March 2, 2000
East Lansing, Mich. - Game #28
Michigan State (17-10/8-8) vs. Illinois (21-9/11-5) * Friday, March 3 * Noon * Indianapolis, IN (Big Ten Trn.)
Michigan State will face Illinois in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday, March 3 in Indianapolis, Ind. Tipoff is set for noon at Conseco Fieldhouse.
The Spartans are the No. 5 seed in the tourney, while the Illini are the No. 4 seed.
Friday's game will be carried live on WVFN (730 AM) with Mike Vander Woude and Tracy Renken calling the action.
Broadcasts of all MSU games can be accessed on the internet at www.msuspartans.com.
The game will also be televised live on Fox Sports Chicago. Dave Eanet handles the play-by-play, while Amy Prichard provides the analysis.
AT&T Cable will show the game against Illinois on a delay basis beginning at 2:05 p.m., on Friday. The game can be seen in the Lansing area on cable channel 17. AT&T will carry Friday's four quarterfinal games and both semifinal games on Saturday. All but the first two games of the tournament will be shown live on AT&T.
Michigan State takes a 17-10 overall record into Friday's game. The Spartans tied with Wisconsin for fifth place in the final Big Ten standings with an 8-8 mark.
The Spartans dropped road games to Purdue (53-41) and Minnesota (75-71 OT) last week, extending their losing streak to a season-high three games.
Illinois is 21-9 overall and tied with Purdue for third place in the final league standings with an 11-5 mark.
The Illini have won three straight and five of their last six overall. Illinois closed out the regular season with wins over Wisconsin (87-78) and Indiana (72-62).
Michigan State Spartans (17-10 Overall/8-8 Big Ten) PPG RPG APG F 52 Kristen Rasmussen, 6-4, Sr., East Lansing 14.8 10.3 1.8 bpg F 32 Becky Cummings, 6-3, Jr., Walled Lake 15.2 7.6 1.4 C 45 Erin Skelly, 6-5, Jr., Maple Grove, MN 4.3 4.1 0.8 bpg G 21 Maxann Reese, 5-9, Sr., Highland Park 15.7 3.1 2.4 G 40 Vnemina Reese, 5-7, RFr., Fort Wayne, IN 5.0 3.2 4.8
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 0.6 G 34 Donita Johnson, 5-10, Jr., Clinton Township 3.4 3.7 3.8 G 22 Christie Pung, 5-5, Jr., Pewamo 3.1 0.4 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 374-288.
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.
Theresa Grentz is in her fifth season at Illinois and in her 26th collegiate campaign overall. Grentz has record of 97-54 with the Illini and a career coaching ledger of 558-209.
Michigan State holds a 21-18 advantage in the all-time series with Illinois, but the Illini have won five straight over the Spartans.
Illinois captured an 86-66 victory in Champaign on Jan. 30 in the only meeting between the two teams this season.
MSU has not beaten the Illini since a 78-75 victory on Feb. 16, 1997 in East Lansing.
AGAINST THE ILLINI IN THE BIG TEN TOURNAMENT
Friday's game will be the second ever meeting between MSU and Illinios in the Big Ten Tournament.
The first meeting between the two clubs came in the quarterfinals of the 1997 Big Ten Tourney when the Illini captured a 77-66 victory.
BIG TEN TOURNEY HISTORY
The Spartans are 4-5 in Big Ten Tournament play since the conference resumed postseason play in 1995.
This is the third time in six years that the Spartans have received a first-round bye.
MSU has advanced to the semifinals of the conference tourney twice, in 1995 and 1997.
The Spartans have lost three of their last four games in the Big Ten Tourney, with their only victory during that stretch coming last season against Indiana (88-69) in the first round.
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 Feb. 24, Purdue coach Kristy Curry presented the Spartan mentor with a golf package to Boyne Mountain Resorts in Michigan.
Langeland received golf balls from Minnesota coach Cheryl Littlejohn during MSU's visit to Minneapolis on Feb. 27.
ABOUT THE ILLINI
Illinois has advanced to the finals of the Big Ten Tournament in two of the last three years. Last year, the Illini lost an 80-76 decision to Purdue in the tourney final.
Sophomore guard Allison Curtin leads the Illini with a 17.5 points per game average.
Senior forward Tauja Catchings contributes 15.7 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game, while senior forward Susan Blauser adds 14.2 points per game.
As a team, Illinois ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring with a 76.8 points per game average. The Illini also rank among the top five in the league in rebounding (40.3 rpg).
REESE AND RASMUSSEN HONORED
It is the first time in Spartan history that two players have been named to the first team, while Reese becomes the only player in school history to earn first team recognition twice.
Rasmussen was also a first team honoree by the media, while Reese was named to the second team along with junior Becky Cummings. Cummings was an honorable mention pick on the coaches squad.
Redshirt freshman Vnemina Reese was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team.
She joins Maxann Reese as the only players in program history to be named to the conference all-rookie team.
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 a 5-9 record on the road. The Spartans won just once in eight Big Ten road games.
MSU has lost five straight away from the Breslin Center. The Spartans last road win came over Iowa on Jan. 20, 82-77.
OVERTIME UNLUCKY FOR THE SPARTANS
Michigan State is 0-6 in its last six overtime contests. The double overtime game with Michigan on Feb. 20 was the first overtime contest of the year for the Spartans, while MSU also lost to Minnesota, 75-71, in overtime on Feb. 27.
Last season, MSU was winless in four overtime games.
RASMUSSEN BECOMES ALL-TIME LEADING REBOUNDER
Senior Kristen Rasmussen had 14 rebounds against Minnesota on Feb. 27 to become MSU's all-time leader in that category with 935 boards.
Rasmussen surpassed former Spartan great Kris Emerson's previous record of 933 (1984-87). Rasmussen and Emerson are the only two players in MSU history to record 900 rebounds in a career.
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 Feb. 24.
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 with a .461 field goal percentage.
The Spartans shot just 33 percent from the field against Purdue on Feb. 24, 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 (358-of-833) on the road.
70 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
MSU is 16-2 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 10 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 20 of 27 opponents this season and is 14-6 in those contests. The Spartans are second in the Big Ten with a 40.4 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.
RECORD GAMES FOR REESE AND RASMUSSEN
Maxann Reese played in the 115th game of her career when the Spartans played Minnesota on Feb. 27, the most in Spartan history. Cheri Euler held the previous record when she appeared in 114 contests from 1994-97.
The contest with the Gophers was the 114th for Kristen Rasmussen. She missed one game as a rookie with a sprained ankle.
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 10.2 rebounds per game average.
She is also tops in the league with 15 double-doubles this season. Rasmussen has recorded 38 double-doubles in her career.
Rasmussen collected her 15th double-double of the year on Feb. 27 against Minnesota when she scored a season-high 26 points and garnered 14 rebounds.
Junior Becky Cummings is among the top four 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.
CUMMINGS AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS
Junior Becky Cummings leads the Big Ten and is eighth in the nation in field goal percentage (.610).
She has shot 50 percent or better from the field in 20-of-27 games this season. Cummings hit just 3-of-9 shots against Purdue (Feb. 24), 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 207, ranks fifth on the conference all-time chart.