Women's Basketball Looks To Rebound
Spartans face tough week with road test against Iowa and home date with No. 3 Purdue.
January 25, 1999
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State closes out the month of January with two key Big Ten battles this weekend.
The Spartans will face the Iowa Hawkeyes for the second time in 12 days on Friday, Jan. 29 in Iowa City, IA. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m., EST at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
MSU then returns home to face the third-ranked Purdue Boilermakers on Sunday, Jan. 31. That contest gets underway at 2 p.m., at the Breslin Center.
Michigan State went 1-2 last week and is 10-9 overall. The Spartans, who are tied with Wisconsin for sixth place in the Big Ten with a 4-5 mark, lost in overtime to Michigan (76-75), defeated Minnesota (73-58) and lost to Illinois (82-60) in a period of six days.
Iowa is 8-10 overall and in eighth place in the Big Ten with a 3-5 mark.
The Hawkeyes have lost four straight, including an 86-67 setback to Michigan in their only game last week.
Purdue is 16-1 overall and stands atop the Big Ten leader board with an 8-0 mark. The Boilermakers are in the midst of a school-record 14-game winning streak. Purdue hasn't lost since a 73-72 setback to Stanford on Nov. 22, 1998.
Purdue has two games on the schedule before Sundayss meeting with MSU. The Boilermakers will travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on Ohio State on Tuesday, Jan. 26 in a makeup of the Jan. 3 postponed game. Purdue will then face Indiana on the road on Friday, Jan. 29.
ON THE AIR
Friday's game with Iowa will be carried live on WJIM Radio (1240 AM), while Sunday's contest with Purdue can be heard on WVFN Radio (730 AM).
Jeff Walker is the voice of Spartan basketball this season, while former Spartan standout Paula Sanders handles the analysis.
SPARTANS ON TV
Friday's game at Iowa will be carried live by FOX Sports Chicago. Dave Eanet and Amy Pritchard will call the action. The contest will be replayed on MediaOne Cable in the Lansing area on channel 17 on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 9 a.m., and on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.
The contest with Purdue 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 350-273, all at MSU.
The Grand Rapids native recorded her 350th career win with a 73-58 victory over Minnesota on Jan. 22.
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.
Angie Lee is in her fourth year at Iowa where she has a school and career record of 71-37.
Purdue coach Carolyn Peck is in her second and final season with the Boilermakers.
Peck, who guided Purdue to a record of 23-10 and the NCAA Regional Finals in her first year, will leave following the 1998-99 campaign to coach the WNBAs expansion Orlando Miracle.
Peck begins the week with a record of 39-11.
MSU's 73-58 victory over Minnesota on Friday, Jan. 22, secured the 350th win in coach Karen Langelands 23-year career.
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 W-Minnesota, 73-58 (1/22/99)
MSU defeated Iowa, 70-64, just 12 days ago at the Breslin Center, but the Hawkeyes lead the all-time series, 23-10.
In the Jan. 17 contest, juniors Kristen Rasmussen and Maxann Reese, along with sophomore Becky Cummings tallied 18 points to lead the Spartans.
The win was the second straight for MSU over the Hawkeyes.
The Spartans are just 3-12 against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. Their last victory at Carver-Hawkeye Arena came on Feb. 10, 1995 (62-55).
The Spartans were easily handled by third-ranked Purdue on Jan. 15, 70-47, losing their fourth-straight game to the Boilermakers.
Senior Pernille Dalgaard led MSU with 13 points, while Reese was the only other player in double figures with 11.
Overall, Purdue is 23-15 against MSU since the series began in 1978. The Spartans have posted a 12-7 mark against the Boilermakers at home. MSU's last win over Purdue was an 83-70 triumph on Jan. 5, 1997 at the Breslin Center.
PUNG STILL QUESTIONABLE WITH INJURY Sophomore point guard Christie Pung missed Sunday's game with Illinois because of a sprained left shoulder. Pung, who is the backup to starter Donita Johnson, suffered the injury late in last Friday's win over Minnesota.
Her status for this weekend's games against Iowa and Purdue will be re-evaluated on a daily basis. Pung is averaging 3.1 points, 1.7 assists and 16.9 minutes per game.
Each Big Ten team plays a 16-game conference schedule featuring two contests against six of the schools and one game against four teams.
The four Big Ten teams that MSU plays just once this season are Penn State (L-90-66), Minnesota (W-73-58), Illinois (L-82-60) and Indiana (Feb. 5).
FREE THROW STREAK
Junior guard Maxann Reese has made 13 straight free throws heading into this Friday's game with Iowa.
Reese's streak began with a 6-for-6 performance against Iowa on Jan. 17. She went 2-for-2 from the charity stripe against Michigan (Jan. 20) and was 5-for-5 against Minnesota (Jan. 22) on Friday night.
Overall, Reese is shooting 85 percent from the free throw line.
REESE APPROACHING 900 POINTS
Junior Maxann Reese begins the week 26 points shy of becoming the 18th player in Spartan history to score 900 career points.
Currently, the Highland Park native ranks 21st on the all-time chart with 874 points.
If she continues at her current scoring pace (17.2 ppg), Reese could reach the coveted 1,000-point mark by the end of the regular-season.
RASMUSSEN NOT FAR BEHIND
Junior Kristen Rasmussen also continues to move up the MSU scoring chart. She currently ranks 23rd all-time with 855 points and begins the week 45 shy of reaching the 900-point mark.
MORE RECORDS TO WATCH
Maxann Reese is 11 three-pointers shy of surpassing her assistant coach on the MSU all-time chart for triples.
Reese ranks third all-time with 134, trailing Christine Powers (144) and Tanya Place (159).
Kristen Rasmussen continues to add to her career rebounding totals. She is 12th all-time with 542 boards and is 58 shy of becoming just the 11th player in program history to garner 600 rebounds.
Michigan State had just 12 turnovers in last Fridays victory over Minnesota, its second-lowest of the season.
The Spartans have committed less than 20 turnovers 12 times this season and are 8-4 in those contests.
On the flip side, MSU has turned the ball over 20 or more times in seven contests this season and is 2-5 in those games. MSU had a season-high 27 turnovers in the loss to Penn State (Jan. 11) and 26 in the setback to Purdue (Jan. 15).
Overall, MSU is averaging 18.6 turnovers per game.
In nine Big Ten contests, the Spartans are averaging 20.0 turnovers per game. They are 4-0 when their turnovers equal less than 20 and 0-5 when they have 20 or more miscues.
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.
GET THAT OUTTA HERE
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in blocked shots with a 4.47 per game average.
Junior Kristen Rasmussen leads the way and is third in the conference with a 1.74 blocks per game average.
She tied her career high with five rejections against Illinois on Jan. 24. Her 33 blocks in 1998-99 rank fourth on the MSU single-season chart. Rasmussen holds the seasonal record of 45 set last season.
Rasmussen is MSU's all-time leader in blocks with 117.
Sophomore Erin Skelly also ranks among the top 10 in the league with a 1.00 blocks per game average.
Sophomores Becky Cummings and Donita Johnson also have garnered double-digit blocks this season with 10 each.
Junior Maxann Reese leads the team and is fourth in the Big Ten with a 17.2 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 10 of the last 13 games.
She has scored in double figures in 18 of 19 games this year and in a total of 45 during her three-year career.
The Spartan tri-captain is averaging 18.6 points per game in Big Ten play, also good for fourth in the league.
In last Friday's win over Minnesota, Reese scored a season-high 27 points. She has topped the 20-point mark five times this season, including a 25-point effort against Wisconsin on Jan. 8. Overall, the Highland Park native is contributing 3.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
Junior Maxann Reese has connected on 41 three-pointers this season, good for a seventh-place tie on the MSU single-season chart.
She has hit four triples in a game three times this season, including a 4-of-6 performance in last Friday's win over Minnesota and a 4-of-9 outing against Illinois on Sunday.
In 19 games, Reese has canned two or more triples in a contest 14 times.
Reese is shooting 34 percent from behind the arc in 19 games and 37 percent from long range in nine Big Ten contests.
Junior Kristen Rasmussen and sophomore Becky Cummings have each posted five double-doubles this season.
Rasmussen had her streak of three straight broken in Sunday's loss to Illinois.
Rasmussen and Cummings rank among the Big Ten leaders in rebounding with 8.8 and 7.78 per game averages, respectively.
Rasmussen has seven double-digit rebound games this season, while Cummings has six.
Forward Pernille Dalgaard is the only senior on the 1998-99 MSU squad. She has started all 19 games for the Spartans and is contributing a career high 8.2 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.
Dalgaard has scored in double figures in seven games this season, including a season-high 14 points in the win over Northwestern on Jan. 5 and the victory against Southern Illinois on Dec. 12.
Dalgaard led the Spartans with 13 points against No. 3 Purdue on Jan. 15 and tied her season high with seven rebounds against Minnesota on Jan. 22.
Sophomore center Erin Skelly has provided valuable minutes off the bench since Big Ten play began in late December.
Overall, Skelly is averaging 4.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game and is second on the team with 19 blocked shots.
In nine Big Ten games, Skelly is averaging 6.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game and is shooting 60 percent from the floor. She is averaging 1.33 blocks per game in conference play to rank among the Big Ten leaders.
In the win over Northwestern (Jan. 5), the 6-5 post player scored a season-high 10 points and had two blocks in 20 minutes of action.
Against Penn State (Jan. 11), Skelly scored nine points and tied her career high with seven rebounds.
MSU's depth problems got worse with the loss of sophomore Christie Pung to a shoulder injury.
Rookie Vnemina Reeese and sophomore Nikki Davis are already out for the season with knee injuries, leaving just five players on the bench for coach Karen Langeland.
Three of the players are freshmen, one is a sophomore 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 (Jan. 15) and is averaging just 5.5 minutes per game.
Even when she does dress, the 6-2 center is limited to approximately 5-8 minutes per contest because of her knee problems.
Sophomore Erin Skelly is MSU's leading reserve, averaging 4.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per contest.
Overall, the Spartan bench has outscored its opponents eight times and equaled the opposition's output once.
MSU reserves are contributing 12.5 points per game compared to its opponents 16.4 points per contest average.
Michigan State is among the top five in the Big Ten in assists per game with a 16.00 average, despite the fact that no Spartan player ranks among the top 10 in the league.
Six-four forward Kristen Rasmussen and point guard Donita Johnson pace the team in assists per game with an average of 3.0 per game.
FIRST HALF KEY FOR SPARTANS
Heading into the Michigan game, the Spartans were 5-0 when leading at the half. Against the Wolverines, MSU had a slim 35-31 advantage at the break but ended up losing in overtime, 76-75.
Overall, MSU has trailed at the half in 11 of 19 games this season and is 3-8 in those contests. The Spartans are 6-1 when leading at the break.
WHAT A GAME
Junior Kristen Rasmussen turned in the game of her career in last Wednesday's disappointing loss to the Wolverines.
The East Lansing native scored a career-high 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field and a perfect (6-of-6) performance from the free throw line.
Rasmussen also canned her fourth three-pointer of the season, had 11 rebounds, two blocks and a career-high four steals.
YOU GO BIG GIRL Kristen Rasmussen is one of the most versatile big players in the country.
The 6-4 forward is among the Big Ten leaders in five different categories.
She is averaging 15.3 points per game to rank among the top 10 in the league and is third in the conference with an 8.8 rebounds per game average.
Rasmussen is also among the Big Ten leaders in field goal percentage (.500), blocks per game (1.74) and free throw percentage (.762).
Rasmussen has added another component to her game this season, the three-point shot, hitting on 4-of-11 (.364) shots from behind the arc this season.
Overall, Rasmussen has scored in double figures in 15 of 19 games this season and in a total of 45 during her career. She has five double-doubles to her credit in 1998-99 and a total of 16 in her career.
Rasmussen has played in 75 career games and is averaging 11.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest.
One of the rising young stars in the Spartan program is sophomore Becky Cummings, who is third on the team with an 11.0 points per game average.
Cummings, who has started all 19 games in the post for MSU, is second in rebounding with a 7.7 boards per game average to rank among the Big Ten leaders.
The Walled Lake native has scored in double figures in 14 of 19 games this year and has had double-digit rebounds six times.
Cummings is shooting 54 percent from the field and leads the team with an average of 4.5 trips to the free throw line per game.
She contributed 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 on Dec. 5 against Illinois State following the season-ending injury to freshman starter Vnemina Reese.
Overall, Johnson is contributing 4.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
In Big Ten play, she is averaging 4.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.
In last Friday's victory over Minnesota, Johnson tied her career high with 14 points. She also had four assists and just one turnover in 34 minutes of action.
In the win over Iowa on Jan. 17, Johnson tied her career high with six assists. She 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 6-4 at home this year and have an all-time home mark of 208-99 (.677) and a record of 83-41 (.669) 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.