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Women's Basketball Welcomes Penn State And Indiana To Breslin Center

Feb. 5, 2001


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Tip-Off -- Michigan State (8-13 overall, 2-8 Big Ten) looks to get back on the winning track when the Spartans entertain Penn State Thursday (Feb. 8), at 7 p.m., and Indiana Sunday (Feb. 11), at 2 p.m., at the Breslin Center. Penn State (16-6 overall, 8-3 Big Ten) enters Thursday's game on a four-game winning streak. Meanwhile, Indiana has dropped four of its last five and will host Wisconsin Thursday before making the trek to Michigan. The Spartans are in the midst of a seven-game losing streak. MSU's last victory was against Ohio State on Jan. 4 at the Breslin Center.

About Michigan State

It's A Struggle On Offense -- Since scoring 81 points vs. Central Michigan on Dec. 20, MSU has averaged just 53.4 points over the past 10 games. MSU is 2-8 during this span. MSU had a season-low 34 points at Purdue on Jan. 18. The 34 points are the third-lowest point total in school history. The school record for fewest points is 30, set on Jan. 17, 1976 in a 56-30 loss to Grand Valley State. In addition, MSU scored just 12 first-half points in the loss at Wisconsin. The 12 points are the fewest in the first half this season and the third-lowest first-half point total in school history. 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.

Pagel Candidate For Freshman Of The Year Honors -- Julie Pagel continues to make her point for Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors. She currently leads the team in rebounding (8.0 rpg) and steals (1.9 spg). In addition, she ranks third in scoring (10.2 ppg). The 10.1 points-per-game average is 28th in the Big Ten in scoring. In Big Ten play only, Pagel leads the team in scoring 12.3 points-per-game and ranks 17th in conference action. In addition, she is averaging 7.2 rebounds -- a mark which places her sixth in conference play. Pagel has led MSU in scoring for the past three games, averaging 16.3 points - 6.1 points above her season average.

Statistically Speaking -- MSU is 10th in the Big Ten (overall games) in scoring offense (60.3), eighth in the Big Ten statistics in scoring margin (-1.3) and third in the Big Ten in scoring defense (61.8). However, since Big Ten play has started the Spartans are averaging just 53.4 points while allowing 69.2 points. The 53.4 points rank 10th in Big Ten play only and the 69.2 points allowed is seventh. MSU is 10th in scoring margin (-15.8). (Big Ten statistics as of Feb. 4).

Rebound The Ball -- The Spartans continue to pace the Big Ten in rebound margin at +6.0. MSU holds a 38.6-to-32.6 edge on the boards. MSU has outrebounded its opponent in 16 of the 21 games this season. Against the Badgers, MSU held a slim 35-to-34 edge on the boards. Erin Skelly paced the Spartan attack with nine rebounds.

This Week's Opponents

No. 16/15 Penn State (16-6 overall, 8-3 Big Ten)

The Coach - Rene Portland is in her 21st year behind the Lady Lion bench and 24th overall. Penn State, who is ranked No. 16 by the Associated Press and No. 15 by USA Today, has won four straight games since a 79-64 loss at Iowa on Jan. 21. Ones To Watch - Four of Penn State's starting five are averaging in double figures led by freshman guard and Big Ten Freshman of the Year candidate Kelly Mazzante at 18.5 points. Lisa Shepherd (15.4 ppg), Maren Walseth (13.9 ppg) and Rashana Barnes (11.0 ppg) round out the Lady Lions in double figures.

All-Time Series -- Penn State leads the all-time series, 13-2. MSU's two wins have been in East Lansing -- a 99-75 victory on Dec. 30, 1996 and a 71-63 upset on Jan. 23, 2000.

Last Meeting -- Led by 28 points by Kelly Mazzante, Penn State handed MSU a 97-49 defeat in State College on Jan. 28. MSU, who managed just 18 first-half points, was led by Julie Pagel with 15 points and six rebounds.

Coach P vs. Penn State -- Joanne P. McCallie is 0-1 all-time vs. PSU.

Indiana (14-7 overall, 5-5 Big Ten)

The Coach - Kathi Bennett (Wisconsin- Green Bay 1986) is in her first season at Indiana and her 13th overall as a head coach. The Hoosiers are 14-7 overall and 5-5 in Big Ten play. IU has dropped four of their last five games, including an 83-56 loss at Iowa on Sunday.

Ones To Watch - Junior center Jill Chapman, an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention selection in 1999-2000, is averaging 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds as well as shooting 54.4 percent (118-of-217) from the field. Heather Cassady (14.3 ppg) is the other Hoosier averaging in double figures.

All-Time Series -- MSU leads the all-time series with Indiana, 26-17. IU snapped MSU's three-game winning streak with a 71-54 win in Bloomington on Dec. 31. The Spartans are 13-6 all-time in games played in East Lansing.

Last Meeting -- Indiana used a 21-7 run to close the first half as the Hoosiers beat Michigan State, 71-54, on Dec. 31 at Assembly Hall. Four Hoosiers scored in double figures led by Jill Chapman with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Candice Jackson led all Spartans with 14 points.

Coach P vs. IU -- Joanne P. McCallie is 0-1 all-time vs. Indiana.

Last Week For MSU

MSU Drops Two Games -- Iowa handed Michigan State a 71-56 defeat at the Breslin Center on Thursday (Feb. 1). Iowa jumped out to an early 22-10 lead before Michigan State answered, going on a 13-8 run to cut the lead to eight (31-23) on a three-point play by Becky Cummings. A Christie Pung jumper put MSU down by four (37-33) at the half. The Hawkeyes opened the second half on a 5-0 run extending their lead to nine (42-33). Back-to-back baskets by Julie Pagel and Erin Skelly helped the Spartans pull within five (42-37). Iowa slowly extended the lead to 12 (57-45) on a Randi Peterson layup and led by as many as 23 (70-47) in the second half. Michigan State was led by Julie Pagel, who posted her third career double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Randi Peterson led Iowa with 18 points and 11 rebounds. An eight-minute scoring drought late in the first half spelled doom for Michigan State as No. 25 Wisconsin handed the Spartans a 69-49 defeat at the Kohl Center on Sunday (Feb. 4). MSU would take its only lead (6-5) on a layup by Erin Skelly at the 14:44 mark. UW would score six straight points, before baskets by Skelly and Donita Johnson helped the Spartans pull within five (15-10). The Badgers would put the game away, going on a 21-0 run over the next eight and a half minutes to take a 36-10 lead. MSU would break the scoring drought on a pair of free throws by Christie Pung with 11 seconds left in the half, as UW took a 39-12 lead into the break. Michigan State picked up is first basket since the 9:20 mark of the first half on a layup by Vnemina Reese at the16:25 mark. The Spartans would outscore the Badgers 37-30 in the second stanza, as MSU shot 45.2 percent (14-of-31) from the field. Julie Pagel led MSU for a third-straight game with 14 points while Wisconsin was led by Jessie Stomski with 19 points.

More Spartan Notes

Upcoming -- Michigan State hits the road for three straight games. The Spartans head to Northwestern Feb. 15 for an 7 p.m. CST tip-off with the Wildcats and Illinois Feb. 18 for a 2 p.m. CST tip-off with the Fighting Illini.

Tickets For Big Ten Tournament -- Tickets are now on sale for the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament which will be held in Grand Rapids, Mich., March 1-4. All-sessions tickets are $45 and provide admission for the five-session, 10-game tournament. Tickets can be purchased through the MSU Ticket Office by calling: 1-800-GO-STATE.

The Streak -- MSU is in the middle of a seven-game losing streak. The seven losses is tied for second all-time as MSU also lost seven straight games from Jan. 9, 1983 to Jan. 30, 1983. The school record for consecutive losses is nine, set from Jan. 10, 1976 to Feb. 3, 1976. MSU has tied the school record for consecutive Big Ten losses with seven, which was set from Jan. 9, 1983 to Jan. 30, 1983.

Johnson Breaks Through -- After scoring a combined nine points in the previous six games, Donita Johnson added nine points in the loss at Wisconsin. The nine points were her third-highest point total of the season. For the season, Johnson is averaging 4.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

Pagel Continues To Shine -- Freshman forward Julie Pagel netted her third career double-double with a 20-point, 11-rebound effort vs. Iowa. The 20 points were a career best, breaking the previous high of 17 set vs. Ohio State (Jan. 4). It was her 10th game in double figures this season and seventh in the past eight games. In the loss at Wisconsin, Pagel led MSU with 14 points marking the third straight game she has led the team in scoring. She also added two assists, four rebounds and one steal in 37 minutes.

Block That Shot -- With three blocked shots at Wisconsin, senior center Erin Skelly moved into a tie for second place on MSU's all-time blocked shots chart. She shares the mark with Jackie Carter (1980-83). Kristen Rasmussen (1997-2000) holds the MSU record with 194. Skelly leads MSU with 24 blocked shots this season which ranks fifth in the Big Ten.

Pung Bounces Back -- After being held scoreless at Penn State, Christie Pung bounced back with a nine-point effort in the loss to Iowa (Feb. 1). Pung finished 4-for-6 (.667) from the floor and was perfect (1-for-1) from the free throw line. She also grabbed three rebounds and dished out three assists in 34 minutes. The Pewamo, Mich., native recorded four points in the loss at Wisconsin (Feb. 4).

Who Are The Starters -- MSU has used 12 different starting lineup combinations in 21 games this season. MSU's only consistent in the starting rotation has been point guard Vnemina Reese. Reese has started all 21 games this season and 57 consecutive games. Reese leads MSU in minutes played, averaging 31.3 per game.

Spartan Bench -- After being outscored for 10 straight games, MSU's bench held a slim 23-to-22 advantage in the loss to Iowa. Becky Cummings came off the bench to add 12 points, while Erin Skelly added six. For the season, MSU's bench is being outscored by an average of 1.1 points per game. In all, MSU's opponents hold a slim 19.3-to-18.2 per game scoring average off the bench.

Moving Up The Freshman Chart -- Julie Pagel continues to make her mark on MSU's freshman records chart. Pagel's 215 points place her 12th on the freshman scoring chart. She needs just two more to take over 11th place (Kisha Kelly, 1991-92, 216) and four more for 10th (Brenda Jezowski, 1980-81, 218). Pagel is seventh on MSU's freshman records chart with 39 steals, and needs five more to move into sixth place. Nicole Cushing (1995-96) is currently sixth with 43 swipes. In addition, Pagel's 167 boards place her fifth on the freshman rebounding chart. Mary Kay McNall (1982-83) holds down the fourth position with 193 rebounds. Pagel also ranks in the top 10 in field goal percentage, free throws made and free throws attempted.

Moving Up The Career Charts -- Several Spartans are making their marks on MSU's career charts. * Becky Cummings is eighth on MSU's all-time scoring chart with 1,096 points. Cummings needs 48 more points to take over the seventh position ahead of Julie Polakowski (1983-86, 1,143). * Cummings is tied with Lil Preston (1981-83) for ninth place on the all-time rebounding chart with 640. She needs one more board to take over sole possession of ninth. * Donita Johnson sits in seventh place on the all-time assists chart with 320. She needs 20 more to surpass Brenda Jezowski (1981-83/85, 339) for sixth place on the all-time list. * Christie Pung is in seventh place on the all-time three-point chart with 35. Marline Ferguson (1991-92) is sixth with 38 career threes. * Maria Recker is eighth all-time in career three-point field goals with 34. Christie Pung is seventh with 35 and Marline Feguson (1991-92) is sixth with 38.



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