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Nov. 25, 1997

Michigan State Women's Basketball Defeats Kentucky

Spartans Overcome Slow Start In 71-57 Victory

Rasmussen Photo
Kristen Rasmussen scored a game-high 19 points.
(File photo)

East Lansing, MI - The Michigan State women's basketball team overcame a sloppy first half and a 31-31 halftime tie to defeat Kentucky, 71-57, in a non-conference game before 1,324 fans at the Breslin Center on Nov. 25.

The victory improved MSU's record to 2-1 as it embarks on a string of nine-straight road games. The Wildcats fell to 0-3 on the season.

In the win over Kentucky, the two teams combined for 28 first half turnovers and remained deadlocked at 31 heading into the intermission.

Sophomore forward Kristen Rasmussen came out of halftime on fire, scoring eight points during an 11-4 Spartan run to give MSU a 42-35 lead at the 14:20 mark of the game.

The Wildcats cut MSU's lead to five points at 56-51 with 5:34 left in the game, but sophomore guard Maxann Reese responsded with six-straight points to put MSU ahead, 65-55, with just 2:27 left in the game, and seal the victory.

Rasmussen ended the contest with a game-high 19 points, on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, and nine rebounds. Reese scored a season-high 16 points, while Bella Engen continued to play well with 14 points, nine rebounds and five steals. Senior guard Jamie Wesley rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 points.

Freshman Christie Pung was solid in her first career start at the point guard, chipping in five points and four assists in 30 minutes of action.

"Max and Christie made me look good as a coach tonight," MSU head coach Karen Langeland said about the change in the starting lineup. "I thought Christie played a solid game for a freshman in only the fifth game of her career. And Max, with 16 points did a nice job offensively off the bench. I thought her shot selection was good and she did a good job defensively."

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