Feb. 27, 2000
Minneapolis, Minn. - The Michigan State women's basketball team suffered its third straight loss when it dropped a 75-71 overtime decision to Minnesota today at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis, Minn., in the final regular season game for both teams.
With the loss, the Spartans fall to 17-10 on the year and end the conference season tied with Wisconsin for fifth place in the Big Ten at 8-8. The Gophers, meanwhile snapped a 24-game Big Ten home losing streak, winning their first conference game at the Sports Pavilion since 1997. Minnesota improved to 10-17 on the year and 3-13 in the league.
"That was about as poorly executed game as we have had all season," MSU coach Karen Langeland said. "It was mistake after mistake, both on offense and defense. At the same time, you have to give credit to Minnesota, they wanted it more and they played well. They played with a lot of heart and they deserved to win the game."
MSU trailed almost the entire first half as the Gophers went into the intermission with a 31-26 advantage. Minnesota held onto the lead for the first four minutes of the second half before the Spartans came back to tie the game at 34-34 on a pair of free throws by Erin Skelly at the 16:08 mark.
Back-to-back baskets by senior Kristen Rasmussen gave the Spartans their biggest lead of the contest at 59-51 with 5:40 to go, but the Gophers fought back again and Erin Olson scored seven straight points to cut MSU's lead to 59-58 with 2:51 to play.
The Spartans took a two-point lead on a pair of free throws by Becky Cummings with 57 seconds left, but a foul on MSU sent Lindsay Lieser to the free throw line where she made two free throws to knot the score at 63-63 with 48 seconds remaining.
After a Spartan timeout, Rasmussen's baseline jumper was no good, but MSU garnered the offensive rebound and was tied up by the Gophers. MSU got possession and called another 30 second timeout. Skelly had two opportunities to score underneath, but the ball wouldn't go in and the game went into overtime.
Cummings and Maxann Reese each hit a pair of free throws to give the Spartans a 67-63 lead in the extra session, but the Gophers quickly went up 68-67 when Olson converted a three-point play with 2:22 left in the overtime.
The game stayed close the rest of the way and with MSU up 71-70, Lieser hit a wide-open three-pointer from the left corner with 1:16 remaining to give the Gophers a two-point edge with 1:16 to play. The Spartans couldn't convert on the other end and the Gophers held on for the victory.
MSU dominated the boards, outrebounding the Gophers, 44-27, but turnovers again were a problem as the Spartans had 22 miscues in the game.
Rasmussen paced MSU with a season-high 26 points and added 14 rebounds for her 15th double-double of the season. Rasmussen's 14 rebounds also allowed her to become MSU's all-time leader in that category, surpassing Kris Emerson's previous record of 933. Cummings contributed 15 points and four rebounds, while Maxann Reese added 14.
Olson led the Gophers with 18 points and 12 assists, while Cassie VanderHeyden scored 15 points on five three-point field goals. Kim Prince came off the bench to score 13 points.