January 4, 1999
EAST LANSING, Mich. - After snowstorms postponed its scheduled game with Michigan on Jan. 3, the Spartan basketball team returns to action on Tuesday, Jan. 5 with a game against Northwestern. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m., EST at Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117) in Evanston, Ill.
Following Tuesday's contest with the Wildcats, MSU returns to the Breslin Center to face Wisconsin on Friday, Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m., then travels to University Park, Pa., to face No. 17 Penn State on Monday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m.
MSU's game with Michigan that was postponed because of the weather has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 20. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m., at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor.
Michigan State is 6-5 overall and 0-1 in the Big Ten after dropping its conference-opening game to Ohio State, 62-60, on Dec. 30.
The Spartans have lost two-straight and three of their last five heading into the game with Northwestern.
Northwestern is 7-4 overall following a 78-58 non-conference victory over UW-Milwaukee on Jan. 1.
The Wildcats, who have won two-straight and five of their last seven overall, opened Big Ten play with a 68-66 road win over Indiana on Dec. 30.
Wisconsin begins the week with an overall record of 7-5 and a Big Ten mark of 2-1 following a 79-72 victory over Iowa on Jan. 3 in Madison.
The Badgers, who are 2-3 in their last five games, will play at Ohio State on Tuesday before Friday's game against the Spartans.
BOOK NIGHT - JAN. 8
Fans bringing a new or used book to MSU's game against Wisconsin on Jan. 8 will be admitted free.
All collected books will be distributed throughout the community.
Friday's game with Wisconsin will be carried live by MediaOne Cable.
The game will be shown in the Lansing area on MediaOne cable channel 17, in East Lansing and Meridian Township on TCI Cable channel 13 and on Horizon Cable channel 11.
Ben Stark will handle the play-by-play duties, while Sue Carter provides the analysis.
ON THE AIR
The Northwestern contest will be broadcast on WVFN Radio (730 AM), while the Wisconsin game will be carried by WJIM Radio (1240 AM).
Jeff Walker is the voice of Spartan basketball this season, while former Spartan standout Paula Sanders handles the analysis.
Michigan State coach Karen Langeland is in her 23rd year of directing the Spartan program. The dean of Big Ten womens coaches has a career record of 346-269, all at MSU.
The Grand Rapids native is just four victories shy of her 350th career win. Langeland has guided the Spartans to 15 winning seasons, three NCAA Tournaments and a Big Ten title (1997) since becoming the third head coach in MSU history.
Don Perrelli is in his 15th season at Northwestern and in his 23rd campaign in the collegiate ranks. Perrelli has a record of 246-169 with the Wildcats and an overall coaching mark of 421-240.
Wisconsin's Jane Albright-Dieterle is in her fifth year as coach of the Badgers and in her 15th campaign overall. Albright-Dieterle begins the week with a record of 85-43 at Wisconsin and a career record of 273-153.
Northwestern holds a slim 20-16 advantage in the series with Michigan State. The Spartans have won five-straight against the Wildcats, including an 11-point victory (76-65) in East Lansing in the only meeting between the two teams last year.
MSU is just 5-13 overall in games played in Evanston, but has won in its last two trips to Welsh-Ryan Arena.
The Spartans have a 23-13 advantage in their series with Wisconsin. MSU lost a 72-65 decision to the Badgers in Madison in its only meeting with Wisconsin last season.
The Spartans are 7-3 in their last 10 games overall against the Badgers and have a record of 14-3 at home.
MSU has won five-straight games at the Breslin Center against the Badgers and has just one setback at home against Wisconsin since 1985 (12-1).
The Wildcats are playing without senior forward Kristina Divjak who is out for the year with a knee injury. The preseason All-American was averaging 16.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in the first four games of the year before the injury.
With Divjak on the sidelines, Northwestern is starting three sophomores, one junior and a senior.
The Wildcats have a balanced scoring attack with four players averaging in double figures. Senior guard Megan Chawansky leads the way with a 16.6 points per game average.
As a team, Northwestern is averaging 76.3 points per game and shooting 44 percent from the field.
Junior Maxann Reese leads the team and is seventh in the Big Ten with a 16.2 points per game average.
Reese, who was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Dec. 14, has been the teams leading scorer in the last five games.
Reese has scored in double figures in 10 of 11 games this year and in a total of 37 during her three-year career.
Over the last four games, the Spartan tri-captain is averaging 20.2 points and shooting 53 percent from the field, including 42 percent (10-of-24) from three-point range.
Overall, the Highland Park native is contributing 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game.
Reese continues her climb on the MSU all-time scoring chart. Against Notre Dame on Dec. 21 she became the 24th player in Spartan history to top the 700-point mark. She currently ranks 24th all-time with 725 points.
Just the fifth player in school history to record 100 three-pointers in a career, Reese stands fourth all-time with 112 career triples.
In 68 career games, Reese is averaging 10.7 points, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
ON THE DOUBLE
Junior Kristen Rasmussen and sophomore Becky Cummings have been a formidable rebounding force for the Spartans this season.
The duo ranks fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Big Ten in rebounding with Rasmussen averaging 9.3 boards per game and Cummings contributing 8.5 per contest.
Rasmussen has garnered double-digit boards four times this season, while Cumming's has four double-figure games to her credit.
Forward Pernille Dalgaard is the only senior on the 1998-99 MSU squad. She has started all 11 games for the Spartans and is contributing a career high 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Dalgaard has scored in double figures in three of the last four games, including a season-high 14 points in the win over Southern Illinois on Dec. 12.
In the last four games, Dalgaard is averaging 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest. Dalgaard had her consecutive free throw streak of 16 halted against Notre Dame when she missed on her only trip to the line.
Overall, the Spartan tri-captain is shooting 72 percent (21-of-29) from the charity stripe.
As a team, the Spartans are seventh in the Big Ten in assists per game, averaging 15.5 per contest. However, MSU does not have an individual ranked in the top 10 in the conference in assists per game.
Spartan point guards have led the team in assists in just three games this season. Former starter Vnemina Reese led the way with four against Detroit (12/1), Donita Johnson shared team high honors with forward Pernille Dalgaard (6) against Ohio (12/9) and Chrisite Pung paced the team with four against Notre Dame (12/21).
Junior forward Kristen Rasmussen leads the team in assists with a 3.2 per game average. She has been the assist leader in five games, while Maxann Reese has led the team three times.
Sophomore point guard Christie Pung has seen considerable playing time off the bench in the last two games, averaging 33.5 minutes per contest.
Pung is contributing 5.5 points and 4.0 assists per game in the last two games and is shooting 36 percent from the field. She has also committed just three turnovers in the two contests.
Overall, Pung is averaging 3.7 points and 1.4 assists per game.
Now that sophomore Donita Johnson is starting at the point, sophomore Christie Pung is MSU's leading reserve averaging 3.7 points per game.
Overall, however the Spartan bench has been outscored in six of 11 games.
MSU reserves are contributing 13.7 points per game compared to its opponents 16.8 points per contest average.
THOSE FIRST HALF BLUES
For the seventh time this season, the Spartans found themselves trailing at the half in the game with Ohio State (Dec. 30).
MSU used a strong second half run to actually take a lead against the Buckeyes, but couldn't hold on as OSU pulled out a 62-60 victory.
The Spartans are averaging 10 points better in the second half of play this season. Overall, MSU is averaging 29.7 points in the first half and 39.4 in the second. Spartan opponents are scoring 30.7 points in the first half compared to 33.4 points in the second half.
Kristen Rasmussen is fourth in the Big Ten in blocked shots per game with a 1.64 average and 18 blocks.
The East Lansing became MSU's all-time leader in blocked shots after tying her career high with five blocks against Detroit on Dec. 1.
Rasmussen rejected four shots against the Buckeyes to become the first Spartan to reach 100 career blocks.
MORE ON RAS
Kristen Rasmussen is second on the team and among the Big Ten leaders with a 14.9 points per game average. She has been MSU's leading scorer five times this season and has led or shared rebounding honors nine times.
The Spartan tri-captain, who has started 48-straight games for MSU, ranks among the Big Ten leaders in rebounds (4th/9.3), blocks per game (4th/1.64), field goal percentage (9th/.472) and free throw percentage (8th/.786).
Rasmussen continues her climb up the MSU all-time scoring and rebounding charts. She currently ranks 23rd all-time in scoring with 729 points and is 15th all-time with a 476 boards.
She scored 10 points against Ohio on Dec. 9 to become the 23rd player in Spartan history to score 700 points and is 24 boards shy of becoming the 13th player to reach 500 career rebounds.
Overall, Rasmussen has played in 67 career games and is averaging 10.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per contest.
She has scored in double figures in eight of 11 games this season and a total of 38 in her career. Rasmussen has two double-doubles this season and a total of 13 in her three-year career.
One of the rising young stars in the Spartan program is sophomore Becky Cummings, who is third on the team with a 12.5 points per game average.
Cummings, who has started all 11 games in the post for MSU, is second in rebounding with an 8.5 boards per game contest, good for fifth in the Big Ten.
The Walled Lake native has scored in double figures in nine of 11 games this season and has garnered double-digit rebounds four times.
Cummings is shooting 55 percent from the field and leads the team with an average of 5.8 trips to the free throw line per game.
She contributed a career-high 18 points and a career-high 13 boards in the win over SMU on Nov. 27 en route to earning MVP honors at the Cotton Bowl Classic.
AT THE BRESLIN CENTER
The Spartans are 3-3 at home this year and have an all-time home mark of 205-98 (.677) and a record of 80-40 (.667) in 10 years at the Breslin Center.
Last year, MSU was 5-6 at the Breslin Center, marking just the second time in program history it finished with a losing record at home.