that problem and it doesn't hurt when you shoot over 50 percent from the floor.
(On the decision to play a zone against Michigan)
"First of all to mix it up a little bit. I felt with our zone we could put pressure on the player with the ball and still take away the outside shot. Because we were moving well in it, we very rarely left someone open on the perimeter and it ended up working. Sometimes you have to take a chance on something like that. I thought the game plan was pretty good.
(On playing a complete game for 40 minutes)
"There was a different emotional sense out on the court today. We seemed calm and under control the whole game. Michigan made a couple of runs during the game, but I thought we held our ground, kept running our offense and executing and taking good shots. We didn't let their runs affect us.
(On the play of Becky Cummings)
"Kristen Rasmussen and Maxann Reese get a lot of attention out on the court and rightly so. One of the things that happens is that when you start giving them a lot of attention you leave other people open and Becky Cummings took advantage of those opportunities that she had today. She is going to get a lot more of those as the season goes on. She's a nice player. She shoots well for us, she works hard inside and I thought she did a nice job of getting herself open and making herself available for the ball.
Michigan Coach Sue Guevara
"First of all, I would like to give Michigan State a great deal of credit for the game plan. I was surprised to see the zone, simply because of the way we shot the ball Friday night. We shot 50 percent from three-point range and they were in a zone, we shot 52 percent from the floor and they were in a zone.
"I thought we came out tight. I told the kids I thought we played not to lose. We had some open shots that just didnt go and we were tight.
"Coming into this game, we knew it was going to be a tough game, we knew it. You look at our point guard Anne Thorius, who has probably been the most consistent player for the last month and she goes 0-10. She was unbelievable Friday night. When she struggles like that, we needed other people to pick up and we just couldn't get it and I think because we were trying so hard to make something happen. But I also think Michigan State had a lot to do with that.
"We were struggling to score and the ball was going into Becky and Kristen and they did a really nice job of scoring especially when the clock was running down."
* Today's win was MSUs 40th victory in the series with Michigan. The Spartans are 40-10 all-time against the Wolverines.
* Junior Maxann Reese scored 22 points to move into 11th place on the MSU all-time scoring chart with 994 points. She is six points shy of becoming just the 10th player in program history to score 1,000 points.
* Junior Kristen Rasmussen pulled down seven rebounds to become just the 11th player in Spartan history to garner 600 rebounds in a career. Rasmussen ranks 11th all-time with 601 boards.
* MSU improved to 7-1 on the season in games in which it shoots 50 percent or better from the field. The Spartans ended the game shooting 51 percent from the floor.
* The Spartans finished the regular season with a winning record (8-5) at home for the 25th time in 27 seasons.