Nov. 14, 1997

MSU Women's Basketball Closes Out Exhibition Season With Win

Spartans Defeat Sporitelna Bratislav, 78-62

It wasn't pretty, but the Michigan State women's basketball team closed out its exhibition season with a 78-62 win over Sporitelna Bratislav before 720 fans at the Breslin Center on Nov. 13.

Michigan State turned the ball over 27 times in the game, but managed to put the Slovakian team away with a strong run in the second half. The Spartans went into halftime with a 39-32 lead behind the 12-point, 7-rebound performance of senior forward Bella Engen.

Sporitelna cut MSU's lead to just five points at 46-41 early in the second half, but the Spartans went on a 16-4 run to take command of the game at 62-46. Freshman forward Becky Cummings then scored three-straight baskets and senior guard Jamie Wesley sank two free throws to help MSU extend its lead to 72-55 with 4:53 remaining in the game.

Engen paced four Spartans in double figures with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Wesley ended the contest with 15 points, while Cummings scored 13 points, all in the second half, and pulled down eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Maxann Reese rounded out the double-figure scorers with 11 points, including three three-pointers.

The Spartans open the regular season, Nov. 21-22, by hosting the Felpausch/MSU Holiday Classic. In addition to Michigan State, the tournament features Fresno State, Michigan and St. John's.

POST-GAME COMMENTS - MSU Head Coach Karen Langeland

"It was a little ugly. As a team, I'm not sure we made any improvements from last time. The people who played well last time did not play well this time and we had some people play well tonight that maybe didn't last game. Maybe that's what exhibition games are for. Hopefully, one of these games we are going to get everybody on the same page.

"Turnovers are going to kill me before the end of the season. Our goal was to keep it under 15 and I think we had that many at halftime. Your not going to win too many ballgames with that kind of ballhandling.

"We shot well, we shot well from the free throw line. I thought we rebounded well and we did a little bit better in transition this time than we did before."