Nov. 9, 1999
East Lansing, Mich. - The Michigan State women's basketball team opens the 1999-2000 campaign with an exhibition game against the Soproni Postas Basketball Club on Saturday, Nov. 13. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m., at the Breslin Center (15,138).
Saturday's game is the only exhibition tuneup for the Spartans, who open the regular season Nov. 19-20 with the Felpausch/MSU Classic.
The Soproni Postas Basketball Club has a long tradition in Hungarian basketball. The club has been in existence for more than 50 years and has won several National Championships. The team features several members of the Hungarian National Team.
Soproni Postas has posted a 3-1 record against other Division I schools during its nine-game American tour.
The team opened its tour with a 52-51 win over Ball State (Nov. 3) and suffered its only setback in a 71-67 loss to Butler on Nov. 4. Soproni Postas has also collected wins over Marquette (77-71) and Northwestern (70-68).
The team will face Western Michigan (Nov. 9), Central Michigan (Nov. 10) and Michigan (Nov. 12) before Saturday's game against MSU. It will close out its tour against defending national champion Purdue on Nov. 15.
ABOUT THE SPARTANS
MSU returns 12 players, nine letterwinners and four starters from last season's team that posted a 17-14 overall record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women's National Invitational Tournament.
The Spartans will be led by seniors Maxann Reese and Kristen Rasmussen. Reese, a First-Team All-Big Ten selection last year, is the second-leading returning scorer in the league after averaging 17.6 points per game as a junior.
Rasmussen is the leading returning rebounder and shot blocker in the Big Ten. A Second-Team All-Big Ten selection last year, she averaged 15.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.
Juniors Becky Cummings (11.5 ppg/7.4 rpg) and Donita Johnson (4.9 ppg/3.1 rpg) are two returning starters who will also figure into MSU's success this season.
Seniors Maxann Reese and Kristen Rasmussen has been selected as team co-captains for 1999-2000. Reese and Rasmussen were tri-captains last year along with the graduated Pernille Dalgaard.
Rasmussen joins Brenda Jezowski and Christine Powers as the only players in Spartan history to serve as team captain three times. Rasmussen was also a co-captain as a sophomore in 1997-98 with Jamie Wesley.
Guard Vnemina Reese and forward Nikki Davis are making successful comebacks from reconstructive surgery. The duo suffered anterior cruciate ligament tears within four days of each other last season and underwent reconstructive surgery on the same day (Jan. 5).
Both players returned to the court over the summer and are expected to be 100 percent for the start of the regular season.
AT THE POINT
Redshirt freshman Vnemina Reese is expected to start at the point this weekend with junior Christie Pung seeing action off the bench.
Reese started six games at the point before missing the remainder of her rookie season with a knee injury. She averaged 5.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game prior to the injury.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
MSU has just two newcomers this season, Jennifer Callier and Maria Recker.
Callier, a native of Indianapolis, Ind., is a 6-4 post player who will give the Spartans some much needed size inside. Recker, a native of Auburn, Ind., is a 5-10 perimeter player who provides MSU will another outside threat.
Michigan State coach Karen Langeland begins her 24th season at the helm of the Spartan program. A native of Grand Rapids, Langeland has a career coaching mark of 357-278.
The Spartans got an early start on their 1999-2000 season with a 10-day trip to British Columbia, Canada in August.
MSU practiced for 10 days prior to departing for Canada and posted a 5-0 record during its tour.
There are a couple of changes in the Big Ten schedule this season that should have a positive impact on all of the conference teams.
The league will play its Big Ten games on Thursday and Sunday instead of the Friday/Sunday format of past years. The change will give teams two days to prepare for its next opponent instead of just one day.
The Big Ten Tournament has also made a minor change with first round games beginning on Thursday and the title contest being played on Sunday. In the past, the tournament started on Friday and concluded on Monday.
All of MSU's weekday home games will begin at 7 p.m., this season.
The Big Ten coaches picked MSU to tie with Michigan for fifth place in the league in a preseason poll released at the conference media day on Oct. 31.
Penn State is the favorite to win the league crown followed by Illinois, Wisconsin and Purdue.