Nov. 29, 1999
East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State has two non-conference games on the schedule this week, beginning with a contest against Illinois State on Dec. 2 at the Breslin Center (15,138). Tipoff for that game is set for 7 p.m.
The Spartans then begin a stretch of three-straight road games with a Dec. 5 contest at Butler. That game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., EST at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.
Both games will be carried live on WVFN Radio (730 AM).
Mike Vander Woude will call the action, while Tracy Renken will provide the analysis for the Illinois State game and former Spartan star Paula Sanders will handle the color duties at Butler.
Fans can also access the game via the internet at www.msuspartans.com.
AT&T Cable Services will televise the Illinois State game in the Lansing area on cable channel 17.
Ben Stark handles the play-by-play, while Sue Carter and Paula Sanders will provide the analysis.
MSU won a pair of games last week to improve to 4-0 on the season.
The Spartans opened the week with a 74-52 road win over Detroit on Nov. 24 and wrapped it up with a 74-59 victory over Southern Illinois on Nov. 27.
Illinois State, 2-1 overall, has won back-to-back games after opening the season with a 66-51 loss to Rice. Last week, the Redbirds defeated Northern Illinois (65-64) and San Francisco (66-52).
ISU will host Western Illinois (Nov. 30) before traveling to East Lansing to face the Spartans.
Butler begins the week with a 3-1 record. The Bulldogs posted wins over Arkansas-Little Rock (84-62) and Northern Iowa (74-58) last week en route to winning the UMKC Thanksgiving Classic in Kansas City, Mo.
The Bulldogs will face sixth-ranked Notre Dame (Dec. 1) on the road before hosting the Spartans on Dec. 5.
IN THE POLLS
Michigan State received 18 votes in last week's USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll. The Spartans did not receive any votes in the Associated Press Poll.
Michigan State coach Karen Langeland is in her 24th season at the helm of the Spartan program. A native of Grand Rapids, Langeland has a career coaching mark of 361-278.
Langeland, who is the dean of Big Ten Conference women?s basketball coaches, has guided the Spartans to three postseason appearances in the last four years, including a quarterfinal appearance in the WNIT last season.
Jenny Yopp is in her first year at Illinois State after three years as the head coach at Portland State.
Yopp, who is 2-1 this year, has a career record of 42-40.
Wendy Gatlin is in her first year at Butler after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant coach at Iowa. Gatlin begins the week with a 3-1 career record.
The Spartans have an 11-8 lead in the all-time series with Illinois State. MSU has won five of the last seven games between the two teams and has a 7-2 advantage in games played in East Lansing.
Butler captured a 70-62 victory over MSU last season in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
LAST TIME OUT
MSU and Illinois State faced off in Normal, Ill., on Dec. 5, 1998. The Spartans battled back from an 11-point halftime deficit, but a comeback fell short in a 64-60 loss.
Maxann Reese was the only player to score in double figures for the Spartans with 17 points. As a team, the Spartans shot just 29 percent from the field in the first half and 36 percent for the game.
The graduated Jenny Schmidt led ISU with 31 points.
Butler shot 61 percent from the field and held off a late run by MSU en route to a 70-62 victory in the season opener for both teams last year.
The Bulldogs shot 68 percent from the field in the first half and raced out to a 42-26 halftime lead.
Kristen Rasmussen led three Spartans in double figures with 18 points.
ABOUT THE REDBIRDS
First-year coach Jenny Yopp inherited eight letterwinners and three starters from last season's team that went 8-20 overall and finished ninth in the Missouri Valley Conference with a record of 4-14.
Junior center JoAnna Stuelke (6-3) is the leading returnee for the Redbirds and is averaging 10.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in the first three contests of the year.
Rookie guard Steph Reichle has been a pleasant surprise for ISU, averaging 18.7 points and 7.3 rebounds in her first three collegiate games.
The injury bug has hit the Redbirds early with freshman forward LaShanda Morris out for the season with a knee injury and rookie forward Sharon Blade expected to be out of the lineup until mid-December with a foot injury.
ABOUT THE BULLDOGS
First-year coach Wendy Gatlin inherits four starters from last season's 17-11 team that finished third in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.
Four games into the season, all five starters are averaging in double figures for the Bulldogs, who are scoring 79.3 points per game.
Senior guard Alison Edgar leads the scoring attack with a 13.8 points per game average, while junior forward Valerie Burg is contributing 12.3 per game.
CALLIER OUT FOR 3-4 WEEKS
Freshman center Jennifer Callier is expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a stress reaction in her right foot.
Callier played in MSU's first game of the season and tallied 15 points and six rebounds.
The Indianapolis, Ind., native had an MRI early last week that revealed the problem. A stress reaction is similar to a stress fracture, but there isn't a break in the bone.
WIN STREAK BEST SINCE 1996-97
MSU has opened the year with four-straight wins, giving the Spartans their longest winning streak since the 1996-97 campaign.
TOUGH ?D? LEADS TO WINS
MSU has held three of its first four opponents to less than 70 points. Alabama scored 72 in a one-point loss to the Spartans.
The Spartans have won 13-straight games when holding the opposition to less than 70 points. MSU's last loss was a 62-60 setback to Ohio State on Dec. 30, 1998.
RASMUSSEN APPROACHING REBOUND MILESTONE
Senior Kristen Rasmussen begins the week four rebounds shy of becoming just the sixth player in Spartan history to record 700 boards in a career.
Rasmussen currently ranks sixth all-time with 696 boards and is six rebounds shy of moving past Kisha Kelley (701) into fifth place on the chart.
When Rasmussen reaches the 700-rebound club she will become one of just four players in Spartan history to score 1,000 points and pull down 700 rebounds in a career. Kris Emerson (1,590 pts./933 reb.), Mary Kay Itnyre (1,189 pts./821 reb.) and Kisha Kelley (1,668 pts./701 reb.) are the only other players to reach that milestone.
REESE MOVES UP SCORING CHART
Senior guard Maxann Reese tallied 16 points against Southern Illinois on Nov. 27 to move into fifth place on the MSU all-time scoring chart with 1,153 points.
Coach Karen Langeland felt one of the areas that the Spartans needed to improve on this season was rebounding.
If the first four games are any indication, MSU seems to be on the right track.
The Spartans have outrebounded their three opponents, 44.8-36.8. Last year, MSU averaged 38.1 boards per game.
Part of the reason for MSU's higher production is the contributions of its wing players, namely Maxann Reese (4.0 rpg) and Donita Johnson (5.3 rpg).
REESE SOLID AT POINT GUARD
Redshirt freshman Vnemina Reese has picked up where she left off last season at point guard. Reese started the first six games of last year before being sidelined for the season with a knee injury.
In the first four games of the 1999-2000 season, she is averaging 5.5 points and 5.2 assists per game. She has committed just eight turnovers in those four contests.
The Fort Wayne, Ind., native distributed a career-high nine assists in the first game of the year and had seven in last week's win over Southern Illinois.
CUMMINGS STEPS UP PLAY
Junior forward Becky Cummings has taken her game to another level in the first four contests of the year.
The Walled Lake native is averaging 14.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest.
She has been the Spartans' leading scorer three times and the top rebounder twice.
Cummings' aggressiveness inside has sent her to the free throw line an average of 8.2 times per game. Against Southern Illinois, she was 8-for-8 from the free throw line en route to a 16-point night.
Michigan State is averaging almost 20 points per game better than its opponents. The Spartans have scored 80.3 points per contest, compared to their opponents 61.5 per game average.
AT THE BRESLIN CENTER
The Spartans have had a winning record at home 25 times in 27 years of play.
MSU has an all-time record of 213-100 (.680) at home and a mark of 88-42 (.677) in 10 years at the Breslin Center.
The Spartans have a modest five-game winning streak at home dating back to last season. MSU's last home loss came against defending national champion Purdue on Jan. 31, 1999 (80-66).