Jan. 4, 2000
East Lansing, Mich. -
Michigan State (10-3/1-1) at Northwestern (3-8/0-1) * Thursday, Jan. 6 * 8 p.m., EST * Evanston, IL
Wisconsin (5-4/0-1) at Michigan State * Sunday, Jan. 9 *2 p.m., EST * East Lansing, MI
Michigan State continues Big Ten play this week with a pair of games.
The Spartans begin the week by traveling to Evanston, Ill., to face Northwestern on Thursday, Jan. 6. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m., EST at Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117).
MSU then returns to the Breslin Center (15,138) to play Wisconsin on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 2 p.m.
Both games will be carried on WVFN (730 AM), with Mike Vander Woude calling the action. Tracy Renken will join VanderWoude for the Northwestern broadcast, while former Spartan great Paula Sanders provides the analysis for Sunday?s game against the Badgers.
Broadcasts of all MSU games can be accessed on the internet at www.msuspartans.com.
Michigan State improved to 10-3 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten with a 62-50 victory over Ohio State on Jan. 2.
The Spartans, who are 3-2 in their last five games, opened conference play with a 64-61 loss to Michigan on Dec. 30.
Northwestern is 3-8 overall and 0-1 in the Big Ten after dropping its conference opener to Penn State, 114-49.
Prior to the loss to the Nittany Lions, the Wildcats snapped a five-game losing streak with a 76-73 win over Loyola on Dec. 29.
Wisconsin begins the week with a 5-4 overall record and an 0-1 mark in the Big Ten.
The Badgers have a busy week with games against Illinois (Jan. 4) and Loyola (Jan. 7) prior to Sunday's contest at Michigan State.
IN THE POLLS
Michigan State received 3 votes in last week's USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll.
Michigan State coach Karen Langeland is in her 24th season at the helm of the Spartan program. A native of Grand Rapids, Langeland has a career coaching mark of 367-281.
Langeland, who is the dean of Big Ten Conference women's basketball coaches, has guided the Spartans to three postseason appearances in the last four years, including a quarterfinal appearance in the WNIT last season.
June Olkowski is in her first year at Northwestern after spending the previous six seasons as the head coach at Butler. Olkowski, who is 3-8 with the Wildcats, has an 11-year coaching mark of 151-146.
Jane Albright is in her sixth season at Wisconsin and in her 16th year in the collegiate ranks. Albright begins the week with a record of 101-56 with the Badgers and a career ledger of 289-166.
Michigan State Spartans (10-3 Overall/1-1 Big Ten) PPG RPG APG
F 52 Kristen Rasmussen, 6-4, Sr., East Lansing 13.8 10.7 1.8 bpg F 32 Becky Cummings, 6-3, Jr., Walled Lake 16.8 7.7 1.5 F 23 Maria Recker, 5-10, Fr., Auburn, IN 5.4 1.5 1.1 G 21 Maxann Reese, 5-9, Sr., Highland Park 15.0 3.3 2.5 G 40 Vnemina Reese, 5-7, RFr., Fort Wayne, IN 4.7 3.2 4.8
OFF THE BENCH
G 34 Donita Johnson, 5-10, Jr., Clinton Township 5.1 5.0 4.8 C 45 Erin Skelly, 6-5, Jr., Maple Grove, MN 4.6 4.0 0.6 G 22 Christie Pung, 5-5, Jr., Pewamo 3.0 0.6 1.7 F 25 Abby Salscheider, 5-11, So., Bluffton, IN 3.3 1.3 0.4
Northwestern has a slim 20-18 advantage in the all-time series with MSU.
The Spartans have won seven straight against the Wildcats, including a pair of victories last season. MSU captured a 73-64 win in Evanston (Jan. 5) and an 81-69 victory in East Lansing (Feb. 12) last year.
MSU is 6-13 in games played in Evanston.
The Spartans have a 24-15 lead in their series with Wisconsin.
The two teams met three times last season, including once in the quarterfinals of the WNIT. MSU pulled out a 77-74 win in East Lansing last year before the Badgers won a pair of overtime games in Madison (73-68 and 70-69).
The Spartans are 15-3 in games played in East Lansing, including wins in the last six at the Breslin Center. Wisconsin's last road win over the Spartans came on Feb. 16, 1992 (73-58).
ABOUT THE WILDCATS
Northwestern has struggled offensively all season long. The Wildcats have been held to less than 60 points in eight of 11 games.
NU's biggest preseason loss was to senior forward Kristina Divjak, who has been hampered by knee problems. A preseason All-American in 1998-99, Divjak played in just four games a year ago before undergoing knee surgery. She played in her first game of this season in Sunday?s loss to Penn State, logging six minutes and scoring two points.
Junior forward Tami Sears is carrying the load offensively, averaging 11.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Junior guard Dana Leonard contributes 9.5 points per game.
As a team, the Wildcats are averaging 54.2 points per game and allowing 70.8 points per contest. NU is shooting just 38 percent from the floor.
ABOUT THE BADGERS
Wisconsin has played a tough schedule this season, with four of its first nine games against Top 25 teams. Three of the Badgers' four losses have come against ranked opponents, including a 85-62 loss to third-ranked Tennessee and an 83-58 setback against No. 13 Purdue to open the conference season.
The Badgers have a balanced scoring attack with four players averaging in double figures. Sophomore forward Jessie Stomski, the 1999 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, leads the way with averages of 15.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
Junior forward LaTonya Sims averages 14.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
As a team, the Badgers are averaging 68.8 points per game and allowing 70.4 points per contest. The Badgers are averaging 40.4 rebounds per game and shooting 44 percent from the field.
McCHEER-OFF/GIRL SCOUT DAY
The 18th Annual McCheer-Off will be held on Sunday, Jan. 9 when the Spartans host Wisconsin. The McCheer-Off, held annually since 1983, is a collaborative effort between MSU women's basketball, the Capitol Area Girl Scouts and McDonald's.
Area scouts participate in poster and cheering contests in addition to enjoying the Spartans' game.
MSU has posted a 12-5 record on McCheer-Off day and will host Wisconsin for the seventh time. The Spartans are 5-1 against the Badgers on McCheer-Off day.
SPARTANS WIN NINE NON-CONFERENCE GAMES
MSU went 9-2 in the non-conference season, the first time it has won nine non-league games since 1981-82, the first year of sanctioned Big Ten play.
START BEST EVER FOR SPARTANS
Michigan State posted a 7-0 mark before suffering its first loss of the season, the best start in school history.
The previous record was the 6-0 record the 1983-84 squad posted to open the campaign en route to an 18-10 record.
SPARTANS EXTEND HOME WINNING STREAK TO NINE GAMES
Michigan State extended its home winning streak to nine games with a 62-50 victory over Ohio State on Jan. 2.
The Spartans' last home loss came against defending national champion Purdue on Jan. 31, 1999 (80-66).
MSU has a record of 92-42 (.686) in 10 years at the Breslin Center.
The Spartans' home winning streak ties for the fourth best in program history.
Consecutive Home Wins
13 11/30/96 - 11/21/97 12 2/7/77 - 2/25/78 10 3/4/90 - 1/27/91 9 2/12/99 - current 9 1/13/81 - 1/2/82
SPARTAN OFFENSE 3RD IN THE BIG TEN
Michigan State is third in the Big Ten in scoring offense with a 76.5 points per game average. Penn State tops the Big Ten with an 82.0 average, while Illinois is second at 77.4 points per contests.
The Spartans have topped the 80-point mark six times this season, already surpassing the number of times (5) it scored more than 80 last year.
MSU has been held to less than 70 points in each of its losses this season (54 vs. Notre Dame, 65 vs. North Carolina, 61 vs. Michigan) and in its victory over Ohio State (62).
CUMMINGS TO THE FOREFRONT
Junior forward Becky Cummings has been rock solid for Michigan State this season.
The Walled Lake native leads the team and is fourth in the Big Ten with a 16.8 points per game average.
Cummings has topped the 20-point mark in four of the last seven games, including 23 points in last Thursday?s loss to Michigan.
Cummings also ranks among the Big Ten leaders in rebounds (7.7 rpg) and field goal percentage (.600).
In the last five contests, she is averaging 19.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and is shooting 65 percent from the field.
Cummings has moved into 16th place on the MSU all-time chart with 432 rebounds and ranks 26th on the all-time scoring chart with 693 career points.
The 6-3 forward posted her fourth double-double of the season with 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds against Ohio State on Jan. 2.
FREE THROW MAGIC
Junior Becky Cummings tied the MSU single-game record for free throw percentage (1.000) with a perfect 11-for-11 performance against Michigan last Thursday (Dec. 30).
Cummings is one of eight players to be perfect from the charity stripe on 10 or more attempts. The feat is even more significant considering Cummings was shooting just 62 percent from the free throw line heading into the game.
Cummings went 6-for-6 against the Buckeyes to extend her consecutive free throw streak to 17. She is now shooting 69 percent from the charity stripe on the season.
RASMUSSEN TOPS IN THE BIG TEN
Senior forward Kristen Rasmussen is leading the Big Ten with a 10.7 rebounds per game average. She is also tops in the league with seven double-doubles this season. Rasmussen, who has totaled 30 in her career, has posted a double-double in each of the last five games.
Junior Becky Cummings is among the top three in the Big Ten with four double-doubles.
The Spartans are 4-0 this season when Rasmussen and Cummings post a double-double in the same game and 9-2 in the last 11 games when they accomplish that feat.
Opponent Pts. Reb. Alabama (11/20) 12 18 Central Mich. (12/8) 22 17 Dayton (12/17) 17 15 North Carolina (12/19) 10 10 Ohio (12/21) 17 11 Michigan (12/30) 14 12 Ohio State (1/2) 17 14 Season Total - 7 -- Career Total - 30
Opponent Pts. Reb. Detroit (11/24) 16 13 Central Mich. (12/8) 23 13 Dayton (12/17) 22 11 Ohio State (1/2) 16 15 Season Total - 4 -- Career Total - 14
STILL LEADING, BUT STRUGGLING
MSU still leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage with a .458 mark, but has not shot well in the last four games.
During that span, the Spartans are shooting just 42 percent from the floor.
The Spartans have shot 50 percent or better from the floor four times, including a season-high 55 percent in the win over Butler on Dec. 11.
Michigan State is second in the Big Ten in rebounding with a 43.2 boards per game average.
The Spartans have outrebounded 10 opponents and is 8-2 in those contests. MSU outrebounded North Carolina, 39-37, but lost to the Tar Heels, 82-65, while the Spartans topped Michigan on the boards, 44-39, but fell 64-61 on the scoreboard.
MSU has garnered 50 or more rebounds three times this season, including a season-best 56 against Appalachian State on Nov. 19.
RASMUSSEN MOVING UP BIG TEN ALL-TIME CHART FOR BLOCKED SHOTS
Senior forward Kristen Rasmussen has moved into eighth place on the Big Ten all-time chart for blocked shots with 165.
Rasmussen, who is MSU's all-time leader, needs 35 blocks to become one of just six players in conference history to record 200 blocks in a career.
Big Ten Career Blocked Shots Leaders
367 Trish Andrew (UM) 1989-93 269 Quacy Barnes (IU) 1994-98 268 Kim Calhoun (PSU) 1993-96 235 Tangela Smith (IOWA) 1994-98 220 Stacey Lovelace (PU) 1993-96 192 Molly Tadich (MINN) 1983-87 172 Anucha Browne (NU) 1981-85 165 Kristen Rasmussen (MSU) 1997-SA
MORE ON RAS
Senior Kristen Rasmussen is averaging 15.0 points and 12.4 rebounds per game over the last five games and has posted a double-double in each of those contests.
The 6-4 forward is third on the team and 12th in the Big Ten with a 13.8 points per game average. She leads the league with a 10.7 rebounds per game average and ranks among the conference leaders in field goal percentage (.521), steals (2.23 spg) and blocked shots (1.85 bpg).
Rasmussen stands fifth on the MSU all-time scoring chart with 1,215 points and fifth on the all-time rebounding chart with 799 boards.
The Spartan co-captain is one rebound shy of becoming just the fifth player in Spartan history to record 800 boards in a career.
The East Lansing native is one of just four players in Spartan history to score 1,000 points and pull down 700 rebounds in a career. Rasmussen is in the elite group with Kris Emerson (1,590 pts./933 reb.), Mary Kay Itnyre (1,189 pts./821 reb.) and Kisha Kelley (1,668 pts./701 reb.).
Senior guard Maxann Reese is second on the team and among the top 10 in the Big Ten with a 15.0 points per game average.
A First-Team All-Big Ten selection last year, Reese stands fourth on the MSU all-time scoring chart with 1,288 points.
The Highland Park native was held to just five points in the win over Ohio State, the first time this season she has not scored in double figures.
Reese is also contributing 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
The Spartan co-captain is MSU's all-time leader in three-point field goals with 185, a number that ranks her among the top eight in Big Ten history.
Reese has topped the 20-point mark three times this season, including a season-high 25 points in the win over Illinois State on Dec. 2.
Big Ten Career 3-Point Field Goal Leaders
244 Michele Ratay (NU) 1992-97 234 Katie Voigt (UW) 1993-98 218 Kristina Divjak (NU) 1995-SA 218 Katie Smith (OSU) 1993-96 205 Kris McGrade (IU) 1991-94 203 Marcie Alberts (OSU) 1994-97 194 Krista Reinking (ILL) 1994-98 185 Maxann Reese (MSU) 1997-SA
SETTLING IN AT THE POINT
Redshirt freshman Vnemina Reese has started to find her groove at point guard. Reese is among the top five in the Big Ten with a 4.82 assists per game mark.
Reese, who started the first six games a year ago before being sidelined with a knee injury, is contributing 4.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
In the last five games, Reese is averaging 6.2 points, 4.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game The Fort Wayne, Ind., native distributed a career-high 10 assists in the win over Dayton on Dec. 17.
CALL IN THE RECKER
Freshman Maria Recker moved into the starting lineup against Ohio State. The start was the second of the year for the rookie from Auburn, Ind.
Recker had been averaging 16 minutes off the bench before moving into the starting lineup. Recker is fourth on the team with a 5.4 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. She has scored in double figures three times this season, including a career-high 15-point effort against Ohio on Dec. 21.
Recker earned the first start of her career in MSU's road win over Butler on Dec. 5.
TOUGH ?D? LEADS TO WINS
MSU has held nine opponents to less than 70 points this season and is 8-1 in those contests. The Spartans won 17-straight games when holding the opposition to less than 70 points before last Thursday's setback to Michigan (64-61).
MSU gave up just 50 points in its win over Ohio State on Jan. 2.
Michigan State has struggled with turnovers in the last six games. During that span, the Spartans are averaging 21.0 turnovers per game.
MSU has had 20 or more miscues in four of the last six games, including a season-high 29 in the win over Ohio State.
Junior center Erin Skelly had her best game of the season in MSU's win over Ohio on Dec. 21. The 6-5 center scored a season-high 12 points, on 5-of-5 shooting from the field, and pulled down a career-high eight rebounds.
Skelly is averaging 4.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game this season, both career highs.
Michigan State has no significant injuries.
Freshman center Jennifer Callier returned to the lineup on Dec. 17 after missing seven games with a stress reaction in her right foot.
Junior Nikki Davis has played in the last two contests after missing three games following arthroscopic surgery on her knee.
WINNING STREAK TOPS SINCE 1996-97
MSU's seven-game winning streak to start the season is the longest since the 1996-97 season, the year it won the Big Ten. The seven straight victories tie for the third longest winning streak in program history.
Rasmussen joins Brenda Jezowski and Christine Powers as the only players in history to serve as team captain three times. Rasmussen was also a co-captain in 1997-98 with Jamie Wesley.
The Spartans scored 100 points in a game for just the seventh time in program history with their 100-point effort against Appalachian State on Nov. 19.
The last time MSU reached the triple-digit mark was on Feb. 7, 1997 when it beat Minnesota, 102-51, at the Breslin Center.
Six of MSU's seven 100-point outbursts have come at home.
The Spartans got an early start on their 1999-2000 season with a 10-day trip to British Columbia, Canada in August.
MSU practiced for 10 days prior to departing for Canada and posted a 5-0 record during its tour.