Feb. 26, 2000
East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State closes out the regular season today when it takes on Minnesota at the Sports Pavilion (5,700).
Following today's game, the Spartans will play in the Big Ten Tournament, March 2-5, in Indianapolis, Ind.
Today's game is being carried live on WVFN (730 AM). Mike Vander Woude is the voice of Spartan women's basketball this season. He is joined by Tracy Renken.
Broadcasts of all MSU games can be accessed on the internet at www.msuspartans.com.
The game is also being televised on Midwest Sports Channel.
Michigan State is 17-9 overall and in fifth place in the Big Ten at 8-7.
The Spartans are coming off a 53-41 loss to No. 21 Purdue on Thursday in West Lafayette, Ind. The loss was the second straight for MSU.
Minnesota is 9-17 overall and in 11th place in the Big Ten with a 2-13 mark.
The Gophers lost to Big Ten champion Penn State, 92-43, on Thursday, their second straight loss. Minnesota is 1-7 in its last eight games.
Michigan State Spartans (17-9 Overall/8-7 Big Ten) PPG RPG APG F 52 Kristen Rasmussen, 6-4, Sr., East Lansing 14.3 10.0 1.8 bpg F 32 Becky Cummings, 6-3, Jr., Walled Lake 15.2 7.7 1.4 C 45 Erin Skelly, 6-5, Jr., Maple Grove, MN 4.2 4.0 0.8 bpg G 21 Maxann Reese, 5-9, Sr., Highland Park 15.8 3.2 2.3 G 40 Vnemina Reese, 5-7, RFr., Fort Wayne, IN 5.0 3.2 4.7
OFF THE BENCH
F 23 Maria Recker, 5-10, Fr., Auburn, IN 4.8 1.6 0.8 F 25 Abby Salscheider, 5-11, So., Bluffton, IN 4.0 1.3 0.7 G 34 Donita Johnson, 5-10, Jr., Clinton Township 3.5 3.7 3.8 G 22 Christie Pung, 5-5, Jr., Pewamo 3.3 0.5 1.7
Michigan State coach Karen Langeland is in her 24th and final season at the helm of the Spartan program. The MSU mentor will retire at the conclusion of this season.
A native of Grand Rapids, Langeland has a career coaching mark of 374-287.
Langeland, who is the dean of Big Ten Conference women's basketball coaches, has guided the Spartans to three postseason appearances in the last four years, including a quarterfinal appearance in the WNIT last season.
Cheryl Littlejohn is in her third season at Minnesota. She has a school and career coaching ledger of 20-60.
THANKS FOR THE GIFTS
MSU coach Karen Langeland has received a couple of retirement gifts on her last three road trips.
Iowa coach Angie Lee gave Langeland a pewter mug with an Iowa insignia on it and a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble during MSU's visit on Jan. 20.
Ohio State coach Beth Burns presented the Spartan mentor with a gift certificate to Marshall Fields on Jan. 27.
Illinois coach Theresa Grentz gave Langeland a Calloway Big Bertha driver.
Badger coach Jane Albright presented her with a package of Wisconsin cheese and other products from the state.
Prior to the Feb. 20 home finale against Michigan at the Breslin Center, Wolverine coach Sue Guevara gave Langelnd a recliner with an ottoman.
On Thursday, Purdue coach Kristy Curry presented the Spartan mentor with a golf package to Boyne Mountain Resorts in Michigan.
MSU has a 20-12 advantage in its series with Minnesota, including wins in two straight and six of the last seven.
The two teams met just once last season as well, with the Spartans claiming a 73-58 win at the Breslin Center.
MSU is 8-7 against the Gophers in Minneapolis, but hasn't lost there since 1994.
FIRST AND ONLY TIME
MSU and Minnesota play each other for the first and only time this season today.
In the Big Ten format, each school plays two games against six schools and one contest against the other four teams.
The other teams that the Spartans played just once this season are Indiana (Jan. 13 - W-78-56), Penn State (Jan. 23 - W-71-63) and Illinois (Jan. 30 - L-86-66).
ABOUT THE GOPHERS
Minnesota has lost 24 straight Big Ten games on its home court. The Gophers have not won a conference game at home since Feb. 2, 1997 when they defeated Ohio State, 66-64.
Minnesota ranks 10th in the Big Ten, averaging just 56.7 points per game. Sophomore guard Cassie VanderHeyden is one of only two players averaging in double figures with an 11.1 points per game average. Senior guard Erin Olson contributes 10.8 per contest for the perimeter oriented team.
The Gophers, who are shooting 37 percent from the field, average 17.2 three-point field goal attempts per game.
PERFECT HOME SEASON ENDS IN DOUBLE OVERTIME LOSS TO MICHIGAN
The 90-87 double overtime loss to Michigan on Feb. 20 snapped MSU's school-record 15-game home winning streak and ended the Spartans bid for a perfect home season.
MSU closed out the year 12-1 at home, the seventh time in school history it has suffered just one loss in a season. The Spartans also tied the school record for home wins in a season. MSU has a record of 98-43 (.695) in 10 years at the Breslin Center.
Consecutive Home Wins
15 2/12/99 - 2/20/00 13 11/30/96 - 11/21/97 12 2/7/77 - 2/25/78 10 3/4/90 - 1/27/91
While Michigan State flourished at home this season with a 12-1 mark, it has struggled to just a 5-8 record on the road. The Spartans have won just once in seven Big Ten road games.
SPARTANS WILL BE THE 5TH SEED IN THE BIG TEN TOURNAMENT
Michigan State will be the No. 5 seed in next week's Big Ten Tournament.
The Spartans are currently in fifth place in the Big Ten, just one game ahead of sixth place Wisconsin. Even if MSU ends up tied with Wisconsin in the final league standings, Spartans have the tie breaker against the Badgers.
MSU will face either Purdue or Illinois in the quarterfinals of the tourney. The two teams are currently tied for third place. If they remain in a tie, the Boilermakers will earn the No. 3 seed based on their 77-55 win over Illinois in the only meeting between the two teams.
CUMMINGS NAMED TO ACADEMIC TEAM
Junior Becky Cummings has been named to the GTE Academic All-District IV First Team. Cummings, who carries a 3.43 grade-point average in audiology and speech sciences, will now appear on the ballot for Academic All-America honors.
In addition to her academic and athletic accomplishments, Cummings is a volunteer at the humane society and a local retirement home.
The district team is made up of student-athletes from Division I schools in Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. To be nominated, student-athletes must be a starter or key reserve and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.20 or higher.
MSU STYMIED AT PURDUE
The Boilermakers proved why they are one of the top defensive teams in the Big Ten, holding the Spartans to just 41 points on Thursday.
The point total was the lowest by a Spartan team since Jan. 23, 1976 (74-38 loss to Ohio State), the year before Karen Langeland was named head coach.
MSU had two significant scoring droughts against the Boilermakers in the second half and was held scoreless for 12 of the 20 minutes in the half.
SPARTANS LEAD THE BIG TEN FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE
Michigan State leads the Big Ten and is among the top 20 nationally with a .463 field goal percentage.
The Spartans shot just 33 percent from the field against Purdue on Thursday, snapping a streak of three straight games in which they hit at 50 percent or better from the field.
Michigan State is 8-2 this season when it shoots 50 percent or better from the field. The only two setbacks for the Spartans when they reached that mark was their 77-69 road loss to Wisconsin on Feb. 13 and in their double overtime loss to Michigan on Feb. 20.
THE COMFORTS OF HOME
MSU is shooting 49 percent (398-of-808) from the field at home this season and 43 percent (333-of-772) on the road.
70 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
MSU is 16-1 this season when it scores 70 or more points. The only time the Spartans won when they failed to reach the 70-point mark was in their 62-50 victory over Ohio State on Jan. 2.
The Spartans have topped the 80-point mark 10 times this season, surpassing the number of times (5) it scored more than that last season.
MSU has been held to 65 points or less in six of its nine losses this season (54 vs. Notre Dame, 65 vs. North Carolina, 61 vs. Michigan, 55 vs. Northwestern, 50 vs. Ohio State, 41 vs. Purdue).
ON THE BOARDS
Michigan State has outrebounded 19 of 26 opponents this season and is 14-5 in those contests. The Spartans are second in the Big Ten with a 40.3 boards per game average overall. MSU has garnered 50 or more rebounds three times this season, including a season-best 56 against Appalachian State on Nov. 19.
OVERTIME UNLUCKY FOR THE SPARTANS
Michigan State is 0-5 in its last five overtime contests. The double overtime game with Michigan on Feb. 20 was the first overtime contest of the year for the Spartans.
Last season, MSU was winless in four overtime games.
RASMUSSEN CLOSING IN ON REBOUND RECORD
Senior Kristen Rasmussen is 13 rebounds away from becoming MSU's all-time leader in that category.
Rasmussen, who has 921 boards to her credit, is looking to pass former Spartan great Kris Emerson (1984-87). Rasmussen and Emerson are the only two players in MSU history to record 900 rebounds in a career.
RECORD GAMES FOR REESE AND RASMUSSEN
Maxann Reese will play in the 115th game of her career today, the most in Spartan history. Cheri Euler held the previous record when she appeared in 114 contests from 1994-97.
Today's contest is the 114th for Kristen Rasmussen. She missed one game as a rookie with a sprained ankle.
CUMMINGS 2ND IN THE NATION
Junior Becky Cummings leads the Big Ten and is second in the nation in field goal percentage (.626). In conference action, Cummings is shooting 64 percent from the floor.
She has shot 50 percent or better from the field in 20-of-26 games this season. Cummings hit just 3-of-9 shots against Purdue, the first time in five games she did not hit 50 percent or better from the floor.
Maxann Reese hit 4-of-8 three-pointers in the win over Purdue on Feb. 17 to become just the seventh player in Big Ten history to record 200 triples in a career.
Reese, who is MSU's all-time leader in three-point field goals with 205, has moved into a tie for fifth on the conference all-time chart.
Senior Maxann Reese is starting to heat up offensively, averaging 21.2 points per game over the last four contests. The Spartan guard was held to eight points against Purdue, just the fourth time this season she did not reach double figures.
Reese poured in 32 points in the win over the Boilermakers on Feb. 17, the third 30-plus point game of her career.
Reese has shot 50 percent or better in three of the last six conests and is shooting 47 percent (49-of-103) from the field in those six games.
With the emergence of other scorers this season, Reese has not had to provide as much offense for the Spartans as in the past.
What she has done this year is develop into a more all-around player. She averages a team-high 32.6 minutes per game and is among the team leaders in assists (61) and steals (37).
Offensively, Reese ranks fifth in the Big Ten with a 15.8 points per game, while she also contributes 3.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
A First-Team All-Big Ten selection last year, Reese has scored 20 or more points seven times this season.
Reese currently ranks ranks third on the MSU all-time scoring chart with 1,504 points, trailing only Kisha Kelley (1,668) and Kris Emerson (1,590) on the scoring list.
BECKY CUMMINGS NOTES
Junior Becky Cummings is second on the team and eighth in the Big Ten with a 15.2 points per game average. Cummings also ranks 10th in the league with a 7.7 rebounds per game average. Cummings has scored 20 or more points seven times this year, including 23 points against Michigan (Dec. 30) and Central Michigan (Dec. 8).
The Walled Lake native tallied 20 points in the Feb. 3 win over Northwestern to become the 25th player in program history to top 800 career points. Cummings currently is tied for 23rd on the all-time scoring chart with 871 points.
She had four rebounds against Iowa on Feb. 6 to become the 14th player in school history to record 500 rebounds in a career. Cummings is 13th on the all-time rebounding chart with 533 boards.
RASMUSSEN TOPS IN THE BIG TEN
Senior forward Kristen Rasmussen leads the Big Ten and is among the top 25 in the nation with a 10.0 rebounds per game average.
She is also tops in the league with 14 double-doubles this season. Rasmussen has recorded 37 double-doubles in her career.
Junior Becky Cummings is tied for fourth in the league with eight double-doubles.
The Spartans are 5-1 this season when Rasmussen and Cummings post a double-double in the same game and 10-3 in the last 13 games when they accomplish that feat.
MORE ON RAS
Senior Kristen Rasmussen is one of the best all-around players in the Big Ten. She ranks among the league leaders in five different categories - scoring (14.3 ppg/13th), rebounding (10.0 rpg/1st), field goal percentage (.534/3rd), free throw percentage (.783/6th) and blocks per game (1.77 bpg/3rd).
Rasmussen stands fourth on the MSU all-time scoring chart with 1,408 points.
The East Lansing native joins Kris Emerson (1,590 pts./933 reb.) as the only players in MSU history to score 1,000 points and pull down 900 rebounds in a career.
In the loss to Wisconsin on Feb. 13, Rasmussen showed off her shooting range, going 2-for-2 from three-point range.
Rasmussen is shooting 45 percent (5-of-11) from behind the arc this season. She is 13-of-35 (.371) from three-point range in her career.
RASMUSSEN AMONG BEST IN CONFERENCE HISTORY IN BLOCKED SHOTS
Senior forward Kristen Rasmussen ranks seventh on the Big Ten's all-time chart for blocked shots with 187.
She has 46 blocks this season, good for second on the single-season chart.
MSU's all-time leader now holds the top four seasonal marks in school history.
GETTING TO THE POINT
Redshirt freshman Vnemina Reese cotinues to improve with each game. She currently averages 5.0 points and 4.72 assists per game, good for third in the Big Ten. She also stands ninth in the league with a 2.12 steals per game average.
Reese's 118 assists rank 10th on the MSU single-season chart.
Reese, who started the first six games a year ago before being sidelined with a knee injury, has started all 24 games she has played in this season.
In the loss to Wisconsin on Feb. 13, Reese scored four points, had nine assists, just two turnovers and came up with a career-high six steals in 33 minutes.
Against Iowa on Feb. 6, Reese scored six points, pulled down a season-high seven rebounds and had six assists in 30 minutes of action.
The Fort Wayne, Ind., native distributed a career-high 10 assists in the win over Dayton on Dec. 17.
TOUGH "D" LEADS TO WINS
MSU has held 18 opponents to less than 70 points this season and is 14-4 in those contests.
The Spartans won 17-straight games when holding the opposition to less than 70 points before their 64-61 loss to Michigan on Dec. 30.
MSU has held six opponents to less than 60 points and is 5-1 in those games.
Winberg, a native of Shoreview, Minn., will make her final visit to Minneapolis today. Winberg has appeared in just nine games for the Spartans this season. She has been plagued for the majority of her career by knee injuries and is limited to approximately 5-6 minutes per game when she can play.
Skelly, native of Osseo, has started the last three games for MSU and is averaging 4.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
The 6-5 center scored 12 points and had seven rebounds in the double overtime loss to Michigan on Feb. 20.
The MSU Alumni Association of Minneapolis hosted a reception for the Spartans on their arrival in town last night.
Members of the Alumni Association will also be in attendance at today's game.
ACTION FOR ABBY
Sophomore Abby Salscheider has burst onto the scene in the last four games for the Spartans, averaging 10.2 points per contest during that stretch.
The Bluffton, Ind., native scored a career-high 15 points, on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, against Wisconsin on Feb. 13. She followed that up with another solid performance in the win over Purdue on Feb. 17.
Against the Boilermakers, Salscheider hit 7-of-8 shots en route to 14 points. She also pulled down four rebounds.
In the last four contests, Salscheider is shooting 69 percent (20-of-29) from the field.
On the season, Salscheider is averaging 4.0 points and 1.3 rebounds per game. She is shooting 61 percent from the field, including 50 percent or better in 12 contests.
After early season struggles with bench production, the Spartan reserves have been consistent contributors in the last half of the year.
The MSU bench has outscored the opponent reserves in nine of the last 12 games, including a 20-2 advantage in the win over Purdue on Feb. 17.
Overall, the Spartans are 13-4 when the bench outscores their opponents reserves.
The MSU bench is averaging 18.8 points per game overall, while its opponents average 15.5 per contest.
In the first three Big Ten games of the year, MSU got just 6.7 points per game from its bench. The Spartan reserves were held scoreless in the loss to Michigan on Dec. 30 and contributed just four points in the loss to Northwestern on Jan. 6.
Freshman Maria Recker has provided MSU with valuable minutes off the bench, averaging 13.3 minutes per contest. Her playing time has reduced in recent weeks because of the emergence of Abby Salscheider.
The rookie from Auburn, Ind., has started two games this season and is fifth on the team with a 4.8 points and 1.6 rebounds per game average.
She has scored in double figures four times this season, including a career-high 15-point effort against Ohio on Dec. 21. Recker pulled down a career-high seven rebounds in the win over Penn State on Jan. 23.
Junior Donita Johnson has come off the bench in the last three games after starting 21 of 23 contests.
Despite being one of the best defensive players on the team, Johnson was struggling offensively.
Since serving in a reserve role in the last three games, her play has improved. She is averaging 2.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in the last three contests, while turning the ball over just twice. In the win over Purdue on Feb. 17, she tallied four points and dished out nine assists in 18 minutes of play.
Overall, Johnson is averaging 3.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.