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Michigan State Women's Basketball Faces Houston Jaguars In Exhibition Action

Nov. 6, 2000


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Tip-Off - Michigan State continues exhibition play, facing the Houston Jaguars this Sunday, Nov. 12, at 2 p.m., at the Breslin Center. The game will be MSU's final tune up before the regular season opens Nov. 17, when the Spartans face Arkansas State in the first round of the MSU Chevrolet Classic.

Scouting Michigan State - Michigan State is coming off an 85-51 victory over the NWBL Elite Team on Saturday (Nov. 4). In the game, the Spartans starting five (Julie Pagel, Abby Salscheider, Becky Cummings, Donita Johnson and Vnemina Reese) combined for 69 of MSU's 85 points and 31 of MSU's 48 rebounds.

Scouting the Houston Jaguars - The Houston Jaguars are under the direction of Kevin Cook, an assistant coach with the WNBA Houston Comets. The Comets won their fourth consecutive WNBA Championship in 2000, sweeping the New York Liberty, 2-0 in the WNBA Finals. The Jaguars are comprised of former NCAA basketball student-athletes and two current WNBA players - Jameka Jones (Miami Sol) and Jawann Kelley-Gibson (Houston Comets). Jones, a guard, played in 21 games for the Sol last year. She averaged 3.2 points and 1.0 rebounds in her rookie season in the league. Guard Kelley-Gibson saw action in 17 games, averaging 1.4 points and 0.7 rebounds for the WNBA Champion Houston Comets. Kelley-Gibson finished her Maryland career among the school leaders in three-point shooting, assists, steals and blocks.

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.

NWBL Recap - The Michigan State women's basketball team opened exhibition play with an 85-51 victory over the National Women's Basketball League (NWBL) Elite Team Nov. 4 at the Breslin Center. Four players scored in double figures in the MSU win, led by Becky Cummings (Walled Lake, Mich./Walled Lake Central HS) with 22 points and 11 rebounds. 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.

Replacing the Offense - Michigan State has the task of replacing 42 percent of its offensive fire power from the 1999-2000 season with the graduation of Maxann Reese (16.0 ppg) and Kristen Rasmussen (14.8 ppg). The duo accounted for 954 of MSU's 2,256 points last year. Against NWBL, the Spartans received balanced scoring as four players scored in double figures led by Becky Cummings with 22 points. Cummings is MSU's lone returnee who averaged in double figures last season (15.1 ppg).

Pleasant Surprise - Freshman forward Julie Pagel turned in a solid performance against NWBL. Pagel, who earned the starting nod at forward, finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, four steals and one block in 19 minutes. Rookie Pagel was a member of the Class A state championship Utica High School team in 1999-2000.

Picking Up Where She Left Off - Senior forward Becky Cummings picked up right where she left off last season against NWBL. Cummings added a game-high 22 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds in 31 minutes. Cummings, who shot a school record 62.1 percent from the field last year, connected on 73.3 percent (11-of-15) of her shots from the floor against NWBL. Cummings enters the season second all-time in school history in field goal percentage (.577). Nicole Cushing (1995-97) is MSU's all-time leader (.591, 257-435). Cummings also holds the single-season field goal record (.621, 169-272), set in 1999-2000.

Starting Five Gain Experience - MSU's starting five (Becky Cummings, Donita Johnson, Julie Pagel, Vnemina Reese and Abby Salscheider) bring a wide range of experience to the table. Cummings has 66 career starts, while Johnson has started 51 contests and Reese, 36. Salcheider has one career start and Pagel is just a rookie.

Spartan Tri-Captains - Becky Cummings, Vnemina Reese and Abby Salscheider have been selected as the tri-captains for the 2000-01 Spartans.

Callier Off the Bench - Sophomore center Jennifer Callier (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral HS) turned in a solid performance for the Spartans off the bench. Callier added eight points on 4-of-6 (.667) shooting from the floor and four offensive rebounds in eight minutes. As a rookie in 1999-2000, Callier averaged 2.4 points and 1.4 rebounds in 17 contests. She also missed seven games with a stress reaction in her foot.

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.

Getting Defensive - The Spartan defense held NWBL to just 35.8 field goal percentage (19-of-53) for the game, including 9.1 percent (1-of-11) from the three-point arc. NWBL turned the ball over 33 times, including 21 steals by the Spartans. On the other hand, MSU shot 46.8 percent (36-of-77) from the floor.

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 (shoulder) and senior forward Nikki Davis (knee) are questionable for this week's action. Recker is still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.

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, including the MSU games at the Spartan Chevrolet Classic, Nov. 30 vs. Detroit, Dec. 5 vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay, Dec. 20 vs. Central Michigan, Jan. 11 vs. Wisconsin, Feb. 1 vs. Iowa and Feb. 25 vs. Minnesota. In addition, all MSU games will be broadcast live on the radio (The Fan 730 AM).

Upcoming - The Spartans open the 2000-01 campaign, hosting the Spartan Chevrolet Classic Nov. 17-18 at the Breslin Center. MSU will face Arkansas State on Nov. 17, at 7 p.m., in the first game, while Boston College and Tennessee Tech will meet in the second game at 9 p.m. On Nov. 18, Arkansas State will play the early game (5 p.m.), while the Spartans will play at 7 p.m.



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