December 5, 1998
MICHIGAN STATE WOMENS BASKETBALL
Site: Redbird Arena - Normal, IL
Game Result: Illinois State 64, Michigan State 60
Records: Illinois State 4-3; Michigan State 4-3
MSUs Next Action: vs. Ohio - Dec. 9, 1998 (7:30 p.m., EST) - Breslin Center
NORMAL, Ill. - The Michigan State womens basketball team battled back from an 11-point halftime deficit, but its comeback fell short as Illinois State (4-3) held on for a 64-60 victory today at Redbird Arena in Normal, Ill. The loss snaps the Spartans three-game winning streak and leaves them with an overall record of 4-3.
"This is a very disappointing loss for us," MSU coach Karen Langeland said. "You have to give Illinois State credit, they played hard today."
The Spartans, who trailed 34-23 at the half after shooting just 29 percent from the field, tied the contest at 44 on a basket by Becky Cummings with 11:04 remaining in the game. The Redbirds regained the momentum with a 15-5 run to push the lead to 59-49 with 5:54 left.
A free throw by sophomore Christie Pung pulled the Spartans within two at 59-57 with 1:53 left and two possessions later sophomore Erin Skelly was fouled and went to the line for a pair of free throws. Skelly hit the first free throw and missed her second attempt, but junior Kristen Rasmussen grabbed the offensive rebound and kicked it out to junior Maxann Reese, who canned a jumper to cap a 13-2 run and give MSU a 60-59 lead with 1:04 left.
Illinois State turned the ball over on its next possession, but MSU couldnt convert and the Redbirds got another opportunity with 26 seconds remaining. ISU senior Jenny Schmidt drove the lane and made a layup and was fouled. Following a Spartan timeout, Schmidt converted the three-point play to give the Redbirds a 62-60 advantage with 18 seconds to go.
Reeses three-pointer with three seconds to go fell short and the Spartans fouled on the ensuing scramble for the ball, sending Schmidt to the line for two free throws with 0.1 seconds left on the clock. Schmidt sank both free throws for the final margin of victory.
"I thought Schmidt had a great game," Langeland said of the Redbird guard, who finished with 31 points. "We certainly didnt do a very good job of defending her."
Reese tied her season high with 17 points to lead the Spartans. Cummings added nine points and 12 rebounds, while Rasmussen scored seven points and contributed 12 boards.
Sophomore Donita Johnson made her first start of the season at point guard for the injured rookie Vnemina Reese, who is out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury.
"We have a new player starting at the point and we dont quite have our substitution patterns down," Langeland said. "Not to take anything away from Illinois State, but I didnt think the people who were on the court for us did as good of a job as they are capable of.
"Our problem all game was that we didnt look to penetrate," Langeland added. "Whether it was against their zone or against their player. Their defense was good, they got pressure on the ball and we didnt adjust to it well."
The Spartans return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 9 when they host Ohio in a 7:30 p.m. contest at the Breslin Center.
For more information, contact: Lori Schulze (517) 355-2271||