Feb. 12, 2001
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Tip-Off -- Michigan State (8-15 overall, 2-10 Big Ten) heads out on the road for a pair of games at Northwestern Thursday (Feb. 15), at 7 p.m. CST, in Evanston, Illinois and at Illinois Sunday (Feb. 18), at 2 p.m. CST, in Champaign. Northwestern is coming off a 70-54 loss to Wisconsin on Sunday, while Illinois dropped a 74-60 decision at Michigan also on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Spartans dropped a 52-50 decision to Indiana on Sunday. MSU looks to snap a nine-game losing streak this week. The Spartans' last win came on Jan. 11 at Minnesota.
About Michigan State
Pagel Hits For Career High -- Julie Pagel scored a career-best 23 points in the loss to Indiana, breaking her previous best of 20 points vs. Iowa (Feb. 1). It marked the 12th time this season she has hit for double figures and the ninth time in the last 11 outings. She just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. In addition, she added three steals in 33 minutes. Since being held to a season-low three points at Purdue (Jan. 18), Pagel has averaged 16.0 points over the past five games. The 16.0 points-per-game average is 5.3 points above her season average (10.7 ppg).
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 and ranks third in the Big Ten in rebounding (7.9 rpg) and is tied for the team lead and ranks eighth in the Big Ten in steals (1.9 spg). In addition, she leads the team in scoring (10.7 ppg). The 10.7 points-per-game average is 26th in the Big Ten. Pagel is one of two freshmen (Illinois' Iveta Marcauskaite the other) to appear in the top 30 in both scoring and rebounding. In Big Ten play only, Pagel leads the team in scoring 12.8 points-per-game and ranks 14th in conference action. In addition, she is averaging 7.3 rebounds -- a mark which places her seventh in conference play.
Getting Defensive -- MSU continues to pace the Big Ten in field goal percent defense at 39.3 percent as opponents have connected on 490-of-1248 shots. MSU also ranks third in the Big Ten in scoring defense (61.5). The Spartans have held opponents to 60 points or less on 11 occasions this season. MSU is 4-5 when holding opponents to 59 points or less. On the other hand, the Spartans are 0-13 when scoring under 59 points.
Statistically Speaking -- MSU is 10th in the Big Ten (overall games) in scoring offense (60.0), ninth in the Big Ten statistics in scoring margin (-1.5) and third in the Big Ten in scoring defense (61.5). However, since Big Ten play has started the Spartans are averaging just 53.5 points while allowing 67.3 points. The 53.5 points rank 10th in Big Ten play only and the 67.3 points allowed is sixth. MSU is 10th in scoring margin (-13.8). (Big Ten statistics as of Feb. 11).
This Week's Opponents
Northwestern (4-19 overall, 0-13 Big Ten)
The Coach - June Olkowski (Rutgers 1982) is in her second season behind the Wildcats bench. Northwestern has posted a 4-19 overall mark and a 0-13 Big Ten slate. The Wildcats have dropped 13 straight, after falling to Wisconsin 70-54 on Sunday.
Ones To Watch - Sophomore guard Emily Butler is averaging a team-best 12.1 points and 4.0 assists. Senior forward/center Tami Sears is the team's second-leading scorer (9.8 rpg) and rebounder (5.7 rpg).
All-Time Series -- Northwestern leads the all-time series, 21-19. However, MSU has won eight of the last nine meetings between the schools. The Spartans are 6-14 all-time in games played in Evanston.
1999-2000 Season Series -- MSU and Northwestern split the season series with each school picking up wins at home. Northwestern beat MSU 58-55 behind 14 points by Tami Sears on Jan. 6 in Evanston. Four Spartans scored in double figures led by Becky Cummings with 20 points and Maxann Reese with 19 in an 84-52 win over Northwestern on Feb. 3 in East Lansing.
Coach P vs. NU -- Joanne P. McCallie is 1-0 all-time against her alma mater.
Illinois (12-12 overall, 7-5 Big Ten)
The Coach - Theresa Grentz is in her sixth year at Illinois and 27th overall as a coach. The Fighting Illini are coming off a 74-60 loss at Michigan on Sunday. Illinois travels to Penn State Thursday before facing MSU.
Ones To Watch - Three Fighting Illini are averaging in double figures led by junior guard Allison Curtin at 13.9 points-per-game. Iveta Marcauskaite (12.2 ppg) and Anne O'Neil (11.3 ppg) are the other Illinois players averaging in double digits.
All-Time Series -- Michigan State holds a slim 21-20 advantage in the all-time series. Illinois has won seven straight meetings. MSU's last win over Illinois was on Feb. 16, 1997 -- a 78-75 victory in East Lansing.
Last Meeting -- Illinois used a 19-5 run to open the game in recording a 72-59 victory over MSU on Jan. 14 in East Lansing. Aminata Yanni came off the Illinois bench to post a game-high 17 points. Christie Pung and Vnemina Reese led the Spartans with 11 points apiece.
Coach P vs. UI -- Joanne P. McCallie is 0-2 all-time against Illinois.
Last Week For MSU
MSU Drops A Pair -- Almost is how the Spartans must feel. Despite a late surge, MSU dropped a tough 64-58 decision to No. 16 Penn State on Feb. 8 at the Breslin Center. MSU tied the game at 52 on a three-point basket by Vnemina Reese with 4:15 remaining. However, six straight points from PSU gave the Nittany Lions a 58-52 advantage with 2:35 left. Penn State sealed the win with four straight free throws down the stretch. MSU committed 11 first-half turnovers but still managed to go into the locker room at the half trailing by just four (32-28). Cummings led MSU with 12 points, while Julie Pagel added 11. Maren Walseth led all scorers with 26.
For a second straight game, MSU almost pulled off an upset. However, a last second shot by Indiana's Erin McGinnis gave the Hoosiers a 52-50 victory over Michigan State on Feb. 11 at the Breslin Center. The Spartans bounced back from a 10-point deficit (49-39) with 5:05 remaining in the second half. MSU outscored Indiana 11-1, tying the game at 50 on a Christie Pung driving layup with 18.3 seconds left. Pung, who was fouled on the layup, missed the free throw and Indiana grabbed the rebound. The Hoosiers called a timeout and Erin McGinnis hit a baseline jumper with one second remaining to give the Hooisers the 52-50 victory. The first half was an entirely different story, as there were five lead changes and three ties. After a pair of Jennifer Callier free throws knotted the game at 12, Indiana went on a 12-3 run to claim a 22-15 advantage with 4:36 remaining. The Spartans closed the first half on an 8-0 run, thanks in part to six points by Julie Pagel, to take a 23-22 lead into the locker room at the half. Julie Pagel finished with a career-best 23 points. Indiana was led by Jill Chapman with 25 points.
More Spartan Notes
Upcoming -- MSU continues its three-game road stand, facing Iowa Feb. 22 in Iowa City. Iowa is currently tied for second in the Big Ten standings with a 9-3 mark. The Hawkeyes are 14-8 overall.
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.
Homecoming -- Thursday's game at Northwestern marks a homecoming for MSU head coach Joanne P. McCallie. McCallie, then Palumbo, was a four-year letterwinner for the Wildcats (1984-87). She earned All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors and Big Ten First-Team Academic honors as a senior in 1987 after leading the Wildcats to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. She still ranks seventh all-time at Northwestern with 378 career assists.
Rebound The Ball -- The Spartans continue to pace the Big Ten in rebound margin at +5.9. MSU holds a 38.4-to-32.5 edge on the boards. MSU has outrebounded its opponent in 18 of the 23 games this season. Against Indiana, MSU held a 41-to-32 edge on the glass. In addition, MSU held a 21-to-11 edge on the offensive boards. Julie Pagel led MSU with nine rebounds, while Jennifer Callier hauled down eight.
The Streak -- MSU is in the middle of an nine-game losing streak, tying the school record for consecutive losses. That mark was also set from Jan. 10, 1976 to Feb. 3, 1976.
Pung Equals Career Best -- Senior guard Christie Pung matched her career high with eight assists vs. Penn State (Feb. 8). It marked the third time in her career she dished out eight assists.
Stepping Up Her Play -- Since moving into the starting rotation against Illinois (Jan. 14), Christie Pung has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.7. She has 25 assists against just 15 turnovers in the past eight games. In the first 15 games, Pung totaled 21 assists and 17 turnovers.
Callier Off The Bench -- After being held scoreless the previous two games, sophomore center Jennifer Callier finished with six points in the loss to Penn State (Feb. 8). She also added four rebounds and two assists in 14 minutes. She followed up with eight rebounds against Indiana (Feb. 11). For the season, she is averaging 4.2 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Pagel On The Boards -- Despite standing just 5-foot-11, Julie Pagel continues to lead the Big Ten in defensive rebounds, averaging 5.9 per game. She is third in the Big Ten in rebounding (7.9 rpg), behind Iowa's Randi Peterson (8.8 rpg) and Wisconsin's Jessie Stomski (8.2 rpg). Pagel has led or tied for the team lead in rebounding in 15 games this season.
Block That Shot -- Senior center Erin Skelly tied her career high with five blocks vs. Indiana. She currently leads MSU with 29 blocks, placing fifth in the Big Ten. In addition, Skelly took over sole possession of second place on MSU's all-time blocked shots chart. She surpassed Jackie Carter (1980-83), who previously held down second with 90. Kristen Rasmussen (1997-2000) holds the MSU record with 194.
From The Free Throw Line -- MSU continues to struggle from the free throw line. The Spartans shot just 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from the charity stripe against Indiana. In the loss to No. 16 Penn State, the Spartans hit on just 53.3 percent (8-of-15) of their shots from the line. For the season, MSU is connecting on just 59.1 percent (259-of-438) of its attempts from the charity stripe. That mark ranks last in the Big Ten statistics. Individually, Maria Recker leads MSU in free throw shooting (.800, 12-of-15) while Christie Pung is second (.743, 26-of-35).
Moving Up The Freshman Chart -- Julie Pagel continues to make her mark on MSU's freshman records chart. Pagel's 246 points place her seventh on the freshman scoring chart. She has her sights set on Kim Archer (1983-84), who is currently sixth with 263 points.
Pagel is tied for sixth with Nicole Cushing (1995-96) on MSU's freshman records chart with 43 steals. Cheri Euler (1993-94) holds down the fifth position with 48 steals.
In addition, Pagel's 182 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.