Women's Hoops Gears Up For Busy Week
January 18, 1999
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State has a busy week with three contests on the schedule beginning with Wednesday's makeup game against Michigan.
The Spartans and Wolverines will tipoff at 7 p.m. at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor. The game was originally scheduled for Jan. 3, but was postponed because of poor weather conditions.
Following the midweek clash with the Wolverines, the Spartans will return to the Breslin Center (15,138) for a pair of games this weekend.
MSU will host Minnesota on Friday, Jan. 22 in a 7:30 p.m., tipoff and will take on Illinois on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 2 p.m.
Michigan State snapped its two-game losing streak with a 70-64 victory over Iowa on Jan. 17 and improved to 9-7 overall.
The Spartans are in fifth place in the Big Ten with a 3-3 mark.
Michigan is 9-6 overall and in 11th place in the Big Ten with a 1-4 mark. The Wolverines have lost five straight with their last victory coming against Indiana (72-58) on Dec. 28, 1998.
The Wolverines dropped conference games to Wisconsin (71-65) and Penn State (74-66) last weekend.
Minnesota is 7-10 overall and tied with Indiana for ninth place in the Big Ten with a 2-5 mark.
The Golden Gophers picked up their second league win of the year with a 70-68 victory over Northwestern on Jan. 15 before having their two-game winning streak snapped in an 80-66 loss to Indiana on Jan. 17.
Illinois begins the week with an overall record of 10-6 and tied with Penn State for third place in the Big Ten with a 4-2 mark.
The Fighting Illini will host Purdue on Monday, Jan. 18 and Penn State on Friday, Jan. 22, before traveling to East Lansing for Sunday's game with the Spartans.
ON THE AIR
The Michigan (Jan. 20) and Illinois (Jan. 24) games will be carried on WVFN Radio (730 AM), while Friday's Minnesota contest will be on WJIM Radio (1240 AM).
Jeff Walker is the voice of Spartan basketball this season, while former Spartan standout Paula Sanders handles the analysis.
The home games with Minnesota and Illinois will be carried live by MediaOne Cable in the Lansing area on channel 17.
Ben Stark will handle the play-by-play duties, while Sue Carter provides the analysis.
Michigan State coach Karen Langeland is in her 23rd year of directing the Spartan program. The dean of Big Ten women's coaches has a career record of 349-271, all at MSU.
The Grand Rapids native is just one victory 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.
Former Michigan State assistant Sue Guevara is in her third season as the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines. Guevara has a school and career coaching record of 43-27.
Cheryl Littlejohn is in her second year at Minnesota where she has a school and career record of 11-33.
Theresa Grentz is in her fourth season at Illinois and in her 24th campaign in the collegiate ranks.
Grentz begins the week with a record of 67-39 with the Illini and a career coaching mark of 528-194.
MSU coach Karen Langeland begins the week just one victory shy of career win number 350.
Langeland has the second longest tenure in the Big Ten among current men's and women's coaches behind Bob Knight of Indiana (28 years).
The Milestone Victories
No. 1 W-Western Illinois, 79-67 (12/12/76) No. 50 W-Wayne State, 63-48 (1/16/79) No. 100 W-Virginia St., 104-58 (2/21/82) No. 150 W-Northwestern, 80-72 (2/2/86) No. 200 W-Michigan, 47-45 (1/27/89) No. 250 W-Northwestern, 68-66 (2/14/92) No. 300 W-Northwestern, 94-90 (1/19/96) No. 350 ???
MSU has a commanding 39-9 lead in the all-time series with Michigan that began in 1973.
The Wolverines picked up two wins over the Spartans last season, including an 89-72 non-conference victory on Nov. 22, 1997 at the Breslin Center.
Overall, MSU is 13-3 in its last 16 contests with the Wolverines. The last time the Spartans lost three-straight games in the series was from 1989 to 1990.
MSU is 15-5 in games played in Ann Arbor.
The Spartans have a 19-12 advantage in their series with Minnesota.
The two teams split last seasons series with each squad winning on the road. The Gophers picked up an 91-73 victory in East Lansing, while the Spartans collected a 68-60 win in Minneapolis.
Overall, the Spartans have won five of the last six against the Gophers. MSU is 11-4 at home against Minnesota.
The Spartans are 20-17 overall against Illinois, but have lost three consecutive games to the Illini.
Illinois won both games against MSU last season, including a 98-51 win in Champaign that handed the Spartans their worst-ever loss.
MSU is 14-4 against the Illini at home.
The four Big Ten teams that MSU plays just once this season are Penn State (L-90-66), Minnesota (Jan. 22), Illinois (Jan. 24) and Indiana (Feb. 5).
REESE AND RASMUSSEN REACH MILESTONES
Juniors Maxann Reese and Kristen Rasmussen reached several career milestones in the win over Iowa on Sunday.
Both players scored 18 points against the Hawkeyes to top 800 points in their careers. Reese moved into 22nd place on the all-time scoring chart with 813 points, while Rasmussen is 24th with 806.
Reese connected on two three-pointers to move past former Spartan and current Michigan assistant coach Eileen Shea and into third place on the all-time chart with 124 triples.
Rasmussen also added 11 rebounds to become the 13th Spartan to record 500 career rebounds. She currently ranks 13th with 509 boards.
THANKS FOR SHARING
Juniors Kristen Rasmussen and Maxann Reese along with sophomore Becky Cummings each scored 18 points against Iowa to lead the Spartans in scoring.
It was the first time all season that more than one player paced the team in points.
Against No. 20 Penn State, Rasmussen was the top point producer breaking Reese's streak of seven games as the leading scorer.
Reese has led the team in scoring eight times, while Rasmussen has garnered high point honors seven times. Cummings has been the team leader twice, while senior Pernille Dalgaard has led the team once.
GET THAT OUTTA HERE
The Spartans tied their season high with 10 blocked shots against Penn State on Jan. 11, setting a new Bryce Jordan Arena record.
Overall, the Spartans lead the Big Ten in blocked shots per game, averaging 4.50 per game.
Junior Kristen Rasmussen leads the team and is among the top five in the Big Ten with a 1.50 average, while sophomore Erin Skelly is second on the team and among the league leaders with a 1.06 rejections per game average.
Sophomores Becky Cummings and Donita Johnson also have garnered double-digit blocks this season with 10 each.
TOUGH GOING AGAINST TOP 25
The Spartans are 0-3 against nationally ranked opponents this season and winless in their last eight games overall against top 25 teams.
MSU's last victory over a ranked opponent came against No. 25 Portland in the NCAA Tournament on March 14, 1997. The Spartans knocked off a total of five top 25 teams in 1996-97.
Junior Maxann Reese leads the team and is among the Big Ten leaders with a 16.6 points per game average.
Reese, who was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Dec. 14, has been the team's leading scorer in eight of the last 10 games.
She has scored in double figures in 15 of 16 games this year and in a total of 42 during her three-year career.
The Spartan tri-captain is averaging 17.7 points per game in Big Ten play.
In last Friday's win over Wisconsin, Reese scored 25 points, on 11-of-16 (.687) shooting from the floor.
Overall, the Highland Park native is contributing 3.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
CHAIRWOMEN OF THE BOARDS
Junior Kristen Rasmussen and sophomore Becky Cummings have been a formidable rebounding force for the Spartans this season.
The duo ranks among the top 10 in the Big Ten in rebounding with Rasmussen averaging 8.4 boards per game and Cummings contributing 7.8 per contest.
Both players have garnered double-digit rebounds five times this season, while Cummings has four double-doubles and Rasmussen has three.
The Spartan frontliners each recorded double-doubles in the win over Iowa on Jan. 17, their first since December.
Opponent Pts. Reb. Texas A&M (11/28) 18 11 Ohio (12/9) 10 12 Iowa (1/17) 18 11 Season Total - 3 -- Career Total - 14
Opponent Pts. Reb. Central Mich. (11/15) 10 10 SMU (11/27) 18 13 Ohio (12/9) 21 11 Iowa (1/17) 18 10 Season Total - 4 -- Career Total - 5
Forward Pernille Dalgaard is the only senior on the 1998-99 MSU squad. She has started all 16 games for the Spartans and is contributing a career high 8.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
Dalgaard has scored in double figures in five of the last nine games, including a season-high 14 points in the win over Northwestern on Jan. 5 and the victory against Southern Illinois on Dec. 12.
Dalgaard, who led the Spartans with 13 points against No. 3 Purdue last Friday, is averaging 8.5 points per game in Big Ten play.
Sophomore center Erin Skelly has provided valuable minutes off the bench since Big Ten play began in late December.
In the win over Northwestern, the 6-5 post player scored a season-high 10 points and had two blocks in 20 minutes of action.
Against Wisconsin (Jan. 8), Skelly contributed six points, two rebounds and two blocked shots, while she scored nine points and tied her career high with seven rebounds against No. 20 Penn State (Jan. 11).
Overall, Skelly is averaging 3.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game and is second on the team with 17 blocked shots. She had her streak of eight games with at least one block stopped in the win over Iowa on Jan. 17.
In six Big Ten games, Skelly is averaging 5.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game and is shooting 64 percent from the floor.
Coach Karen Langeland has just six players on her bench following the season-ending injuries to Vnemina Reese and Nikki Davis.
Three of the players are freshmen, two are sophomores and one is a junior.
The lone junior is Whitney Winberg, who has been plagued by knee problems her entire career. Winberg did not dress for the Purdue game and is averaging just 5.8 minutes per game. Even when she does dress, the 6-2 center is limited to approximately 15 minutes per contest because of her knee problems.
Sophomore Erin Skelly is MSU's leading reserve, averaging 3.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest.
Overall, the Spartan bench has outscored its opponents eight times.
MSU reserves are contributing 13.1 points per game compared to its opponents 15.8 points per contest average.
THOSE FIRST HALF BLUES
MSU has trailed at the half in 10 of 16 games this season and is 3-7 in those contests. The Spartans are 5-0 when leading at the break.
Kristen Rasmussen is among the Big Ten leaders in blocked shots per game with a 1.50 average and 24 blocks. Rasmussens 24 blocks tie Sue Forsyth (1986-87) for ninth on the MSU single-season chart.
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. She currently has 108 and has the opportunity to finish among the top 10 all-time in the Big Ten before she concludes her career.
MORE ON RAS
Kristen Rasmussen is second on the team and among the league leaders with a 15.1 points per game average. She has been MSU's leading scorer seven times this season and has led or shared rebounding honors 11 times.
The Spartan tri-captain, who has started 53-straight games for MSU, ranks among the Big Ten leaders in rebounds (8.4), blocks per game (1.50), field goal percentage (.511) and free throw percentage (.757).
Overall, Rasmussen has played in 72 career games and is averaging 11.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per contest.
She has scored in double figures in 12 of 16 games this season and a total of 42 in her career. Rasmussen has three double-doubles this season and a total of 14 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 an 11.6 points per game average.
Cummings, who has started all 16 games in the post for MSU, is second in rebounding with a 7.8 boards per game contest.
The Walled Lake native has scored in double figures in 12 of 16 games this season and has garnered double-digit rebounds five times.
Cummings is shooting 54 percent from the field and leads the team with an average of 4.9 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.
Sophomore Donita Johnson has settled into her role as the starting point guard. Johnson took over the starting duties against Illinois State on Dec. 5 following the season-ending injury to freshman starter Vnemina Reese.
Overall, Johnson is contributing 3.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. In the last five games, she is averaging 4.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. In the win over Iowa, Johnson tied her career high with six assists.
Johnson also dished off six assists in MSUs win over Ohio on Dec. 9 and contributed a career-high 11 rebounds.
AT THE BRESLIN CENTER
The Spartans are 5-3 at home this year and have an all-time home mark of 207-98 (.679) and a record of 82-40 (.672) 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.
REESE AND DAVIS SUFFERS SEASON-ENDING INJURIES
Freshman point guard Vnemina Reese (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and sophomore forward Nikki Davis (Brighton) are out for the 1998-99 season after suffering knee injuries back in December.
Reese injured her right knee early in the second half of MSUs win over Detroit on Dec. 1, while Davis went down in MSUs game at Illinois State on Dec. 5.
Both underwent surgery to repair torn anterior cruciate ligaments on January 5.
Reese, who started the first six games of the year, was averaging 5.7 points and 2.7 assists per game and was leading the team with 14 steals.
Davis had played in seven games and was averaging 0.7 points and 1.3 rebounds as a reserve.
Senior Pernille Dalgaard along with juniors Kristen Rasmussen and Maxann Reese are serving as tri-captains 1998-99. The players were selected in a vote by their teammates, giving MSU a trio of captains for just the third time in the last 21 years.
IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING
MSU guards Vnemina Reese and Maxann Reese are not related. The duo does have the distinction of being the first Spartan teammates since Sue Tucker and Mary Tucker in 1984 and 1985 with the same last name.
SPARTANS ADD TWO DURING EARLY SIGNING PERIOD
Two Indiana prep players signed national letters of intent during the early signing period. Jennifer Callier, a 6-3 center from Indianapolis, and Maria Recker, a 5-10 guard from Auburn, Ind., will join the Spartan program beginning with the 1999-2000 season.
Both players have been named to Street & Smith's 1998-99 preseason Honorable Mention All-America team and are preseason first-team all-state honorees.
Callier, who was named to the Blue Star Camp All-Star team in 1997 and 1998, averaged 14.0 points and 10.2 rebounds per game last year at Cathedral High.
Recker earned first-team all-state honors last year at DeKalb High after averaging 16.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. A USA Today Preseason Regional Top 25 player, Recker entered her senior season with 1,075 career points, third all-time at DeKalb.
Recker played on the same AAU team (Lady Legit) as current Spartan freshmen Vnemina Reese and Abby Salscheider. Reckers brother, Luke, is a sophomore on the basketball team at Indiana.
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