Nov. 1, 2000
East Lansing, Mich. -
Tip-Off Michigan State opens exhibition play facing the National Women's Basketball League (NWBL) USA Elite team on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m., at Breslin Center. The exhibition contest will be the first of two for the Spartans before MSU opens the regular season hosting the MSU Chevrolet Classic Nov. 17-18.
Scouting Michigan State Michigan State returns nine letterwinners, including three starters from 1999-2000. MSU finished with a 19-12 overall mark and an 8-8 Big Ten record. The Spartans are led by senior forward Becky Cummings (Walled Lake, Mich./Walled Lake Central), who is the team's top-returning player. Cummings averaged 15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds as a junior, en route in earning All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors. Other key returnees for the Spartans include: sophomore point guard Vnemina Reese (Fort Wayne, Ind./South Side HS), junior forward Abby Salscheider (Bluffton, Ind./Bluffton HS) and senior guard Donita Johnson (Clinton Township, Mich./Mt. Clemens HS). Reese averaged 5.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists as a redshirt freshman in 1999-2000. Salscheider averaged 4.1 points, 1.4 rebounds and shot 58.6 percent (51-of-87) from the field, while Johnson averaged 3.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists as a junior.
Scouting NWBL The NWBL USA Elite Travel Roster is made up of former collegiate players. (The preliminary roster for Saturday's contest is on page 3.) Some familiar names dot the NWBL roster. Former Michigan State standout point guard Tamika Matlock (1995-97) is a member of the NWBL squad. Matlock was twice selected as MSU's MVP and earned All-Big Ten Second-Team honors as a senior in 1997. Matlock still holds MSU's single-season assist record (299), set in 1996-97 and ranks third all-time at MSU in career assists (403). Former Eastern Michigan University standout guard Laurie Byrd is also on the team. Byrd (1979-82) is still EMU's all-time leading scorer (1,899) points and holds the top two marks on EMU's single-season scoring chart with 602 points in 1981-82 and 557 points in 1980-81. Also listed on the NWBL roster are former University of Detroit standouts Cherly Williams and Lydia Johnson, and Tennessee forward Dena Head.
MSU Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie Joanne P. McCallie is in her first year behind the Michigan State bench. McCallie, who was named to the position on March 27, 2000, is just the fourth head coach in Michigan State women's basketball history. McCallie arrived at MSU after an eight-year stint as the head coach at the University of Maine. During her tenure with the Black Bears, McCallie, 34, guided Maine to a record of 167-73, six-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, two North Atlantic Conference Championships, two America East Conference Championships and five regular-season conference titles. She was been named conference coach of the year three times, twice in the North Atlantic Conference and once in the America East in 1999. A native of Brunswick, Maine, McCallie guided the Black Bears to a 20-11 overall record in 1999-00 and their sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Prior to taking her first head coaching position, McCallie was an assistant coach at Auburn from 1988-92. As the team's primary recruiter, she helped sign the fourth-ranked class in the nation in 1990-91 and the 16th-ranked class in 1991-92. While at Auburn, McCallie and the Tigers appeared in two national championship games and made an appearance in the NCAA Elite Eight.
Coaching Staff Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie rounds out her coaching staff with a trio of individuals who know how to win. Joining the Spartan staff are: Associate Head Coach Katie Abrahamson, Assistant Coaches Felisha Legette-Jack and Janel Grimm. Abrahamson is a former assistant from Iowa State where she was the recruiting coordinator for the Cyclones for six seasons. She played collegiate basketball for both Georgia and Iowa. Legette-Jack arrived at MSU after spending seven seasons as an assistant coach at Syracuse. Legette-Jack was a two-time Honorable Mention All-American as a player at Syracuse. Grimm is familiar with McCallie after spending the 1999-2000 season as an assistant coach at Maine. Grimm played collegiately at Iowa State where she was a two-time All-Big 12 honoree.
Green-White Recap MSU played its annual Green-White Scrimmage on Oct. 28 at the Breslin Center. The Green-White game was played in a four 10-minute quarter format with players switching teams after each quarter. The Green squad posted a 45-39 victory, after taking an 18-8 lead into the locker room at halftime. Senior center Erin Skelly (Maple Grove, Minn./Osseo HS) led all scorers with 11 points and also added six rebounds. Freshman Julie Pagel (Utica, Mich./Utica HS) recorded 10 points and four rebounds. Pagel also added four steals. Freshman guard Candice Jackson (Lansing, Mich./Lansing Everett HS) posted nine points and three rebounds. Also finishing with nine points were junior forward Abby Salscheider (Bluffton, Ind./Bluffton HS) and senior forward Becky Cummings (Walled Lake, Mich./Walled Lake Central HS). Sophomore point guard Vnemina Reese (Fort Wayne, Ind./South Side HS) finished with eight points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Spartan Tri-Captains Becky Cummings, Vnemina Reese and Abby Salscheider have been selected as the tri-captains for the 2000-01 Spartans. Senior Cummings is MSU's top-returning player, after averaging 15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in 1999-2000.
Home Sweet Home Michigan State finished with a 13-1 record at Breslin Center last season, including a perfect 6-0 slate against non-conference opponents. Included in the wins were victories over then No. 4 Penn State on Jan. 23 and No. 17 Purdue on Feb. 17. Since the Spartans moved into the Breslin Center prior to the start of the 1989-90 season, MSU has won almost 70 percent of its home games. The Spartans are 99-43 in the last 11 years.
Michigan Pride Eight of the 14 student-athletes on the 2000-01 Spartan roster hail from the State of Michigan. Included in this group of eight are two players from the Lansing area (Candice Jackson and Kelly Czubak). Jackson attended Lansing Everett High School, while Czubak went to Central Catholic.
New Faces Three freshmen are listed on the 2000-01 Spartan roster. Candice Jackson, Julie Pagel and Anne Peck (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand HS) compose the class of 2004. Five-foot-six guard Jackson was a three-time team MVP and tri-captain at Lansing Everett High School. Forward Pagel played for Class A state champion Utica High School, where she averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds as a senior. Peck, a 6-2 forward, was a two-time USA Today All-American Honorable Mention selection at Daniel Hand High School in Connecticut. Peck averaged 19 points and 14 rebounds as a senior.
Sharp Shooter Senior Becky Cummings enters the 2000-01 season with the distinction of being one of the most accurate shooters in school history. Cummings, who stands second all-time in MSU history with a 57.7 field goal percent, set the MSU single-season record in 1999-2000. Cummings shot 62.1 percent (169-272) from the floor, a mark which led the Big Ten and ranked third in the nation. Cummings also holds the third-highest mark in single-season history (.593, 131-221).
Staff Has Been to the "Dance" When Joanne P. McCallie was named the fourth head coach in Spartan women's basketball history on March 27, 2000, she immediately talked about pursuing championships. Her first task, however, was putting together a coaching staff. In a matter of weeks, McCallie assembled a trio of individuals who know how to win. McCallie and her staff have been a part of 18 conference titles and made 20 trips to the NCAA Tournament, including two appearances in the championship game and five Elite Eight trips.
Injury Update Sophomore forward Maria Recker (Auburn, Ind./DeKalb HS) is out. Recker is recover from shoulder surgery and is expected to be back in the next weeks.
Television Spotlight Michigan State will make three appearances on national and regional television in 2000-01. The Spartans will face Alabama on Dec. 10 in the Big Ten/SEC Challenge on espn2. MSU also makes two appearances on Fox Sports Chicago -- Jan. 4 vs. Ohio State and Jan. 25 vs. Michigan -- both games will be played at the Breslin Center. In addition, AT&T Cable will broadcast eight women's basketball games.
MSU continues exhibition play on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 2 p.m., when they face the Houston Jaquar at the Breslin Center. The Spartans will open the 2000-01 campaign playing host to the Chevrolet Classic on Nov. 17-18.