Nov. 4, 2000
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women's basketball team opened up exhibition play for the 2000-01 season with an 85-51 victory over the National Women's Basketball League (NWBL) Elite Team Saturday afternoon (Nov. 4) at the Breslin Center.
"I was very proud of our effort on defense and how we played together as a team," said MSU first-year head coach Joanne P. McCallie. "I thought there was a great effort from the team all the way around."
Four players scored in double figures in the MSU win, led by senior forward Becky Cummings (Walled Lake, Mich./Walled Lake Central HS) with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Cummings finished 11-of-15 (.733) from the floor and also added three steals in 31 minutes. Junior Abby Salscheider (Bluffton, Ind./Bluffton HS) posted 17 points, while freshman Julie Pagel (Utica, Mich./Utica HS) and senior Donita Johnson (Clinton Township, Mich./Mt. Clemens HS) each pumped in 13.
The NWBL opened the game on an 11-4 run, thanks in part to six points by former Wayne State University standout Delonda Little. MSU took their first lead of the game (14-13) on a 10-2 run of its own, thanks in part to five points by Johnson and four by Cummings. NWBL answered with a baseline jumper by former Eastern Michigan University standout Laurie Byrd to regain a 15-14 edge with 11:16 remaining in the first half. However, the Spartans immediately responded with a driving layout by Cummings and took the lead for good (16-15) with 10:57 to go. MSU closed the first half on a 21-13 run and went into the locker room with a 37-28 advantage at the half.
The Spartans cranked it up on the defensive end in the second half. MSU held NWBL to just 29.0 field-goal shooting (9-of-31) in the second half and 35.8 percent (19-of-53) for the game. The Spartans went on a 17-0 run holding NWBL without a field goal for almost a seven-minute stretch late in the second. During that stretch, Pagel added nine of her 13 nine points and sophomore Jennifer Callier (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral HS) dumped in six of her eight points.
"We need to keep working hard to get better," said McCallie. "I was really happy with the team's effort. We came pretty close to playing a full 40 minutes today."
Michigan State returns to action on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 2 p.m., when they face the Houston Jaquars in an exhibition game at the Breslin Center. The Jaquars feature two current WNBA players in Jawann Kelley-Gibson of the Houston Comets and Jamika Jones of the Miami Sol.