MSU Hosts Purdue, Travels to League-Leader Illinois

Feb. 10, 1998

Fri., Feb. 13 - PURDUE - 7:30 p.m. EST
Sun., Feb. 15 - At #10 Illinois - 5:00 p.m. EST

Game Data - Michigan State will play three of its final four regular-season games at the Breslin Center (15,138) beginning with Friday's contest against Purdue. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.

The Spartans hit the road for the final time during the regular season when they take on league-leader Illinois on Sunday, Feb. 15. Game time is 5 p.m., EST.

A sellout crowd of over 4,000 is expected for the MSU-Illini game at Huff Hall.

The Records - MSU extended its winning streak to a season-high three games with a 74-72 win over Ohio State on Feb. 8. The Spartans began the weekend with a 68-60 road win over Minnesota, their first Big Ten road victory of the season.

Michigan State is 11-11 overall, the first time it has been at the .500 mark since Dec. 30. The Spartans improved to 5-7 in the Big Ten, good for ninth place.

After opening the Big Ten season with a 1-6 mark, the Spartans have posted a 4-1 record in their last five games.

Purdue is 14-8 overall and tied with Michigan and Penn State for fourth place in the Big Ten with a 7-5 mark.

The Boilermakers are 1-3 in their last four games following home losses to Iowa (73-67) and Michigan (62-60) last weekend.

Illinois is 16-6 overall and in first place in the Big Ten with a 10-2 mark.

The Illini, who will host Ohio State on Friday, defeated Penn State (78-69) and Minnesota (75-67) on the road last weekend.

Illinois is 9-2 overall (including one game at Assembly Hall) at home this season and 13-0 in Huff Hall over the last two seasons.

The Illini are ranked No. 10 in this week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and share the No. 9 spot with Arizona in the Associated Press poll.


Michigan State Spartans (11-11/5-7)                      PPG   RPG   APG
F  52  Kristen Rasmussen, 6-4, So., East Lansing        12.3   8.6   1.7 bpg
F  31  Bella Engen, 6-1, Sr., Hoenfoss, Norway          13.4   6.4   1.4
C  45  Erin Skelly, 6-4, Fr., Maple Grove, MN            3.6   2.8
G  21  Maxann Reese, 5-8, So., Highland Park            12.8   1.9   3.0
G  30  Jamie Wesley, 5-8, Sr., Morrice                  12.0   3.5   2.7
F  32  Becky Cummings, 6-3, Fr., Walled Lake             4.4   3.5
F  14  Pernille Dalgaard, 5-11, Jr., Horsholm, Denmark   6.9   2.9   2.0

Purdue Boilermakers (14-8/7-5)                         PPG   RPG   APG
F  23  Tiffany Young, 5-11, So., Hillsboro, AL         5.0   1.9   1.2
F  33  Michelle Duhart, 6-0, So., Arlington, VA        5.4   5.5
C  25  Mackenzie Curless, 6-1, So., Martinsville, IN   8.1   4.1
G   5  Ukari Figgs, 5-9, Jr., Georgetown, KY          14.4   5.0   3.8
G  22  Stephanie White, 5-11, Jr., West Lebanon, IN   20.5   5.8   5.3

Illinois Fighting Illini (16-6/10-2)                  PPG   RPG   APG
F  12  Tauja Catchings, 6-1, So., Bensenville, IL    11.5   5.9   3.8
F  34  Nicole Vasey, 5-9, Sr., Lake Zurich, IL        5.3   3.3
C  55  Casey Leonhardt, 6-5, So., Downers Grove, IL   7.7   5.1   1.8 bpg
G  23  Melissa Parker, 5-9, So., Elgin, IL            7.3   3.2   2.3
G  32  Ashley Berggren, 5-10, Sr., Barrington, IL    17.8   5.6   3.0

On The Air - Friday's contest against Purdue will be carried live on WJIM Radio (1240 AM), while Sunday's contest at Illinois can be heard on WVFN Radio (730 AM) at 5 p.m., EST.

Larry Lage calls the action on all Spartan women's basketball broadcasts, while former MSU standout Paula Sanders provides the analysis.

Sunday's game at Illinois is the Fox Sports Chicago Game of the Week.

Internet Audio Broadcast - Friday's game against Purdue can be heard via internet audio broadcast.

To access the game, go to the Spartans home page at Link to the women's basketball page, then click on the internet audio broadcast and follow the instructions. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

The Coaches - Karen Langeland is in her 22nd year at Michigan State. The Spartan mentor, who has a career record of 340-259, guided MSU to a share of its first-ever Big Ten title last year. MSU posted a 22-8 overall record last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season. The Spartans have made three NCAA Tournament appearances overall under Langeland's guidance.

The Grand Rapids native has led the Spartan program to 15 winning seasons and four 20-win campaigns.

Purdue's Carolyn Peck has a 14-8 mark in her first year with the Boilermakers. Peck spent one year as an assistant coach at Purdue before assuming the head job following the departure of Nell Fortner.

Theresa Grentz is in her third year at Illinois and in her 24th campaign overall. Grentz begins the week with a record of 53-29 with the Illini and a career mark of 514-184.

The Series Records - Purdue has a 21-15 advantage in its series with Michigan State. The Boilermakers have won two-straight over the Spartans and eight of the last nine overall.

The Boilermakers defeated MSU, 70-60, earlier this season in West Lafayette, IN.

In the first game of the season, MSU was playing its fourth game in eight days and was forced to play without senior Bella Engen, who sprained the index finger on her shooting hand in the game against Illinois two days earlier.

After leading throughout most of the first half, the Spartans gave up several offensive rebounds and an easy basket to let Purdue to a 39-34 lead and the momentum into halftime.

After Purdue jumped out to a 53-36 lead early in the second half, the Spartans cut it to six points (64-58) but could get no closer down the stretch.

Purdue's Stephanie White led all scorers with 28 points, while Ukari Figgs scored 18 points and hauled down 13 rebounds.

Jamie Wesley paced the Spartans with 13 points, while Maxann Reese ended the contest with 12. Freshman Becky Cummings came off the bench to score a season-high 12 points.

MSU holds a 20-16 advantage in its series with Illinois. The Illini have won two-straight against the Spartans and three of the last four overall, including an 82-67 victory in the first meeting of the season.

MSU's last win in Champaign, Ill., came on Feb. 17, 1995, when the Spartans defeated Illinois, 94-65.

The first time the two teams met this season, Illinois dominated the boards, outrebounding the Spartans, 50-32.

Jamie Wesley paced the Spartans with a season-high 26 points, while Engen added 10 points and a team-high eight boards.

Alicia Sheeler paced the Illini with 27 points and 16 rebounds.

Engen/Wesley Join 1,000 Point Club In Same Weekend - Seniors Bella Engen and Jamie Wesley made history by becoming the first two Spartan teammates to reach the 1,000-point mark in the same season.

Engen and Wesley accomplished the feat in back-to-back games last weekend.

Engen, a native of Hoenfoss, Norway, became the 8th player in program history to score 1,000 points with her 21-point effort against Minnesota on Feb. 6.

Engen ranks 7th all-time with 1,026 points and is five shy of moving past Brenda Jezowski (1981-83/85) into sixth place.

Wesley became the 9th player in Spartan history to reach the historic mark with her 20-point effort in Sunday's thrilling win over Ohio State (Feb. 8).

The Morrice native stands 8th all-time with 1,017 points.

All-Time Scoring Chart
1.  Kisha Kelley      1,668
2.  Kris Emerson      1,590
3.  Eileen Shea       1,401
4.  Mary Kay Itnyre   1,189
5.  Julie Polakowski  1,143
6.  Brenda Jezowski   1,030
7.  Bella Engen       1,026
8.  Jamie Wesley      1,017
9.  Jill Prudden      1,012

Last Second Heroics Give Spartans 74-72 Win Over Ohio State - Freshman Becky Cummings sank two free throws with four seconds remaining to give Michigan State a thrilling 74-72 victory over Ohio State at St. John Arena.

The victory improved MSU's overall record to 11-11, the first time the Spartans have been .500 since Dec. 30. The win also improved MSU's winning streak to a season-high three games and its Big Ten record to 5-7. The Buckeyes fell to 13-9 overall and 6-7 in the conference.

Senior Bella Engen's two free throws with 4:41 left in the game gave MSU its biggest lead of the game at 68-58. Ohio State's Larecha Jones and Marrita Porter sparked a comeback, leading the Buckeyes to a 13-2 run and a 71-70 lead with 2:27 left in the game.

MSU intentionally fouled Jamie Lewis with 17 seconds remaining and the Buckeye guard made one of two free throws to increase Ohio State's lead to 72-70. Engen then inbounded the ball to Jamie Wesley, who went coast-to-coast for a layup and the foul to knot the score at 72-72 with 11 seconds remaining.

Wesley missed the free throw, but sophomore Maxann Reese kept the ball alive, setting up Cummings' winning free throws.

Engen, Wesley and sophomore Kristen Rasmussen combined for 60 of MSU's 74 points with 20 points each.

Despite Ohio State's full-court pressure, MSU committed just 13 turnovers and shot 53 percent from the field.

"Their pressure kept us from executing our half court offense," Langeland said. "At the other end, they were going to Jones and Porter and we couldn't stop them."

Jones ended the contest with a game-high 29 points and 10 rebounds, while Porter had 22 points and seven rebounds.

MSU Holds Off Minnesota - Michigan State held off a late run by Minnesota to pull out a 68-60 road win over the Gophers on Feb. 6.

"It was ugly, but it's a win for us," coach Karen Langeland said. "At this point in the season any win is huge, so we will take it."

The Spartans, who held a slim 30-26 lead at halftime, quickly went up by nine (35-26) on a three-pointer by Jamie Wesley at the 18:27 mark of the second half. Minnesota chipped away at the lead and eventually took a one-point advantage at 47-46 on a basket by Angie Iverson with 11:33 left to play.

Bella Engen's three-point play with 4:03 left to play capped a 16-2 Spartan run, giving MSU its biggest lead of the game at 62-49.

The Gophers wouldn't go away, though, as Kiauna Burns scored six points during an 11-1 ru, cutting MSU's lead to 63-60 with 2:24 remaining.

MSU turned the ball over with a 30-second clock violation on its next possession, but Minnesota couldn't convert and was forced to foul down the stretch. Pernille Dalgaard and Maxann Reese combined to sink 5-of-6 free throws in the last minute and a half of play to secure the victory.

Engen paced MSU with 21 points, while Wesley added 16 and came up with four steals. Sophomore Kristen Rasmussen added 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots.

(as of 2/9/98)
                  Big Ten       Overall
1.  Illinois      10-2   .833   16-6   .727
2.  Iowa           9-3   .750   12-9   .571
3.  Indiana        8-5   .615   17-9   .654
4.  Michigan       7-5   .583   15-7   .682
    Purdue         7-5   .583   14-8   .636
    Penn State     7-5   .583   13-9   .591
7.  Wisconsin      6-6   .500   17-7   .708
8.  Ohio State     6-7   .461   13-9   .591
9.  Michigan State 5-7   .417   11-11  .500
10. Northwestern   2-11  .154    7-18  .280
11. Minnesota      1-12  .077    4-19  .174

This Week's Games/Last Week's Results

Friday, February 13
Ohio State at Illinois
Indiana at Northwestern
Wisconsin at Iowa
Purdue at Michigan State
Michigan at Penn State

Sunday, February 15
Michigan State at Illinois
Minnesota at Indiana
Penn State at Iowa
Northwestern at Michigan
Purdue at Wisconsin

Friday, February 6
Indiana 56, Wisconsin 55
Iowa 73, Purdue 67
Michigan State 68, Minnesota 60
Northwestern 76, Ohio State 60

Sunday, February 8
Illinois 75, Minnesota 67
Indiana 58, Penn State 55
Iowa 79, Northwestern 72
Michigan 62, Purdue 60
Michigan State 74, Ohio State 72

Engen Is Consistently Good - Senior Bella Engen has been MSU's most consistent player this seaosn. She is the team's leading scorer with a 13.4 points per game average.

In last weekend's two victories, Engen averaged 20.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. She shot .696 from the field (16-of-23) and was perfect from the free throw line (8-of-8) in the two wins.

The Hoenfoss, Norway has scored in double figures in 15-of-21 games and has five 20-point efforts to her credit this season. Engen scored a career-high 27 points in the win over Texas on Nov. 29 and added 26 against Central Michigan (Dec. 14).

She has 3 double-doubles this season and a total of 6 in her career.

Engen ranks among the Big Ten leader in scoring, rebounding (6.5 rpg), free throw percentage (.811) and field goal percentage (.578).

Engen has made 11-straight free throws dating back to the second half of the Wisconsin game on Jan. 30.

Spartans Hot From The Field - Michigan State shot better than 50 percent in both games last weekend, including 53 percent in the win over Ohio State.

In the two contests, the Spartans shot 52 percent (54-of-104). MSU has shot 50 percent or better from the field 7 times this season and is 7-0 in those games.

MSU At The Breslin Center - After posting a 12-1 mark at home in 1996-97, the Spartans are 5-3 at the Breslin Center this year.

Michigan State's loss to Michigan in the Felpausch Classic on Nov. 22, snapped the Spartans' school-record 13-game home winning streak.

MSU has an all-time mark of 77-34 (.694) at the Breslin Center. The Spartans are 27-7 (.794) at home since 1995-96.

Spartans Tough At The Charity Stripe - The Spartans are 2nd in the Big Ten and among the national leaders with a .745 free throw percentage.

MSU shot 80 percent from the free throw line in Sunday's win over Ohio State and 75 percent from the charity stripe against Minnesota.

Free throws have played a crucial role in MSU's last two wins. Against the Gophers, Pernille Dalgaard and Maxann Reese combined to make 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to secure the win.

In the thrilling victory over Ohio State, freshman Becky Cumming stepped to the line and sank two free throws with four seconds left to give MSU a 74-72 win over the Buckeyes.

Overall, the Spartans have shot 70 percent or better from the line in 17-of-22 games.

Against the Gophers on Jan. 11, MSU hit a school-record 30 free throws in a season-high 40 attempts.

Wesley In Midst Of New Scoring Streak - Senior guard Jamie Wesley went through a stretch of four games where she averaged just 4.7 points per game from Jan. 9 to Jan. 25. She has broken out of that slump in fine fashion, averaging 17.0 points per game over the last four contests.

The Spartan co-captain averages 12.0 points per game overall and has scored in double figures 13 times this season, including a season-high 26 against Illinois on Jan. 2.

Wesley ranks among the Big Ten leaders with a 2.1 steals per game average.

Rasmussen's Block Party - Sophomore Kristen Rasmussen is two blocks shy of breaking her own single-season record for blocks. She currently has 38 and is fourth in the Big Ten with a 1.7 blocks per game average.

Over the last six games, Rasmussen has tallied two or more blocks and is averaging 2.5 rejections per contest.

She ranks second on the MSU all-time chart with 77 blocks.

The Spartan co-captain leads MSU and is 2nd in the Big Ten with an 8.6 rebounds per game average. She has pulled down double-figure rebounds in 8 games this season, including a career-high 20 against Penn State on Dec. 30. She has collected 7 double-doubles in 1997-98 and has a total of 10 in her career.

The East Lansing native is MSU's third-leading scorer with a 12.3 points per game average. She is among the Big Ten leaders with an .821 free throw percentage.

Rasmussen has scored in double figures in 17 games this season.

Maximum Performance - Sophomore guard Maxann Reese is MSU's second-leading scorer with a 12.8 points per game average.

She has topped the 20-point mark five times this season, including a career-high 32-point effort against Central Michigan on Dec. 14.

During a four-game stretch from Jan. 18 to Feb. 1, Reese averaged 22.7 points per game and earned Big Ten Player of the Week (Feb. 2) for the second time this season.

Reese has 47 three-pointers this season, good for 4th on the MSU single-season chart, while she stands 4th all-time with 89 triples.

Reese is among the Big Ten leaders in three-point field goal percentage (.405) and in three-pointers per game (2.14). Reese has hit at least one three pointer in all but four games this season and has had four or more triples in six games.

The Highland Park native has scored in double figures in seven of her last nine games and in 14 contests overall. She has been MSU's leading scorer in five of the last 7 contests.

MSU Single-Season Three-Point FG Leaders
1.  Tanya Place (1992-93)   59
2.  Eileen Shea (1990-91)   50
    Eileen Shea (1989-90)   50
4.  Maxann Reese (1997-98)  47
5.  Tanya Place (1993-94)   46
6.  Chris Powers (1994-95)  42
7.  Maxann Reese (1996-97)  41

As The Starters Turn - Head coach Karen Langeland has used six different starting combinations this season, including four in the last 10 contests.

Langeland began the season with Pernille Dalgaard, Bella Engen, Kristen Rasmussen, Maxann Reese and Jamie Wesley in the starting lineup. She went with that group of players until she replaced Maxann Reese at the point guard position with Christie Pung in the game with Kentucky on Nov. 25.

Pung started four games for the Spartans before Reese went back into the starting lineup against Central Michigan on Dec. 14.

Langeland went with the same starting five for six-straight games until Jan. 2, when sophomore Whitney Winberg made her first collegiate start for Pernille Dalgaard. Winberg started the next game against Purdue, while freshman Donita Johnson made her first collegiate start, replacing Bella Engen, who sprained her finger in the game with the Illini.

The original starting five opened the next three games against Ohio State, Minnesota and Michigan before giving way to two new lineups in the last three contests.

Langeland went with a smaller lineup against perimeter-oriented Northwestern, thus starting Donita Johnson for Pernille Dalgaard.

In the last four contests, she has started rookie Erin Skelly in place of Dalgaard.

Women's Basketball Polls

USA Today/ESPN (Coaches)
(Feb. 9)
   1.   Tennessee (60)         1,500
   2.   Connecticut            1,438
   3.   Old Dominion           1,352
   4.   Louisiana Tech         1,310
   5.   North Carolina         1,225
   6.   Texas Tech             1,168
   7.   Stanford               1,081
   8.   North Carolina State   1,036
   9.   Florida                  945
  10.   Illinois                 934
  11.   Arizona                  865
  12.   Virginia                 800
  13.   Vanderbilt               780
  14.   Duke                     651
  15.   Florida International    563
  16.   Hawai'i                  541
  17.   Washington               437
  18.   Utah                     431
  19.   Wisconsin                420
  20.   Western Kentucky         399
  21.   Clemson                  363
  22.   Iowa State               194
  23.   Alabama                  176
  24.   Nebraska                 139
  25.   Stephen F. Austin        129

VOTES: Indiana  (28), Purdue (20), Iowa (5), Michigan (1)

Associated Press (Media)
(Feb. 9)
   1.   Tennessee (39)            975
   2.   Connecticut               936
   3.   Old Dominion              885
   4.   Louisiana Tech            863
   5.   North Carolina            792
   6.   Stanford                  787
   7.   Texas Tech                741
   8.   Florida                   682
   9.   Arizona                   594
        Illinois                  594
  11.   North Carolina State      553
  12.   Virginia                  489
  13.   Duke                      468
  14.   Florida International     444
  15.   Vanderbilt                439
  16.   Hawai'i                   334
  17.   Washington                312
  18.   Western Kentucky          240
  19.   Wisconsin                 232
  20.   Utah                      223
  21.   Clemson                   221
  22.   Stephen F. Austin         203
  23.   Iowa State                136
  24.   Alabama                    99
  25.   Southwest Missouri State   69

VOTES:  Iowa (20), Purdue (13), Indiana (12)

1997-98 Opponent

Last 5 games                4-1
Last 10 games               5-5
Longest Win Streak          W 3
Longest Losing Streak       L 4
Largest Margin of Victory   29 pts.
   85-56 vs. Ohio State (Jan. 9)
Closest Margin of Victory   2 pts.
   74-72 vs. Ohio State (Feb. 8)
   80-78 OT vs. Texas (Nov. 29)
Largest Margin of Defeat    18 pts.
   91-73 vs. Bowling Green (Dec. 6)
Closest Margin of Defeat    5 pts.
   65-60 vs. Penn State
Avg. Victory Margin         11.1 pts.
   (122 points in 11 wins)
Avg. Defeat Margin          9.9 pts.
   (109 points in 11 losses)


16 - Rasmussen
15 - Engen
13 - Reese
11 - Wesley
6 - Dalgaard
3 - Skelly; Cummings; Davis

7 - Rasmussen
3 - Engen
1 - Cummings

Double-Doubles (Points-Rebounds)
7 - Rasmussen
3 - Engen
1 - Cummings

Overall                     11-11
Big Ten                      5-7
Home                         5-3
Road                         4-8
Neutral                      2-0
Day Games                    6-5
Night Games                  5-6
Overtime                     1-0
Leading at Halftime          8-0
Trailing at Halftime         2-11
Tied at Halftime             1-0
MSU shoots 50% or better     7-0
Opp. shoots 50% or better    1-3
Opp. shoots less than 50%    9-9
MSU outrebounds opponent     5-3
Opp. outrebounds MSU         5-7
Rebounds are equal           1-1
MSU has fewer or = turnovers 7-8
Opponent has fewer turnovers 4-3