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Women's Basketball Heads To Purdue To Face Boilermakers

Jan. 15, 2001


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Tip-Off -- Michigan State faces No. 6-ranked Purdue this Thursday (Jan. 18), at 7 p.m., at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana. MSU is coming off a pair of losses at home to Wisconsin and Illinois, while Purdue carries a seven-game winning streak into the contest.

About Michigan State

Statistically Speaking -- Despite ranking 10th in the Big Ten in scoring offense (64.6), MSU is seventh in the Big Ten statistics in scoring margin (+5.5) and second in the Big Ten in scoring defense (59.1). (Big Ten statistics as of Jan. 14).

Jackson Out For Season -- Freshman guard Candice Jackson will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee on Jan. 4 against Ohio State. Jackson, who went down with 6:11 to go in the first half, had successful surgery on Jan. 11. Jackson had played in 13 games, and was is the team's fourth-leading scorer, averaging 7.5 points prior to the injury. She was shooting 48.8 percent (34-of-82) from the field and 34.2 percent (13-of-38) from the three-point line, and was also averaging 2.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Jackson had the top game of her career against Chicago State (Nov. 26) in the consolation game of the Tallahassee Democrat Seminole Classic, scoring a career-high 26 points in MSU's 101-52 victory. Jackson finished 10-for-13 (.769) from the field and 6-of-8 (.750) from the three-point line. The six threes place her tied for fourth on the single-game chart.

And Starting This Week -- MSU used its 10th different starting lineup combination of the season against Illinois (Jan. 14). MSU started Becky Cummings at forward, Erin Skelly at center, and Donita Johnson, Christie Pung and Vnemina Reese at guard. It was Skelly's first start since the Alabama game on Dec. 10, while Pung made her first start since Virginia Tech (Nov. 25). MSU's only consistent in the starting rotation has been point guard Vnemina Reese. Reese has started all 16 games this season and 52 consecutive games.

Getting Defensive -- MSU continues to pace the Big Ten in field goal percent defense at 37.4 percent as opponents have connected on 322-of-862 shots. MSU is ranked 16th in the country in field goal percent defense. MSU also ranks second in the Big Ten and 16th in the national rankings in scoring defense (59.1 ppg). The Spartans have held opponents to 60 points or less on nine occasions this season. (National leaders as of January 8, 2001).

This Week's Opponent -- No. 6/6 Purdue (15-3 overall, 5-0 Big Ten)

The Coach - Christy Curry (Northeast Louisiana 1988) is in her second season behind the Boilermakers bench. Purdue, ranked No. 6 by the Associated Press, is 15-3 overall and sit atop the Big Ten standings at 5-0. The Boilermakers are 7-1 at home with their lone loss coming to then No. 11 Louisiana Tech on Nov. 20.

Ones To Watch - The 2000 Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year Katie Douglas paces the Boilermakers attack. Douglas is averaging 13.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.9 steals. Douglas, who earned Kodak All-America and Big Ten Player of the Year honors in 2000, has scored 1,638 career points as well as dishing out 457 career assists.

All-Time Series -- Purdue leads the all-time series, 25-16. The Boilermakers have won six of the last seven meetings between the schools and hold a 16-3 advantage in games played in West Lafayette.

1999-2000 Season Series -- MSU and Purdue split the 1999-2000 series. Behind a 32-point performance by Maxann Reese, MSU handed then No. 17-ranked Purdue, an 84-64 loss in East Lansing on Feb. 17. One week later, Purdue beat MSU 53-41 in West Lafayette. Katie Douglas scored 19 points for Purdue, while Becky Cummings added 11 for MSU in the Purdue victory.

Coach P vs. Purdue -- This is the first-ever meeting with Purdue for MSU head coach Joanne P. McCallie.

Last Time Out For MSU

Illinois Drops the Spartans -- Michigan State dropped its second consecutive Big Ten Conference contest, falling to Illinois 72-59 on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 14) at the Breslin Center. Illinois opened the game on fire, going on a 19-5 run in the first 11:51. Aminata Yanni paced the Illini attack during the run, scoring eight points including back-to-back three-point field goals. Illinois held the Spartans without a field goal until the 16:09 mark of the first half. Back-to-back three-point field goals by Vnemina Reese and Christie Pung pulled the Spartans within eight (21-13) with 6:00 minutes left in the half. MSU would cut the lead to three (27-24) on an Abby Salscheider driving layup. However, Illinois closed the half on an 11-2 run to take a 38-26 advantage into the locker room at halftime. Illinois continued to add to their lead in the second half, holding a 51-34 advantage on a Dawn Vana jumper with 13:20 left. Back-to-back baskets by Reese (three-point field goal) and Julie Pagel (layup) helped pull the Spartans within 12 (51-39) with 12:00 minutes remaining. However, Illinois proved to be too much for the Spartans opening up a 20-point advantage (61-41) with 6:40 left and cruised to the win. Aminata Yanni came off the Illinois bench to post a game-high 17 points. Allison Curtin (13 points) and Dawn Vana (12 points) were the other Fighting Illini in double figures. Christie Pung and Reese led the Spartans with 11 points apiece. Reese also grabbed a career-best eight rebounds.

More Spartan Notes

Upcoming -- Following the Purdue game, MSU is off until Jan. 25 when the Spartans entertain instate-rival Michigan at the Breslin Center. Tip-off for the MSU/U-M game is set for 8 p.m. as the game will be shown live on Fox Sports Net Chicago.

Spartan Bench -- MSU's bench has been outscored for seven straight games. During this span, the Spartan bench has been outscored by an average of 8.5 points. The last time MSU's bench outscored the opposition was Dec. 10 at Alabama (15-13). MSU's bench mustered only two points (a pair of free throws by Christie Pung) in the loss to Wisconsin (Jan. 11) and were outscored 36-to-25 in the loss to Illinois (Jan. 14).

Pung Steps Up -- Senior guard Christie Pung posted her second double-figure scoring game of the season with 11 points vs. Illinois (Jan. 14). It was her first double-digit effort since scoring a season-best 12 points against Boston College (Nov. 18). Pung, who is sporting a black right eye, is averaging 4.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists for the season.

Road Woes For MSU -- MSU is 3-5 on the road this season with wins over Chicago State, Samford and Minnesota. In the three wins, MSU averaged 76.7 points while allowing just 50.7 points. On the other hand in the five losses, MSU averaged just 51.8 points, 12.8 points below their season scoring average (64.6 ppg). On the other hand, MSU's opponents averaged just 60.4 points in the wins -- only 1.3 points above MSU's opponent season average.

On The Home Court -- In MSU's first seven home games, the Spartans are averaging 69.4 points while allowing just 60.0 points. For the season, the Spartans are averaging 65.0 points while giving up 58.3. MSU has held opponents to 63 points or less in each of its five home wins. The 72 points scored by both Wisconsin and Illinois were the most points MSU has given up all season. In addition, MSU is shooting 45.3 percent (195-of-430) from the field at the Breslin Center. However in games away from the Breslin, the Spartans are shooting just 42.0 percent (184-of-438). Overall, MSU is shooting 43.7 percent (379-of-868) from the field.

Make Those Free Throws Count -- Since shooting a season-low 37.5 percent (9-of-24) from the free throw line at Indiana on Dec. 31, the Spartans have connected 71.3 percent (57-of-80) of their shots in the past four games. MSU shot 72.2 percent (13-of-18) from the charity stripe against Illinois. Erin Skelly was 4-of-4, while Christie Pung and Maria Recker were each 2-for-2. For the season, MSU is connecting on just 61.3 percent (201-of-328) from the charity stripe. That mark ranks last in the Big Ten statistics. Individually, Maria Recker leads MSU in free throw shooting (.846, 11-of-13) while Christie Pung is second (.750, 21-of-28).

On The Boards -- The Spartans hold a 39.2-to-31.5 advantage on the boards, a difference of +7.7 rebounds per game. That mark leads the Big Ten statistics. After outrebounding its opponent in 13 of the first 14 games, MSU has been outrebounded the past two games. Wisconsin outrebounded the Spartans, 35-33 while Illinois held a 32-31 advantage on the glass.

Moving Up The Freshman Chart -- Julie Pagel continues to make her mark on MSU's freshman records chart. Pagel is seven on MSU's freshman records chart with 34 steals, and needs 10 more to move into sixth place. Nicole Cushing (1995-96) is currently sixth with 43 swipes. Pagel's 153 points places her tied for 16th on the freshman scoring chart. Pagel needs 12 more points to move into the 15th slot, surpassing Eileen Shea (1987-88, 164). In addition, Pagel's 126 boards place her ninth on the freshman rebounding chart. She needs nine more to move into the eighth slot, moving ahead of Bella Engen (1994-95, 134).



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