Jan. 24, 2000
East Lansing, Mich. -
Michigan State (14-4/5-2) at Ohio State (9-8/2-5) * Thursday, Jan. 27 * 8 p.m., EST * Columbus, OH
Michigan State at No. 12/13 Illinois (15-7/5-3) * Sunday, Jan. 30 * 3 p.m., EST * Champaign, IL Michigan State is on the road for a pair of Big Ten games this week.
The Spartans, who have won four straight, begin the week with a game against Ohio State on Thursday, Jan. 27. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m., EST at Value City Arena (19,500) in Columbus, Ohio.
MSU will then face 12th-ranked Illinois on Sunday, Jan. 30 at Assembly Hall (16,450) in Champaign, Ill. That contest is scheduled for a 3 p.m., EST start.
Both games will be carried on WVFN (730 AM) with Mike Vander Woude calling the action. Tracy Renken joins the broadcast for the Ohio State contest, while former Spartan great Paula Sanders will be hand for the Illinois game.
Broadcasts of all MSU games can be accessed on the internet at www.msuspartans.com.
The Ohio State game will be shown live on Fox Sports Chicago. The broadcast team is Brian Davis and Amy Prichard.
The game will be picked up and shown live in Lansing on AT&T Cable channel 17.
Michigan State is 14-4 overall and tied with Michigan for second place in the Big Ten with a 5-2 mark.
The Spartans, who have won four straight, won a pair of games last week against Iowa (82-77) and No. 4 Penn State (71-63). MSU is 5-1 in its last six games.
Ohio State is 9-8 overall and tied with Indiana for eighth place in the Big Ten with a 2-5 record.
The Buckeyes, who have lost three straight, dropped a pair of road games to Penn State (73-62) and Wisconsin (79-59) last week.
Illinois is 15-7 overall and in fourth place in the league with a 5-3 mark. The Illini snapped a three-game losing streak with an 82-65 road win over Northwestern on Jan. 23. Illinois is idle until its game with the Spartans.
Michigan State Spartans (14-4 Overall/5-2 Big Ten) PPG RPG APG F 52 Kristen Rasmussen, 6-4, Sr., East Lansing 14.2 10.6 2.1 bpg F 32 Becky Cummings, 6-3, Jr., Walled Lake 16.7 7.8 1.7 G 34 Donita Johnson, 5-10, Jr., Clinton Township 3.9 4.5 4.4 G 21 Maxann Reese, 5-9, Sr., Highland Park 14.9 3.1 2.6 G 40 Vnemina Reese, 5-7, RFr., Fort Wayne, IN 4.8 3.1 4.2
OFF THE BENCH
F 23 Maria Recker, 5-10, Fr., Auburn, IN 5.3 1.9 0.9 C 45 Erin Skelly, 6-5, Jr., Maple Grove, MN 4.4 3.7 0.6 G 22 Christie Pung, 5-5, Jr., Pewamo 3.4 0.5 1.7 F 25 Abby Salscheider, 5-11, So., Bluffton, IN 3.1 1.2 0.5
IN THE POLLS
Michigan State received 10 votes in last week's USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll.
Illinois was ranked 12th in last week's USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll and 13th in the Associated Press poll.
Michigan State coach Karen Langeland is in her 24th season and final season at the helm of the Spartan program.
A native of Grand Rapids, Langeland has a career coaching mark of 371-282.
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.
Beth Burns is in her third year at Ohio State where she has a record of 41-32. The Buckeye mentor has an 11-year career record of 192-114.
Theresa Grentz is in her fifth year at Illinois where she owns a record of 91-52. The former Rutgers coach has a career record of 552-207 in 26 years in the collegiate ranks.
THANKS FOR THE GIFT
Iowa coach Angie Lee presented Spartan coach Karen Langeland with a retirement gift prior to their game on Jan. 20.
Lee gave Langeland a pewter mug with an Iowa insignia on it and a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble, a bookstore.
FIRST AND ONLY TIME
MSU and Illinois face off for the first and only time in the regular season on Sunday.
The other teams that the Spartans will play just once this season are Indiana (Jan. 13 - W-78-56), Penn State (Jan. 23 - W-71-63) and Minnesota (Feb. 27 - away).
Ohio State leads the all-time series record with the Spartans, 34-14. MSU snapped a three-game losing streak to the Buckeyes with a 62-50 win at the Breslin Center on Jan. 2 in the first meeting between the two teams this season.
MSU is 6-14 against Ohio State in games played in Columbus. Last season, the Buckeyes defeated the Spartans, 85-46 at Value City Arena.
MSU holds a slim 21-17 advantage in its series with Illinois.
The Spartans have lost four-straight to the Illini, including an 82-60 setback in East Lansing last year in the only meeting between the two teams.
ABOUT THE BUCKEYES
Ohio State ranks ninth in the Big Ten in scoring (63.3 ppg), but is tops in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 59.1 points per game.
The Buckeyes are a young team with five freshmen, three sophomores and three juniors. The team's only senior, Michaela Moua, was dismissed from the squad last week. She averaged 10.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in 15 contests.
Rookie LaToya Turner, a 6-4 forward/center, has taken over the scoring duties and is averaging 11.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
Sophomore guard Lauren Shenk contributes 8.9 points and is the team's top three-point threat with 30 triples to her credit.
In Big Ten play, Ohio State is averaging just 55.0 points per game and giving up 65.4 per contest.
ABOUT THE ILLINI
Illinois is an experienced team with three seniors in the starting lineup. A trio of players average in double figures for the Illini, paced by sophomore guard Allison Curtin's 17.5 points per game.
Senior forward Tauja Catchings averages 15.5 points and a team-high 7.9 rebounds per game, while senior forward Susan Blauser adds 13.8 points and 7.7 boards per contest.
As a team, the Illini are averaging 76.8 points and 39.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 44 percent from the field.
HOME WINNING STREAK REACHES 12 GAMES
Michigan State improved to 9-0 at the Breslin Center this season with a 71-63 win over fourth-ranked Penn State on Jan. 23. The win extended the Spartans home winning streak to 12 games, tied for second longest in program history.
MSU's last home loss came against defending national champion Purdue on Jan. 31, 1999 (80-66).
MSU has a record of 95-42 (.693) in 10 years at the Breslin Center.
Consecutive Home Wins
13 11/30/96 - 11/21/97 12 2/12/99 - current 12 2/7/77 - 2/25/78 10 3/4/90 - 1/27/91
SPARTANS SNAP WINLESS STREAK AGAINST TOP 25 TEAMS
Michigan State snapped a 13-game losing streak against Top 25 teams with a 71-63 victory over No. 4 Penn State on Jan. 23. The Lady Lions are the highest ranked team the Spartans have ever beaten.
Prior to Sunday's game, the highest ranked squad MSU had beaten was seventh-ranked Vanderbilt on Jan. 5, 1997.
The Spartans' last win over a ranked opponent before Sunday's win against Penn State came on March 14, 1997 when they topped No. 25 Portland in overtime in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
MSU is 1-2 against nationally ranked teams this season. Earlier this season, the Spartans dropped non-conference games to Notre Dame (84-54) and North Carolina (82-65).
FREE THROW MAGIC
Senior Maxann Reese extended her consecutive free throw streak to 30 with an 8-for-8 performance against Iowa on Jan. 20. Her streak is the second longest in MSU history.
Reese has not missed a free throw since missing on her only attempt against Butler on Dec. 5. The Spartan guard is shooting 93 percent (39-of-42) from the line this season.
Junior Becky Cummings tied the MSU single-game record for free throw percentage (1.000) with a perfect 11-for-11 performance against Michigan on Dec. 30.
Cummings is one of eight players to be perfect from the charity stripe on 10 or more attempts.
Cummings went on to hit 19 consecutive free throws, the sixth longest streak in Spartan history. She is shooting 71 percent from the charity stripe on the season.
CONSECUTIVE FREE THROWS
33 Brenda Jezowski 2/25/83 to 12/12/83 30 Maxann Reese 12/8/99 to current 27 Kristen Rasmussen 2/5/99 to 3/14/99 23 Maxann Reese 12/14/96 to 2/23/97 22 Chris Powers 12/4/93 to 1/2/94 19 Becky Cummings 12/30/99 to 1/6/00
SPARTANS STINGY IN BIG TEN PLAY
Michigan State is giving up just 61.3 points per game in its first seven Big Ten games of the year, good for third in the league.
The Spartans have held three of their seven conference opponents to less than 60 points and all but one to less than 65.
MSU is averaging 69.1 points per game in conference action and has a 41.7-36.4 edge in rebounding in Big Ten play.
MSU LOOKING FOR FIVE-GAME BIG TEN WINNING STREAK
The Spartans, winners of four straight, are looking for their first five-game Big Ten winning streak since 1996-97.
Last season, MSU's longest winning streak in conference play was two games.
Michigan State is second in the Big Ten in rebounding with a 42.6 boards per game average overall.
The Spartans have outrebounded 13 opponents and are 11-2 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.
SPARTANS LEAD BIG TEN IN FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE
MSU leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage in overall games with a .459 mark.
The Spartans have shot 50 percent or better from the floor six times and is undefeated in those contests.
MSU has shot better than 50 percent from the field in two of its last three games, including a season-high 57 percent against Iowa on Jan. 20.
RASMUSSEN MOVES UP TO THIRD ON ALL-TIME REBOUNDING CHART
Senior Kristen Rasmussen had 11 rebounds against Penn State on Sunday to move into third place on the MSU all-time rebounding chart with 851 boards. Rasmussen is nine rebounds shy of moving past former Spartan great Jackie Carter (1980-83) and into second place on the all-time list.
If Rasmussen averages at least nine rebounds per game for the remainder of the season, she will surpass Kris Emerson (933/1984-87) as MSU's all-time leader.
RASMUSSEN TOPS IN THE BIG TEN
Senior forward Kristen Rasmussen leads the Big Ten and is among the national leaders with a 10.6 rebounds per game average. She is also tops in the league with 11 double-doubles this season. Rasmussen, who has totaled 34 in her career, has posted a double-double in four straight games and in nine of the last 10 contests overall.
Junior Becky Cummings is also among the league leaders with five double-doubles.
The Spartans are 5-0 this season when Rasmussen and Cummings post a double-double in the same game and 10-2 in the last 12 games when they accomplish that feat.
CONSISTENT CUMMINGS Junior Becky Cummings has been one of MSU's most consistent players this season. She currently leads the team and is fourth in the Big Ten with a 16.7 points per game average. Cummings is tied for seventh in the league with a 7.8 rebounds per game average.
The Walled Lake native leads the Big Ten and is among the top 12 in the nation with a .628 field goal percentage. In conference action, Cummings is shooting 66 percent from the floor.
She has shot 50 percent or better from the field in 14 of 18 games this season and is hitting at a .750 clip (27-of-36) in the last four contests. Against Iowa on Jan. 20, Cummings hit all seven shots from the field and was 8-of-9 from the free throw line.
In Big Ten action, Cummings is averaging 17.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest.
Cummings has topped the 20-point mark six times this year, including 23 points against Michigan (Dec. 30) and Central Michigan (Dec. 8).
The Walled Lake native ranks 16th on the all-time rebounding chart with 464 boards and is 26th all-time on the scoring chart with 776 points and is 16th on the rebounding list with 464 boards.
REESE'S PIECES FALLING INTO PLACE
Senior guard Maxann Reese has developed into a stellar all-around player for the Spartans. Reese has always been an offensive threat, but it's her defense this year that is drawing praise from MSU coach Karen Langeland.
Offensively, Reese is averaging 14.9 points per game. She also contributes 3.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
A First-Team All-Big Ten selection last year, Reese stands fourth on the MSU all-time scoring chart with 1,361 points.
The Highland Park native was held to just five points in the win over Penn State on Jan. 23, only the second time this season she has not scored in double figures.
The Spartan co-captain is MSU's all-time leader in three-point field goals with 192, a number that ranks her among the top eight in Big Ten history. She is eight shy of becoming just the seventh player in conference history to hit 200 triples.
Reese has topped the 20-point mark four times this season, including a season-high 25 points in the win over Illinois State on Dec. 2.
GETTING BACK ON TRACK
After averaging just 61.3 points per game in its first three Big Ten games, MSU is scoring at a 76.5 points per contest rate in the last four games.
The Spartans are averaging 75.3 points per game overall and 69.1 points per contest in Big Ten action.
MSU has topped the 80-point mark seven times this season, 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, 55 vs. Northwestern) and in its victory over Ohio State (62).
RASMUSSEN MOVING UP BIG TEN ALL-TIME CHART FOR BLOCKED SHOTS
Senior forward Kristen Rasmussen had four blocks in the win over Indiana on Jan. 13 to move into seventh place on the Big Ten all-time chart where she currently stands with 178 blocks.
Rasmussen, who is MSU's all-time leader, needs 22 blocks to become one of just six players in conference history to record 200 blocks in a career.
Rasmussen has had 12 blocks in the last four games and is averaging 2.1 blocks per contest overall.
MORE ON RAS
Senior Kristen Rasmussen has stepped up her play since Big Ten action began.
In conference play, Rasmussen is averaging 15.3 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.6 steals per game. She is also shooting 57 percent from the field.
Overall, the 6-4 forward ranks among the Big Ten leaders (all games) in scoring (14.2 ppg), rebounding (10.6 rpg/1st), blocks (2.1 bpg) and steals (2.1 spg).
Rasmussen stands fifth on the MSU all-time scoring chart with 1,291 points and third on the all-time rebounding chart with 851 boards.
The Spartan co-captain became the fifth player in Spartan history to record 800 boards in a career when she pulled down eight rebounds against Northwestern (Jan. 6).
The East Lansing native is one of just three players in Spartan history to score 1,000 points and pull down 800 rebounds in a career. Rasmussen is in the elite group with Kris Emerson (1,590 pts./933 reb.) and Mary Kay Itnyre (1,189 pts./821 reb.).
SETTLING IN AT THE POINT
Redshirt freshman Vnemina Reese has started to find her groove at point guard. Reese is among the Big Ten leaders with a 4.17 assists per game mark.
Reese, who started the first six games a year ago before being sidelined with a knee injury, is contributing 4.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.
In the first seven Big Ten games of the year, she is averaging 5.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
The Fort Wayne, Ind., native distributed a career-high 10 assists in the win over Dayton on Dec. 17. She tied her season high with eight points in the win over Iowa on Jan. 20.
Defensively, she came up big in the win over Penn State helping to hold Helen Darling to just eight points on 3-of-10 shooting in 40 minutes.
TOUGH "D" LEADS TO WINS (MOST TIMES)
MSU has held 13 opponents to less than 70 points this season and is 11-2 in those contests. The Spartans won 17-straight games when holding the opposition to less than 70 points before their 64-61 loss to Michigan on Dec. 30.
MSU gave up just 50 points in its win over Ohio State (Jan. 2), 58 in its loss to Northwestern (Jan. 6) and 56 in the win over Indiana (Jan. 13).
The Spartans are third in the league in scoring defense (61.3) for Big Ten games only. MSU has held six of its first seven conference opponents to less than 65 points.
RESERVES ANSWER THE CALL - BIG TIME
It's no coincidence that during the Spartans' four-game winning streak the MSU bench has outscored its opponent in each of those contests.
The Spartan reserves played a significant role in the win over Penn State, outscoring the Lady Lion bench, 25-6.
The MSU bench is averaging 19.9 points per game overall, while its opponents average 16.1 per contest.
In the first three Big Ten games of the year, MSU got just 6.7 points per game from its bench. The Spartan reserves were held scoreless in the loss to Michigan and contributed just four points in the loss to Northwestern on Jan. 6.
Freshman Maria Recker has provided MSU with valuable minutes off the bench, averaging 15.6 minutes per contest.
While Recker has started twice this season, she has been more productive off the bench.
The rookie from Auburn, Ind., is fourth on the team with a 5.3 points and 1.9 rebounds per game average.
She has scored in double figures four times this season, including a career-high 15-point effort against Ohio on Dec. 21. Recker pulled down a career-high seven rebounds in the win over Penn State on Jan. 23.
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.
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.