March 14, 1999
Site: Crisler Arena - Ann Arbor, MI
Game Result: Michigan State 69, Michigan 68 (WNIT Second Round)
Records: Michigan State 17-13 overall; Michigan 18-12 overall
MSU's Next Action: at Wisconsin - March 17, 1999 (8:30 p.m., EST) - Madison, WI
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Sophomore center Becky Cummings' offensive put back at the buzzer lifted the Michigan State women's basketball team a 69-68 victory over Michigan today at Crisler Arena in a second round Women's National Invitation Tournament contest. With the win, the Spartans improve to 17-13 overall and advance to face Wisconsin in the quarterfinals of the tourney. The Wolverines end the season with an 18-12 mark.
"That's a tough game to lose and a great game to win," MSU coach Karen Langeland said. "I thought both teams played with a lot of heart and played very, very hard. I'm just thrilled that we came out on top and that we can continue playing."
A three-pointer by freshman Raina Goodlow gave Michigan its biggest lead of the game at 43-34 at the 18:31 mark of the second half. The Spartans responded with an 11-1 run culminated by back-to-back layups by junior Maxann Reese to give MSU a 45-44 lead with 15:09 to play.
Michigan then put together an 11-3 run to go back up by seven points at 55-48 with 9:50 left to play. The Spartans stayed within six points the rest of the way and cut the defict to one point at 66-65 on a three-pointer by Reese at the 1:57 mark.
Stacey Thomas countered for the Wolverines with a driving layup to put Michigan on top, 68-65, with 1:49 remaining, but Cummings pulled the Spartans within one with a basket underneath to make it 68-67 with 1:40 to play.
Michigan couldn't score on its next trip down the court and MSU called a 20-second timeout with 1:02 remaining to set up a play. Following the timeout, the Spartans turned the ball over and Michigan took a full timeout with 38.8 seconds left on the clock.
The Wolverines missed a shot and senior Pernille Dalgaard collected the rebound and MSU took a timeout with 13 seconds remaining to set up a final play. The Spartans got the ball into junior Kristen Rasmussen, but the Second-Team All-Big Ten honoree was double-teamed and she kicked it out to junior Donita Johnson. Johnson missed the shot, but Cummings was in perfect position and collected the offensive rebound and put it in at the buzzer for the 69-68 victory.
"You have to give Michigan a lot of credit, they did a great job defensively on Max (Reese) and Kristen (Rasmussen)," Langeland said. "But at the end, I thought we executed exactly they way we needed to and in particular on the last defensive and offensive possessions of the game.
"We were down by as many as nine in the second half and this team didn't give up and that is what is so important. I thought Donita (Johnson) took a good shot at the end and thank goodness Becky (Cummings) was there on weakside to get the board and put it back in."
Reese paced the Spartan scoring effort with 18 points and a career-high 10 rebounds for the first double-double of her career. She improved her season scoring total to 531 points, surpassing Kisha Kelley's single-single scoring mark of 529.
Dalgaard posted a season-high 15 points, while Rasmussen added 12 points and 11 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the year. She also extended her consecutive free throw streak to 27 with a pair of free throws in the second half. Cummings ended the game with nine points and six rebounds.
"I was a little shocked that it ended up in my hands," Cummings said of her offensive rebound at the end. "We had our set play and we knew what we had to go out and do and you just have to be ready for circumstances like that."
MSU will face Wisconsin in the quarterfinals of the WNIT on Wednesday, March 17 at 8:30 p.m., EST, at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.