Nov. 28, 2000
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Tip-Off - Michigan State will face two potential NCAA opponents this week. On Thursday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m., the Spartans will face Detroit at the Breslin Center. Eastern Michigan and Michigan State will meet on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m., at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. The EMU-MSU game is part of the College Basketball Showcase. Michigan and Western Michigan will meet in the second game at 4 p.m.
About Michigan State - Spartans Looking for Momentum -- Michigan State will look to extend its winning streak to two games when the Spartans face Detroit on Thursday (Nov. 30). MSU has split its opening four games, going 2-2 with wins over Chicago State and Arkansas State.
Road Trip -- Four of MSU's next six games are on the road, including trips to Samford (Dec. 8), Alabama (Dec. 10) and Dayton (Dec. 17). The Spartans two home games will be against Detroit (Nov. 30) and Wisconsin-Green Bay (Dec. 5). The Spartans will play Eastern Michigan at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids on Dec. 3 in a neutral site contest.
Watch Out For Jackson -- Freshman guard Candice Jackson made a name for herself against Chicago State. Jackson canned six three pointers vs. CSU, placing tied for fourth on MSU's single-game chart. Jackson is in some pretty good company as the top three sports are held by Maxann Reese. Reese set the school mark with 10 against Iowa on Jan. 29, 1999.
This Week's Opponents Detroit (1-1 overall) The Coach - Anne Rexford is in her second season behind the Titans bench. She led UDM to an 18-9 overall mark in 1999-2000.
Titan Leaders - Four Titans are averaging in double figures led by senior guard Shari Hill, who is averaging 19.0 points and 3.5 assists. Junior guard Michelle James is averaging 18.5 points and 3.5 assists, while junior guard/forward Molly Peterman is averaging 17.5 points and 9.0 rebounds.
MSU All-Time vs. UDM -- This will mark the 16th meeting between the schools. MSU holds a slim 8-7 advantage in the all-time series, including wins in five of the last six games. MSU won the last outing between the schools, a 74-52 victory on Nov. 24, 1999 in Detroit. Becky Cummings paced the Spartans attack with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Eastern Michigan (3-2 overall) The Coach - Suzy Merchant is in her third year behind the Eagles bench. She has led EMU to a 33-29 overall mark during her tenure.
Ones To Watch - A trio of Eagles are averaging in double figures, led by sophomore guard Dru Bishop at 13.2 points. Junior guard Stephanie Smiley (10.8 ppg) and senior guard Kristy Maska (11.2 ppg) are the other players averaging in double figures. Smiley also leads the team with 20 assists.
All-Time Series -- Michigan State holds a 14-2 edge in the all-time series which began with a 38-31 EMU win on Jan. 30, 1973. The Spartans have won 11 straight meetings. The teams last met on Dec. 16, 1995, when MSU posted a 72-57 win at the Breslin Center.
MSU Recap MSU Finishes Third in Tallahassee -- Poor field-goal shooting doomed Michigan State in the first game of the Tallahassee Democrat Seminole Classic. The Spartans shot just 21.7 percent (10-of-46) from the field for the game, including a 4-for-26 (15.4 percent) effort in the first half, as Virginia Tech posted a 50-36 victory. MSU came out on fire against Chicago State. The Spartans came out strong, jumping out to an early 26-12 lead 11 minutes into the game on a three-point basket by sophomore point guard Vnemina Reese and never looked back in recording the 101-52 victory.
More Spartan Notes Starting Line Up -- Michigan State has used three different starting line-up combinations this season. For the first two games, Becky Cummings, Donita Johnson, Jennifer Callier, Candice Jackson and Vnemina Reese were the starting five. Against Virginia Tech, MSU started Julie Pagel, Erin Skelly, Christie Pung, Maria Recker and Vnemina Reese. In MSU's win over Chicago State, the Spartans started Julie Pagel, Maria Recker, Becky Cummings, Candice Jackson and Vnemina Reese. Reese is MSU's consecutive starts leader with 40 straight games.
First Career Start -- Freshman forward Julie Pagel picked up her first career start against Virginia Tech (11/25). Pagel finished with five points, two rebounds and one steal in 26 minutes. Pagel followed up with a seven point, eight rebound performance in MSU's win over Chicago State. For the season, Pagel is averaging 7.3 points and 6.8 rebounds.
Spreading the Minutes Around -- Eight Spartans are averaging at least 16 minutes per contest, while two are averaging 10 or more. Vnemina Reese is the team leader, averaging 28.5 minutes-per-game, while Donita Johnson ranks second at 27.5 mpg.
Free Throw Woes Continue -- Even though MSU shot a season-best 61.9 percent (13-of-21) from the free throw line against Virginia Tech (11/25), the Spartans free throw woes continue. Michigan State missed seven second-half free throws, after making 5-of-6 (.833) in the first half. For the season, MSU is shooting just 59.1 percent (52-of-88) from the charity stripe. A mark that ranks last in the Big Ten.
On the Boards -- MSU outrebounded its opponent in each of its first four games. The Spartans held a 36-to-26 advantage on the boards against Virginia Tech, including a 14-to-3 advantage on the offensive glass. Becky Cummings finished with a season-high 11 rebounds against the Hokies. The Spartans also held a 46-to-24 advantage on the boards against Chicago State. For the season, the Spartans hold a 40.3 to 29.3 advantage on the boards, a difference of +11 rebounds per game. The Spartans are tied with Ohio State in the Big Ten in rebound margin.
Looking for 170 -- MSU head coach Joanne P. McCallie needs just one win to reach 170 career victories. In eight years at Maine, McCallie posted a 167-73 overall mark (.696). She won her first game as a Spartan, a 76-50 victory over Arkansas State (Nov. 17).
Approaching Milestones -- Senior forward Becky Cummings is approaching two Spartan milestones:
* She needs just seven points to reach the 1,000-point plateau, and would become just the 12th player in Spartan history to reach 1,000 points. Kisha Kelly is MSU's all-time points leader with 1,668 points.
* Cummings also needs 11 rebounds to reach the 600-rebound mark. She would become just the fifth player in school history to record 1,000 points and grab 600 rebounds.
Shooting Woes -- For a second straight game, MSU struggled from the field shooting against Virginia Tech. Against Boston College (11/18), the Spartans shot just 29.6 percent (8-of-27) from the field in the second half and 38.9 percent (21-of-54) for the game. In the loss to Virginia Tech, MSU shot just 15.4 percent (4-of-26) in the first half and 21.7 percent (10-of-46) for the game.
What A Difference A Day Makes -- In the consolation game, MSU finally found its shooting touch. Michigan State shot a season-best 59.4 percent (38-of-64) against Chicago State, including 61.8 percent from the field in the second half. MSU is still shooting just 43.6 percent for the season, placing them seventh in the Big Ten statistics.
Jackson Named To All-Tournament Team -- Freshman guard Candice Jackson was named to the Tallahassee Democrat Seminole Classic All-Tournament team. Jackson, who had four points and two rebounds in the opener against Virginia Tech, scored a career-high 26 points in MSU's 101-52 victory over Chicago State. Jackson had a career night against the Cougars, finishing 10-for-13 (.769) from the field and 6-of-8 (.750) from the three-point line.
Skelly Has Career Day -- Senior center Erin Skelly had a career day against Chicago State (11/26) posting her first career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. She was 7-of-8 (.875) from the field, including her first career three pointer. She also added one block and one assist in 24 minutes. For the season, Skelly is averaging 6.0 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Turning it Up -- Maria Recker stepped up her game at the Tallahassee Democrat Seminole Classic. Recker started both games for the Spartans -- adding six points and two rebounds vs. Virginia Tech and eight points, three rebounds and two assists vs. Chicago State.
Where Did the Offense Go -- MSU scored a season-low 36 points against Virginia Tech. The 36 points was MSU's lowest point total since MSU also tallied 36 points against Iowa on Jan. 18, 1985.
Light Up That Scoreboard -- Michigan State scored 101 points against Chicago State on Nov. 26. It marked just the eighth time in school history that the Spartans had topped the 100 point mark and the first time since Nov. 19, 1999, when MSU beat Appalachian State, 100-63.
Injury Update -- Senior forward Nikki Davis will miss the entire 2000-01 season due to a knee injury.
Coach P on Davis' Injury -- "It's very unfortunate for Nikki, and a definite loss for our team. I'm happy that she has reached a point of closure with playing. She fought every step of the way and is an inspiration to me."
Upcoming -- Following the Detroit and Eastern Michigan contests, Michigan State will face 2000 NCAA Tournament participant Wisconsin-Green Bay at the Breslin Center on Dec. 5.