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Rasmussen Named Team MVP

April 17, 2000

East Lansing, Mich. - The Michigan State women's basketball team held its annual banquet at Hawk Hollow Golf Course on April 9 and the following award winners were recognized:

Captain's Award - Kristen Rasmussen, Sr., East Lansing, MI, Maxann Reese, Sr., Highland Park, MI

Rasmussen is one of just three players in program history to serve as team captain three times. She averaged 14.8 points per game. Rasmussen led the Big Ten and was 25th in the nation with a 9.8 rebounds per game average.

Reese served as team captain for a second straight season. She was the team's leading scorer with a 16.0 points per game average.

Most Improved Player - Abby Salscheider, So., Bluffton, IN
Scholar-Athlete Award -Abby Salscheider

Salscheider used a summer trip with the Big Ten All-Star Tour team to Germany and Belgium and the Spartans' tour of Canada as catalysts for an improved sophomore campaign. She averaged 4.1 points per game and scored in double figures three times. In the last nine games of the year, Salscheider contributed 7.1 points per game. Against Wisconsin on Feb. 13, she came off the bench to score a career-high 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor. Salscheider followed that performance with a 14-point effort, on 7-of-8 shooting, in MSU's win over nationally ranked Purdue. The Spartan forward shot 59 percent from the floor for the season.

Salscheider is the first-ever recipient of the Scholar-Athlete Award. A kinesiology major, she has a 3.74 grade-point average and is an Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

Unsung Hero Award - Becky Cummings, Jr., Walled Lake, MI

Cummings is the first ever recipient of the Unsung Hero Award. Cummings had the best year of her career, but was often overshadowed by senior stars Kristen Rasmussen and Maxann Reese. The junior frontline player averaged 15.1 points per game, an improvement of almost four points a game over her sophomore campaign. An Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection, she led the Big Ten and was third in the nation in field goal percentage (.621). Cummings was named the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week after averaging 20.0 points and shooting 87 percent from the field in wins over Iowa and No. 4 Penn State. She connected on an MSU-record 11-of-11 free throws against Michigan (12/30) and went on to hit 19-consecutive from the charity stripe for the sixth-longest streak in school history. Cummings was named to the Felpausch/MSU Classic All-Tournament team and was an Academic All-Big Ten and GTE Academic All-District IV selection.

Nate Rufe Memorial Best Defensive Player - Maxann Reese

Reese, who has long been known for her offensive skills, worked hard to become a top defender. She was almost always put on the opponent's best offensive player whether they were bigger, stronger or faster. Her defensive work often created offensive opportunities for herself and her teammates. Reese ended the year with 43 steals and nine blocked shots. She is the only player in school history to earn First-Team All-Big Ten honors twice.

Most Valuable Player - Kristen Rasmussen

Rasmussen is one of the most versatile players ever to wear the Green and White. A First-Team All-Big Ten selection, she ranked among the Big Ten leaders in five different categories - scoring (14.8 ppg/10th), rebounding (9.8 rpg/1st), field goal percentage (.533/3rd), free throw percentage (.802/5th) and blocks per game (1.71/3rd). Rasmussen also paced all league players with 16 double-doubles. She collected 304 rebounds to become just the second player in MSU history to top the 300-rebound mark in a season. Rasmussen was the team's leading scorer seven times and the leading rebounder on 23 occasions. The 6-4 frontliner also averaged 2.74 assists and 1.71 steals per game.

The Spartans finished the 1999-00 campaign with a 19-12 overall record and tied with Wisconsin for fifth place in the Big Ten with an 8-8 mark. MSU earned a bid to the Women's National Invitation Tournament, its fourth postseason appearance in the last five years. The Spartans won games against Villanova (74-62) and Cincinnati (88-83) before falling to Wisconsin (77-45) in the quarterfinals of the WNIT for the second straight season. The Spartans graduate three players, Kristen Rasmussen, Maxann Reese and Whitney Winberg, from the 1999-00 squad.



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