Women's Basketball Approaches The Stretch Run
February 10, 1999
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Fri., Feb. 12 - 7:30 p.m. - MICHIGAN STATE VS. NORTHWESTERN - Breslin Center
Sun., Feb. 14 - 5:00 p.m. - MICHIGAN STATE VS. MICHIGAN - Breslin Center
Michigan State will play two of its final three regular season games at home beginning this weekend with a two-game homestand against Northwestern and Michigan.
The Spartans will host the Wildcats on Friday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m., at the Breslin Center, while the Wolverines come to East Lansing on Sunday, Feb. 14. Tipoff for that game is slated for 5 p.m.
Michigan State is 12-11 overall after splitting a pair of road games last weekend. The Spartans defeated Indiana on Feb. 5, 86-69, before suffering a tough 73-68 overtime setback to Wisconsin on Feb. 7.
MSU remains tied with Wisconsin for sixth place in the Big Ten with a 6-7 mark.
The Spartans, who are 3-3 in their last six games, have not recorded back-to-back wins since early January when they downed Northwestern (Jan. 5) and Wisconsin (Jan. 8).
Northwestern is 10-12 overall and tied with Iowa for eighth place in the league with a 4-8 record.
The Wildcats upset Illinois on the road, 76-73, and lost to No. 17 Penn State, 92-63, at home last weekend. Northwestern is 2-4 in its last six contests.
Michigan is 14-8 overall and in fifth place in the Big Ten with a 6-6 record.
The Wolverines, who host Illinois on Friday, also split a pair of road games over the weekend. UM easily defeated Minnesota, 88-65, before falling to second-ranked Purdue, 70-64.
MSU PROBABLE STARTERS
Michigan State Spartans (12-11 Overall/6-7 Big Ten) PPG RPG APG F 14 Pernille Dalgaard, 6-0, Sr., Horsholm, Denmark 8.0 3.0 2.3 F 52 Kristen Rasmussen, 6-4, Jr., East Lansing 15.6 8.8 1.9 bpg C 32 Becky Cummings, 6-3, So., Walled Lake 11.5 7.7 G 21 Maxann Reese, 5-9, Jr., Highland Park 17.6 3.4 2.8 G 34 Donita Johnson, 5-10, So., Clinton Township 4.7 3.0 3.6
OFF THE BENCH FOR MSU
C 45 Erin Skelly, 6-5, So., Maple Grove, MN 4.2 3.4 0.9 bpg G 22 Christie Pung, 5-5, So., Pewamo 3.0 0.8 1.6 F 25 Abby Salscheider, 5-11, Fr., Bluffton, IN 2.5 1.4
WHAT'S AT STAKE
With just three games left in the regular season, teams are beginning to position themselves for one of the coveted top five positions in the league and a first-round bye in the 1999 Big Ten Tournament.
The Spartans will host Northwestern (Feb. 12) and Michigan (Feb. 14) at the Breslin Center this weekend before closing out the regular season with a road game against Ohio State on Feb. 18.
Friday's game with Northwestern will be aired on WJIM Radio (1240 AM), while Sunday's Michigan game will be carried by WVFN Radio (730 AM).
Jeff Walker is the voice of Spartan basketball this season, while former Spartan standout Paula Sanders handles the analysis.
Sunday's contest with Michigan is the Big Ten Game of the Week and will be televised live by Fox Sports Chicago. Dave Eanet and Amy Prichard will call the action.
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 352-275, 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.
Northwestern coach Don Perrelli is in his 15th and final season with the Wildcats. Perrelli, who has been in the collegiate ranks for 23 years, will retire following the 1998-99 season.
Perrelli is 249-177 at NU and has a career coaching mark of 424-248.
The Wolverines are coached by former Spartan assistant Sue Guevara, who begins the week with a career record of 48-29.
Northwestern leads the all-time series with MSU, 20-17, but the Spartans have won six-straight against the Wildcats.
Earlier this season, Maxann Reese scored 18 of her team-high 20 points in the second half to lead the Spartans to a 73-64 victory over NU in Evanston.
Pernille Dalgaard hit for a season-high 14 points, while Erin Skelly came off the bench to contribute 10 points and three rebounds for the Spartans, who shot 50 percent from the floor in the victory.
Megan Chawansky paced the Wildcats with 24 points.
Northwestern's last win in the series came on Jan. 20, 1995 in Evanston, Ill. (67-61).
MSU has won four-straight at home over the Wildcats and is 10-6 overall on its home floor.
The Spartans lead the all-time series with Michigan that began in 1973, 39-10.
The Wolverines have won three straight against the Spartans, including a 76-75 overtime decision in Ann Arbor on Jan. 20.
Alison Miller made one of two free throws with six seconds left in overtime to give Michigan the victory.
Kristen Rasmussen led the Spartans with a career-high 29 points and 11 rebounds.
MSU has won seven of its last eight home games with the Wolverines and has a 20-4 mark overall in games played in East Lansing.
The Wolverines defeated MSU last season at the Breslin Center, 89-72, in a non-conference battle.
Each Big Ten team plays a 16-game conference schedule featuring two contests against six of the schools and one game against four teams.
MSU posted a 2-2 mark against the teams it played just once this season. The Spartans lost to Penn State (90-66) and Illinois (82-60) and defeated Minnesota (73-58) and Indiana (86-69).
SUNDAY IS SENIOR DAY
Senior forward Pernille Dalgaard and senior manager LaWanda Wyatt will be honored prior to Sunday's tipoff against Michigan.
SO CLOSE, YET ......
Five of MSU's 11 losses this season have been by six points or less, including three overtime setbacks.
The Spartans are 0-3 in extra session games this year following the 73-68 loss to Wisconsin on Feb. 7.
11/22 L-Boston College 80-74 OT 12/5 L-Illinois State 64-60 12/30 L-Ohio State 62-60 1/20 L-Michigan 76-75 OT 2/7 L-Wisconsin 73-68 OT
REESE NEARING 1,000-POINT MARK
Junior Maxann Reese is 48 points shy of becoming just the 10th player in Spartan history to score 1,000 points in a career.
Reese begins the week ranked 16th on the all-time scoring chart with 952 points.
If she continues at her current scoring pace (17.6 ppg), Reese could reach the coveted 1,000-point mark by the Ohio State game (Feb. 18).
RASMUSSEN NOT FAR BEHIND
Junior Kristen Rasmussen also continues to move up the MSU scoring chart. She currently ranks 19th all-time with 923 points.
MORE RECORDS TO WATCH
Maxann Reese had 10 triples against Iowa (Jan. 29) and one against Purdue (Jan. 31) to move into a second place on the all-time chart for triples where she currently resides with 148.
Reese needs 12 three-pointers to overtake all-time leader Tanya Place (159).
Kristen Rasmussen continues to add to her career rebounding totals. She is 12th all-time with 577 boards and is 23 shy of becoming just the 11th player in program history to garner 600 rebounds.
Sophomore Donita Johnson turned in the best back-to-back games of her career over the weekend.
Johnson, who took over the starting point guard duties on Dec. 5 against Illinois State following the season-ending injury to freshman starter Vnemina Reese, averaged 11.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game and shot 56 percent from the field against Indiana and Wisconsin last weekend.
Johnson recorded the first double-double of her career with a 13-point, 11-assist performance in the win over Indiana on Feb. 5. Her 11 dishes are a career high and is the first double-figure assist performance by a Spartan since Tamika Matlock dished out 12 in a 78-75 win over Illinois on Feb. 16, 1997.
Against the Hoosiers, Johnson also had two blocks and two steals and no turnovers in 38 minutes of action.
She followed that performance with 10 points and seven assists in the loss to Wisconsin.
Overall, Johnson has scored in double figures four times this season, including career high 14-point performances against Minnesota (Jan. 22) and Central Michigan (Nov. 15). She contributed a career high 11 rebounds in the victory over Ohio on Dec. 9.
The Clinton Township native is averaging 4.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.
FIRST HALF KEY FOR SPARTANS
MSU overcame its largest halftime deficit (18) of the season to defeat Iowa on Jan. 29, 81-69. While the Spartans managed to pull out a victory against the Hawkeyes, getting off to a solid first half start is still critical to MSU's success this season.
MSU has trailed at the half in 14-of-23 games this season and is 4-10 in those contests, while it is 7-1 when leading at the break.
Michigan State is third in the Big Ten in assists per game with a 16.73 average, despite the fact that no Spartan player ranks among the top 10 in the league.
Point guard Donita Johnson leads the team in assists per game with an average of 3.6, while six-four forward Kristen Rasmussen is second with a 3.1 average.
As a team, MSU dished out a season-high 28 assists in the win over Indiana on Feb. 5, led by Johnson's career-high 11.
BIG TEN STANDINGS (as of 2/8/99)
Big Ten Overall 1. Purdue 12-0 1.000 21-1 .954 2. Penn State 10-3 .769 18-5 .783 3. Ohio State 8-4 .667 15-7 .682 Illinois 8-4 .667 14-8 .636 5. Michigan 6-6 .500 14-8 .636 6. Michigan State 6-7 .461 12-11 .522 Wisconsin 6-7 .461 11-12 .478 8. Northwestern 4-8 .333 10-12 .454 Iowa 4-8 .333 9-13 .409 10. Minnesota 2-10 .167 7-15 .318 11. Indiana 2-11 .154 13-14 .481
Friday, February 12
Illinois at Michigan
Minnesota at Iowa
Northwestern at Michigan State
Ohio State at Wisconsin
Purdue at Penn State
Sunday, February 14
Illinois at Indiana
Northwestern at Iowa
Minnesota at Penn State
Ohio State at Purdue
Michigan at Michigan State
Thursday, February 4
Purdue def. Providence, 96-67
Friday, February 5
Northwestern def. Illinois, 76-73
Michigan State def. Indiana, 86-69
Ohio State def. Iowa, 70-66
Michigan def. Minnesota, 88-65
Penn State def. Wisconsin, 73-71 OT
Sunday, February 7
Illinois def. Ohio State, 79-73
Iowa def. Indiana, 73-69
Wisconsin def. Michigan State 73-68 OT
Purdue def. Michigan, 70-64
Penn State def. Northwestern, 92-63
at the official