MSU Women's Basketball Closes Out Regular-Season at Home

Engen and Wesley to Be Honored Sunday

Feb. 17, 1998

Fri., Feb. 20   PENN STATE  7:30 p.m. EST
Sun., Feb. 22   INDIANA 2:00 p.m. EST

Game Data

The Michigan State women's basketball team closes out its regular-season this weekend at the Breslin Center (15,138) looking to get back to the .500 mark.

The Spartans will host Penn State on Friday, Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. MSU will play its final regular-season game of the year on Sunday, Feb. 22 when it hosts Indiana. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m.

Following this weekend's games, MSU will play in the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, Ind., Feb. 27-March 2.

Senior Day

Seniors Bella Engen and Jamie Wesley will be honored prior to Sunday's game against Indiana.

The first 1,000 fans attending Sunday's contest will receive a free 8x10 card with an action photo of Engen and Wesley.

    Michigan State Spartans (11-13/5-9)                      PPG    RPG     APG
    F   31  Bella Engen, 6-1, Sr., Hoenfoss, Norway         12.7    6.3     1.5
    F   32  Becky Cummings, 6-3, Fr., Walled Lake            4.6    3.7
    C   52  Kristen Rasmussen, 6-4, So., East Lansing       12.4    8.4     1.6 bpg
    G   21  Maxann Reese, 5-8, So., Highland Park           12.4    1.9     3.2
    G   30  Jamie Wesley, 5-8, Sr., Morrice                 11.7    3.5     2.7
    F   14  Pernille Dalgaard, 5-11, Jr., Horsholm, Denmark  7.0    2.8     1.9
    C   45  Erin Skelly, 6-4, Fr., Maple Grove, MN           3.5    2.7
Penn State Lady Lions (13-11/7-7)                            PPG    RPG     APG
    F   34  Christine Portland, 5-9, Jr., State College, PA  7.5    2.2     2.6
    F   50  Em Clements, 6-3, Sr., Melbourne, Australia      4.5    2.0
    C   40  Andrea Garner, 6-3, So., Philadelphia, PA       12.3    8.6
    G   10  Jamie Parsons, 5-8, Sr., Raleigh, NC             7.8    3.0     2.7
    G   30  Helen Darling, 5-7, So., Columbus, OH            8.7    5.0     4.7
Indiana Hoosiers (18-10/9-6)                                 PPG    RPG     APG
    F   44  Rachael Honegger, 5-11, So., Lafayette, IN       7.1    4.7     2.6
    F   45  Cindy Kerns, 6-2, Jr., Bicknell, IN              6.3    4.3
    C   42  Quacy Barnes, 6-5, Sr., Benton Harbor, MI       17.6    6.6     1.8 bpg
    G   4   Dani Thrush, 5-9, Jr., Keokuk, IA                8.4    4.3     3.9
    G   21  Kristi Green, 5-4, Jr., North Vernon, IN        11.5    4.0     3.2

The Records

MSU dropped a pair of Big Ten games over the weekend, falling to 11-13 overall and 5-9 in the Big Ten.

The Spartans, who look to get back to the .500 mark this weekend, dropped a 67-62 decision to Purdue on Feb. 13 and lost a 98-51 game to No. 9 Illinois on Feb. 15.

After opening the Big Ten season with a 1-6 mark, the Spartans have posted a 4-3 record in their last seven games.

Penn State enters Friday's game with an overall record of 13-11 and tied with Wisconsin for sixth place in the Big Ten at 7-7.

The Lady Lions lost games to Michigan (67-59) and Iowa (73-49) last weekend, extending their losing streak to a season-high four games.

Indiana improved to 18-10 overall following a 75-42 victory over Minnesota on Feb. 15. The Hoosiers are in fourth-place in the Big Ten with a 9-6 mark.

Indiana had a three-game losing streak snapped in an 81-59 road loss to Northwestern.

The Hoosiers posted a 13-2 mark at home this season, but are just 3-7 away from Assembly Hall, including a 2-5 mark in Big Ten road games.

Indiana has a bye on Friday.


(as of 2/16/98)
                          Big Ten          Overall
    1.  Illinois        12-2    .857    18-6    .750
    2.  Iowa            11-3    .786    14-9    .609
    3.  Michigan         9-5    .643    17-7    .708
    4.  Indiana          9-6    .600    18-10   .643
    5.  Purdue           8-6    .571    15-9    .625
    6.  Wisconsin        7-7    .500    18-8    .692
        Penn State       7-7    .500    13-11   .542
    8.  Ohio State       6-8    .429    13-10   .565
    9.  Michigan State   5-9    .208    11-13   .458
    10. Northwestern     3-12   .200     9-19   .321
    11. Minnesota        1-13   .071     4-20   .167

This Week's Games/Last Week's Results

February 20
Illinois at Wisconsin
Iowa at Ohio State
Michigan at Minnesota
Penn State at Michigan State
Northwestern at Purdue
February 22
Illinois at Purdue
Penn State at Wisconsin
Indiana at Michigan State
Iowa at Minnesota
Michigan at Ohio State
Tuesday, February 10
Northwestern 72, DePaul 67
Friday, February 13
Illinois 80, Ohio State 64
Northwestern 81, Indiana 59
Iowa 87, Wisconsin 76
Purdue 67, Michigan State 62
Michigan 67, Penn State 59
Sunday, February 15
Illinois 98, Michigan State 51
Indiana 75, Minnesota 42
Iowa 73, Penn State 49
Michigan 70, Northwestern 64 OT
Wisconsin 80, Purdue 69

On The Air

Friday's game will be broadcast on WJIM Radio (1240 AM) at 7:30 p.m. Sunday's contest against Indiana can be heard on WVFN Radio (730 AM) at 2 p.m.

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

Both games this weekend will be carried live on MediaOne. The contests can be seen in the Lansing area on MediaOne channel 6/17 (old/rebuilt system), TCI Cable channel 13 and Horizon Cable channel 11.

Ben Stark and Sue Carter will call the action.

Friday's game against Penn State will be replayed on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m., while Sunday's game against Indiana will be replayed on Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.

The Coaches

Karen Langeland is in her 22nd year at Michigan State. The Spartan mentor, who has a career record of 340-261, 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.

Penn State's Rene Portland is in her 18th season with the Lady Lions and in her 22nd campaign overall. Portland is 406-140 at Penn State and has a career coaching record of 493-170.

Jim Izard is in his 10th season at Indiana where he has compiled a record of 162-121. Izard is in his 17th season of coaching at the collegiate level and has a mark of 325-170.

The Series Records

Penn State holds a 9-1 advantage in its series with Michigan State that began in 1991.

The Lady Lions downed the Spartans earlier this season in University Park, Pa., 65-60.

MSU defeated Penn State, 99-75, last season in East Lansing for its only victory over the Lady Lions.

In the first meeting between MSU and Penn State this season, the Lady Lions built a 13-point lead late in the second half and held on to beat the Spartans.

Pernille Dalgaard and Becky Cummings scored four points each as MSU outscored Penn State, 10-1 to close within one, 58-57, with 1:19 remaining. Freshman Donita Johnson hit a three-pointer with 19 seconds remaining to keep the Spartans within one, 61-60.

The Lady Lions capitalized on two Spartan turnovers and made 7-of-8 free throws during the final 1:04 to seal the win.

Senior Jamie Wesley led the Spartans with 13 points, while freshman Nikki Davis ended the game with 11 points. Sophomore Kristen Rasmussen added a career-high 20 rebounds.

Michigan State holds a 23-15 advantage in its series with Indiana. The Hoosiers downed the Spartans, 81-63, in the Big Ten opener for both teams on Dec. 28.

The Hoosier win snapped a four-game Spartan winning streak.

MSU has won three of the last four games played in East Lansing.

In the first meeting of the season, the Spartans fell behind early in the first half, trailing by as many as 11 points. Senior Jamie Wesley scored 16 of her 19 points in the first half to pull the Spartans with 35-33 at the half.

Wesley nailed a three-pointer early in the second half to tie the score at 38-38, but Kameelah Morgan canned a pair of triples and scored 10 points during a 15-4 Hoosier run to give Indiana a 53-42 lead with 14:07 left in the contest.

The turning point in the game came when Wesley left the contest at the 14:35 mark with a deep thigh bruise in her right leg and never returned.

The Spartans cut the Hoosier lead to 53-47 on a basket by Bella Engen with 12:57 left in the game, but Indiana responded with a 10-2 run to put the game out of reach.

Wesley paced the Spartans with 19 points, while Engen finished with 18. Morgan led five Indiana players in double figures with a career-high 19 points.

No. 9 Illinois Downs
Michigan State

Big Ten leader and ninth-ranked Illinois handed Michigan State its worst loss in history, a 98-51 setback in Champaign, Ill., on Feb. 15. The loss was MSU's second-straight and dropped the Spartans overall record to 11-13 and their conference mark to 5-9.

"I'm not sure who that team was out there," Spartan coach Karen Langeland said. "This is a team that has made a lot of improvement over the last month, but it certainly didn't show tonight."

Senior Jamie Wesley scored MSU's first eight points of the game and kept the Spartans in the ballgame until Illinois went on an 11-0 run midway through the first half and never looked back.

Illinois sophomore Melissa Parker canned a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Illinois a commanding 46-23 lead at halftime. The Illini continued their dominance in the second half, opening the stanza with a 14-4 run to extend their lead to 60-27 with 14:50 remaining in the contest.

Illinois shot a blistering 61 percent from the field in the second half and went up by as many as 50 points with less than two minutes to play.

"Illinois played a great game," Langeland said. "They got defense, rebounding and scoring from a lot of people. They really took it to us in every facet of the game.

"This is the kind of game we just need to forget about," Langeland added.

Wesley paced the Spartans with 13 points, while sophomore Maxann Reese chipped in 11 points.

Illinois had five players score in double figures led by senior Ashley Berggren's 21 points. Sophomore Tauja Catchings added 18 points and seven rebounds for the Illini, who outrebounded the Spartans, 48-36.

Boilermakers Use Second-Half Run To Down Spartans, 67-62

Purdue junior guard Ukari Figgs scored 25 of her career-high 27 points in the second half to lead the Boilermakers to a 67-62 victory over Michigan State at the Breslin Center on Feb. 13.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Spartans and dropped their overall record to 11-12 and their Big Ten mark to 5-8. Purdue improved to 15-8 overall and 8-5 in the conference.

A three-point play by Kristen Rasmussen at the 18:02 mark of the second half gave MSU its biggest lead of the game at 38-29. Purdue's full-court press sparked a 16-3 run and gave the Boilermakers their first lead of the game at 45-41 with 10:43 remaining.

The game stayed tight the rest of the way with five ties and four lead changes over the final 10 minutes of the contest.

Freshman Nikki Davis' driving layup tied the game at 62-62 with 3:11 to play, but the Boilermakers went up by one on a free throw by sophomore Michelle Duhart with 2:09 remaining.

The Spartans were unable to keep pace and Purdue took a 65-62 advantage on a layup by freshman Katie Douglas with 26 seconds left in the game. Sophomore Maxann Reese's three-point attempt was off and the Spartans were forced to foul where Figgs iced the victory with two free throws with eight ticks left on the clock.

Figgs hit 8-of-13 shots from the field and was a perfect 10-of-10 from the charity stripe. Douglas added 12 points off the bench, while junior Stephanie White contributed 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Boilermakers.

Rasmussen paced MSU with 19 points, while junior Pernille Dalgaard came off the bench to score 13 points.

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.

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 6th all-time with 1,037 points.

Wesley became the 9th player in Spartan history to reach the historic mark with her 20-point effort in a thrilling win over Ohio State on Feb. 8.The Morrice native stands 7th all-time with 1,033 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.  Bella Engen         1,037
    7.  Jamie Wesley        1,033
    8.  Brenda Jezowski     1,030
    9.  Jill Prudden        1,012
MSU Against Nationally Ranked Teams

Michigan State is 0-5 against nationally ranked teams this season after dropping a 98-51 decision to No. 9 Illinois on Feb. 15.

MSU has dropped games to No. 5 Vanderbilt (63-51), No. 13 Illinois (82-67), No. 24 Purdue (70-60) and No. 18 Wisconsin (72-65).

MSU At The Breslin Center

After posting a 12-1 mark at home in 1996-97, the Spartans are just 5-4 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 77-35 (.687) at the Breslin Center. The Spartans are 27-8 (.771) at home since 1995-96.

The Road Is Just As Tough

The Spartans have struggled on the road as well this season. MSU is 6-9 in all road games and 2-6 in Big Ten road contests.

The Spartans picked up their first two conference road wins with victories over Minnesota (68-60) and Ohio State (74-72) on Feb. 6 and 8, respectively.

Earlier this season, the Spartans played nine-straight road games from Nov. 29 to Dec. 30.

How They Responded

MSU's loss to No. 9 Illinois was the worst-ever in program history. If past history is any indication, though, the Spartans will come out firing this weekend.

Prior to Sunday's 47-point loss to the Illini, the previous defeat margin was 43 points in an 89-46 setback to Arizona on Jan. 2, 1993.

Following that loss, MSU came out and won its next two games, including a 60-56 victory over No. 10 Purdue on Jan. 7, 1993 at the Breslin Center.

The previous defeat margin in a Big Ten game prior to Sunday's loss was 40 points in an 89-49 setback to Iowa on Jan. 8, 1989.

Following that loss, the Spartans came back and knocked off Indiana, 59-44, on Jan. 13, 1989 at the Breslin Center.

Lots A Points

MSU allowed 98 points in its loss to Illinois on Feb. 15, the most it has allowed in three seasons.

Penn State rang up 99 points in a 99-70 victory over MSU on Dec. 30, 1994.

A team has not reached the 100-point mark against MSU since Northwestern downed the Spartans, 109-103 in triple overtime on March 5, 1993.

Still Something To Play For

While the Spartans have struggled this season, there is still plenty to play for heading into the final weekend of the regular season.

With two victories this weekend, MSU can reach the .500 mark overall.

In addition, the Spartans can move up in the Big Ten standings to improve their seeding in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament.

MSU cannot fall lower than its current ninth-place standing in the league, but the Spartans can climb as high as seventh in the Big Ten.

MSU will face one of the current sixth-place teams on Friday in Penn State, while the Lady Lions will travel to Wisconsin (the other sixth-place team) on Feb. 22 to close out the regular season.

Bella Engen Notes

Senior Bella Engen has been MSU's most consistent player this season. She is the team's leading scorer and ranks among the Big Ten leaders with a 12.7 points per game average.

The Hoenfoss, Norway has scored in double figures in 15-of-23 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 also ranks among the Big Ten leaders in free throw percentage (.797) and field goal percentage (.564). She is also averaging a career-high 6.3 rebounds per game.

Jamie Wesley Notes

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, averaging 14.0 points per game over the last six contests. Wesley scored just three points in last Friday's game against Purdue, the first time in four games she didn't reach the double-figure mark.

The Spartan co-captain averages 11.7 points per game overall and has scored in double figures 14 times this season, including a season-high 26 against Illinois on Jan. 2.

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

She ranks 6th all-time with 189 career steals and is 11 shy of becoming just the 5th player in Spartan history to record 200 steals in a career.

Rasmussen's Block Party

Sophomore Kristen Rasmussen had one blocked shot in last Friday's game with Purdue to tie her own single-season record with 39 blocks.

Rasmussen is among the Big Ten leaders with a 1.6 blocks per game average.

The East Lansing native ranks 2nd on the MSU all-time chart with 78 blocks.

The Spartan co-captain leads MSU and is among the Big Ten leaders with an 8.4 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.

Rasmussen is tied for second on the team with a 12.4 points per game average. She ranks among the Big Ten leaders with an .807 free throw percentage.

Rasmussen has scored in double figures in 18 games this season, including four of the last five overall. She has been MSU's leading scorer six times this season and the team's leading rebounder 14 times.

Maximum Performance

Sophomore guard Maxann Reese is tied for second on the team with a 12.4 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 49 three-pointers this season, good for 4th on the MSU single-season chart, while she stands 5th all-time with 90 triples. Reese is one triple shy of becoming just the 4th player in Spartan history to can 50 or more triples in a single season.

Reese is among the Big Ten leaders in three-point field goal percentage (.386) and three-pointers per game (2.04). 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 8 of her last 11 games and in 15 contests overall. She has been MSU's leading scorer in 5 of the last 9 contests.

Reese, who made the switch to point guard this season from her natural off-guard position, dished out 8 assists and had just one turnover in Friday's game against Purdue.

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)  49
    5.  Tanya Place (1993-94)   46
    6.  Chris Powers (1994-95)  42
    7.  Maxann Reese (1996-97)  41