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Women's Basketball Looks To Get Back On The Winning Track

Jan. 31, 2001


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Tip-Off -- Michigan State (8-11 overall, 2-6 Big Ten) will look to get back on the winning track when they face two Big Ten Conference opponents this week. On Thursday (Feb. 1), at 7 p.m. EST, MSU entertains Iowa (10-8 overall, 5-3 Big Ten) at the Breslin Center. Iowa has been off since a 92-52 win over Northwestern on Jan. 25. MSU has dropped five-straight games following a 97-49 loss at No. 19/15 Penn State on Sunday. The Spartans travel to Wisconsin on Sunday (Feb. 4) for a 1:30 p.m. CST tip-off at the Kohl Center. The Badgers dropped a 75-70 decision at Purdue on Sunday.

About Michigan State

Where Did The Offense Go -- Since scoring 81 points vs. Central Michigan on Dec. 20, MSU has averaged just 53.6 points over the past eight games. Included in this total is a season-low 34 points that the Spartans produced at Purdue on Jan. 18. The 34 points are the third-lowest point total in school history. In addition, MSU scored just 18 first-half points in the loss to Penn State (Jan. 28). The 18 points is the third-lowest first-half point total of the season and tied for eighth in the all-time record books. The school record for fewest points scored in a half is 11, set vs. Ohio State (38) on Jan. 23, 1976 and vs. Michigan (29) on Feb. 24, 1989.

Cummings Questionable For This Week -- Senior forward Becky Cummings is questionable for this week's action after reaggravating her injured foot in practice on Jan. 17. Cummings missed five games (Dec. 5-20) with a torn plantar fascia suffered late in the first half of the Dec. 3 Eastern Michigan contest. She returned to action at Indiana (Dec. 31), but has missed the past three games (at Purdue, vs. Michigan & at Penn State). Cummings is currently the Spartans leading scorer (11.8 ppg) and second-leading rebounder (6.3 rpg). She is shooting 57.7 percent (56-of-97) from the field and 49.2 percent (29-of-59) from the free throw line. An All-Big Ten honoree in 1999-2000, Cummings is averaging 10.8 points and 6.3 rebounds for her career. She ranks second all-time in MSU history in field goal percentage (.577, 383-of-664).

Bring In The Fans -- MSU had the fifth-largest crowd (7,323) in school history when Michigan visited town last Thursday. It marked just the sixth time in school history that MSU has drawn over 7,000 fans to a game with four of the contests vs. Michigan. The Spartans set the school record on Feb. 20, 2000 when 7,733 fans attended the Michigan-Michigan State game at the Breslin Center.

This Week's Opponents

Iowa (10-8 overall, 5-3 Big Ten)

The Coach - Lisa Bluder (Northern Iowa 1983), one of three rookie coaches in the Big Ten, is in her first season behind the Iowa bench. She has led the Hawkeyes to an 10-8 overall mark and a 5-3 Big Ten slate. Iowa has won two straight games and four of its last five.

Ones To Watch - Iowa is paced by guards Lindsey Meder and Cara Consuegra, who were both named to All-Big Ten Second-Team in 1999-2000. Meder is averaging 17.5 points and 3.7 rebounds, while Consuegra is averaging 11.1 points and 5.4 assists.

All-Time Series -- Iowa leads the all-time series, 23-13. However, the Spartans have won five straight games, including a pair of wins in 1999-2000 The Spartans are 7-10 all-time in games played in East Lansing.

1999-2000 Season Series -- MSU won both meetings between the schools -- a 78-56 win in Iowa City on Jan. 20 and a 74-64 victory in East Lansing on Feb. 6. In MSU's 74-64 victory, three Spartans scored in double figures led by Kristen Rasmussen with 18 points.

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

No. 25/NR Wisconsin (10-8 overall, 5-3 Big Ten)

The Coach - Jane Albright (Appalachian State 1977) is in her seventh year behind the Badger bench. Wisconsin has won four of its last five games with the lone loss at No 6 Purdue (75-70) in overtime on Sunday.

Ones To Watch - Junior forward Jessie Stomski, an All-Big Ten Second-Team honoree in 1999-2000, leads the Badgers in scoring (16.1 ppg) and rebounding (8.1 rpg). LaTonya Sims (14.7 ppg), Tamara Moore (14.1 ppg) and Nina Smith (11.5 ppg) round out the other Badgers in double figures.

All-Time Series -- Michigan State leads the all-time series, 25-18. However, the Badgers have won three straight games, including a 72-56 win in East Lansing on Jan. 11, and five of the last six.

Last Meeting -- Wisconsin beat MSU 77-45 in the WNIT Quarterfinals March 22. The Badgers used a 25-8 run late in the first half to take a 41-22 lead into the locker room at the half. MSU was led by Becky Cummings and Maxann Reese with 10 points each.

Coach P vs. UW -- MSU head coach Joanne P. McCallie is 0-2 all-time vs. Wisconsin.

Last Week For MSU

MSU Drops A Pair Of Games -- In yet another classic battle in the instate rivalry, Michigan escaped from the Breslin Center with a 58-49 win over Michigan State on Jan. 25 before a season-high attendance mark of 7,323. Neither team could muster much on the offensive side in the first half, but the Spartans would take a six-point advantage (21-15) into the locker room at the half. Michigan came out of the locker room at the half, going on a 6-0 run to even the score at 21 with 15:55 remaining. Pung broke the Spartan scoring drought, hitting a three-point basket at the 15:32 mark to give MSU a three-point advantage (24-21). The lead would seesaw back and forth before Jennifer Smith hit a layup with 6:13 remaining to give the Wolverines a 38-36 lead. MSU would pull within one (40-39) on a three-point play by Reese with 4:54 remaining. However, the Wolverines outscored the Spartans, 18-10, down the stretch to claim the win. Penn State scored the first 12 points of the game and never looked back in posting a 97-49 victory on Jan. 28 in State College, Pa. MSU shot just 25.9 percent (7-of-27) in the first half and 36.5 percent for the game. Meanwhile, PSU shot 50.0 percent for the game, including a 21-for-35 performance (.600) in the second half. The Spartans were led by Julie Pagel with 15, while Kelly Mazzante finished with 28 for Penn State.

More Spartan Notes

Upcoming -- Following the Iowa and Wisconsin games, MSU returns to the Breslin Center for a pair of games. The Spartans host Penn State Thursday (Feb. 8), at 7 p.m., and Indiana Sunday (Jan. 11), at 2 p.m.

Rebound The Ball -- The Spartans, who entered the Penn State game leading the Big Ten in rebound margin at +7.5, were outrebounded by the Nittany Lions, 42-to-32. It marked just the fourth time this season that MSU has been outrebounded by its opponent. For the season, MSU holds a 38.6-to-32.1 edge on the boards -- a difference of +6.5 boards. That mark still leads the Big Ten.

Reese Hits For Career High -- Vnemina Reese hit for a career-best 23 points in the loss to Michigan (Jan. 25). She was 8-of-14 (.571) from the field, including a 3-of-6 effort from the three-point line and a 4-for-4 showing at the free throw line. She had her second straight game in double figures with 11 points at Penn State. Reese is the team's second-leading scorer (11.1 ppg). She also leads the team in three-point field goal percentage (.447) and ranks first on MSU in assists (71).

Pagel On The Boards -- Julie Pagel, despite standing just 5-foot-11, continues to lead the Big Ten in defensive rebounds, averaging 6.16 per game. She is third in the Big Ten in rebounding (8.0), behind Iowa's Randi Peterson (8.5 rpg) and Wisconsin's Jessie Stomski (8.1 rpg). She led MSU with 11 boards vs. Michigan and tied for the team lead with six at Penn State. Pagel has led or tied for the team lead in rebounding in 12 games this season.

Pung In Double Digits -- Christie Pung recorded her third game of the season in double-digits with 11 points vs. Michigan (Jan. 25). Pung, who played a season-best 37 minutes, also added five assists and two rebounds. Pung, who is still sporting a black eye from the Illinois game (Jan. 14), is averaging 4.8 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists through the first 19 games.

Salscheider Matches Season Best -- Abby Salscheider matched her season-best offensive output with a 12-point effort in the loss at Penn State. It was the fourth time this season and the eighth time in her career that she has hit for double figures.

Moving Up The Freshman Chart -- Julie Pagel continues to make her mark on MSU's freshman records chart. Pagel is seventh on MSU's freshman records chart with 35 steals, and needs nine more to move into sixth place. Nicole Cushing (1995-96) is currently sixth with 43 swipes. Pagel's 181 points place her 14th on the freshman scoring chart. Pagel needs six points to surpass Cheri Euler (1993-94), who currently holds down the 13th position with 186 points. In addition, Pagel's 152 boards place her eighth on the freshman rebounding chart. Kristen Rasmussen (1996-97) and Nicole Cushing (1995-96) hold down sixth place with 157 boards.

Moving Up The Career Charts -- Several Spartans are making their marks on MSU's career charts. * With three three-point field goals vs. Michigan, Christie Pung moved into seventh place on the all-time three-point chart with 35. Marline Ferguson (1991-92) is sixth with 38 career threes. * Maria Recker needs just two three-point field goals to move in front of Pernille Dalgaard (1996-99, 33). Recker enters today's game with 32 career threes. * Becky Cummings needs five more points (1,084) to slide into eighth place on MSU's all-time scoring chart. She would move ahead of Bella Engen (1995-98, 1,088), who currently holds down the eighth spot. * Cummings also needs five more rebounds to surpass Lil Preston (1981-83, 640) for ninth place on the all-time rebounding chart. Cummings currently holds down the 10th spot with 636 boards. * Donita Johnson sits in seventh place on the all-time assists chart with 310. She needs 25 more to surpass Brenda Jezowski (1981-83/85, 339) for sixth place on the all-time list.

Injury Update -- Senior forward Nikki Davis will miss the entire 2000-01 season with a knee injury suffered during the preseason. Freshman guard Candice Jackson (knee) is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL vs. Ohio State (Jan. 4).



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