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Spartan Women's Basketball Faces Hectic Week With Three Games In The Next Six Days

Dec. 4, 2000


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Tip-Off Michigan State has a hectic schedule this week as the team will play three games in the next six days. The Spartans face Wisconsin-Green Bay on Tuesday (Dec. 5), at 7 p.m. at the Breslin Center, before traveling to Samford (Dec. 8) and Alabama (Dec. 10). The Alabama game will be shown live on espn2 at 2:30 p.m.

About Michigan State Looking To Rebound -- The Spartans will look to get back on the winning track when they face Wisconsin-Green Bay on Tuesday. MSU had their two-game winning streak snapped on Sunday afternoon when they fell to Eastern Michigan, 66-59.

Key Loss for the Spartans -- MSU will be without the services of senior forward Becky Cummings against both Wisconsin-Green and Samford. She is questionable for Sunday's contest at Alabama. Cummings suffered a tear of her plantar fascia in the first half of Sunday's contest against Eastern Michigan. Prior to her injury, Cummings had 10 points on 4-of-6 (.667) shooting from the field and a 2-for-2 effort from the free throw line. Cummings leads the Spartans in scoring (85 points/14.2 ppg), rebounds (44 boards/7.3 rpg) and field-goal percentage (.636, 35-of-55) this season. An All-Big Ten honoree in 1999-2000, Cummings is averaging 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds for her career. She ranks second all-time in MSU history in field goal percentage (.582, 362-of-622).

New Face Behind the Bench -- For the first time in 24 years, MSU opened the season with a new head coach. Joanne P. McCallie took over the reigns of the Spartan program after being named to the position on March 27, 2000. McCallie arrived at MSU following 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 has 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 1999-2000 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.

Hectic Week For Spartans -- MSU has a hectic schedule this week. Following the Wisconsin-Green Bay game, the team travels to Samford for a Dec. 8 contest and close the week at Alabama Dec. 10. Following the Alabama game, MSU will be off for final exams before returning to action at Dayton Dec. 17.

Road Woes -- MSU continues to struggle on the road. The Spartans are 1-2 on the road this season. MSU has averaged just 47.5 points in the two losses, almost 21 points below their season scoring average (68.2 ppg). The Spartans lone win was an 101-52 victory over Chicago State in the consolation game of the Tallahassee Democrat Seminole Classic on Nov. 26.

This Week's Opponents Wisconsin-Green Bay (3-3 overall) The Coach - Kevin Borseth is in his third season behind the UWBG bench. Borseth has led the Phoenix to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.

Season Recap - UWGB enters Tuesday's game with a 3-3 record. The Phoenix fell to Xavier, 89-74, on Saturday.

Stowe's The One - Ludington, Mich. native Mandy Stowe leads the team in points (15.0 ppg), rebounds (7.2 rpg) and ranks fourth in field-goal percentage (.560). Stowe played at Michigan for two seasons (1997-99), before transferring to UWBG.

All-Time Series -- This is the first-ever meeting between Michigan State and Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Samford (3-3 overall) The Coach - Jane Cone is in her fourth season behind the Samford bench. Samford finished with a 19-10 mark in 1999-2000.

Season Recap - The Bulldogs are 2-4 overall after beating Florida Atlantic, 83-62 on Dec. 2. Samford plays Tennessee-Chattanooga on Dec. 4 before entertaining the Spartans.

Ones To Watch - Two players are averaging in double figures led by senior guard Aimee Cochran at 12.5 points and freshman forward Giovanni Price at 11.7 points. Cochran averages 33.2 minutes per game and is the team leader in assists (24) and steals (13).

All-Time Series -- This is the first-ever meeting between Michigan State and Sanford.

Alabama (6-0 overall) The Coach - Rick Moody is in his 11th year behind the Crimson Tide bench.

Season Update - The Crimson Tide beat Belmont 70-67 on Dec. 2 to run their unbeaten streak to six straight games. Alabama also has posted wins over Samford, Tulane, California, UIC and South Alabama.

Ones To Watch - Five players are averaging in double figures for the Crimson Tide with junior guard Shondra Johnson the team leader at 14.3 points. Johnson also ranks first in assists (42) and steals (20). Senior forward Jodi Crenshaw ranks second in both scoring (12.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg).

All-Time Series -- MSU leads the all-time series with Alabama, 1-0.

Last Meeting -- Then freshman forward Maria Recker grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a short jumper with 0.8 seconds left to give MSU a 73-72 victory over Alabama in the championship game of the Felpausch/MSU Classic on Nov. 20, 1999.

MSU Recap Spartans Split on the Weekend -- Behind a career-high 25 points by senior forward Becky Cummings, Michigan State handed Detroit a 76-63 setback on Thursday evening (Nov. 30) at the Breslin Center. Cummings, who was 10-of-12 from the field, also added 12 rebounds for her 19th career double-double and the first of this season. Erin Skelly came off the bench to match her career high with an 18-point effort, while Maria Recker posted 13 points. Detroit was led by Shari Hill with 20 points. MSU dropped a 66-59 decision to Eastern Michigan at the College Women's Basketball Showcase on Sunday afternoon at Van Andel Arena. The Eagles had a nine-point advantage (62-53) with 2:36 remaining. The Spartans would make one last run, pulling within three (62-59) on a pair of free throws by Pung. However, four straight free throws by EMU's Stephanie Smiley sealed the win for the Eagles, 66-59.

More Spartan Notes Look Mom, I'm On Television Michigan State will make an appearance on espn2 this Sunday (Dec. 10), at 2:30 p.m., when they face Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The game is part of the Big Ten/SEC Challenge. MSU-Alabama tips off the day while Vanderbilt travels to Penn State for the 4:30 p.m. contest, also on espn2.

Don't Turn The Ball Over -- Senior guard Donita Johnson tops the Big Ten in assist/turnover ratio at 2.70. Through the first six games, Johnson has 24 assists (4.0 apg) against just nine turnovers (1.5).

Block That Shot -- Senior center Erin Skelly enters this week's play with 70 career blocked shots, after swatting away two shots against Eastern Michigan on Sunday. The 70 blocked shots place her third on MSU's all-time chart. Kristen Rasmussen (1997-2000) holds the MSU record with 194, while Jackie Carter (1980-83) is second with 90.

Spreading the Minutes Around -- Eight Spartans are averaging at least 19 minutes per contest. Vnemina Reese is the team leader, averaging 28.2 minutes-per-game, while Donita Johnson ranks second at 28.0 mpg.

Double-Figure Scoring -- Senior guard Donita Johnson just missed a career-high against Eastern Michigan. She finished with a season-high 13 points, narrowly missing her career-best of 15. Johnson also added three rebounds, one assist and one steal in 31 minutes. For the season, Johnson is averaging 4.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

Seeing Double -- Becky Cummings posted her 19th career double-double and the first of this season against UDM (11/30). The Walled Lake, Mich. native finished with a career-best 25 points and also added 12 rebounds. Cummings finished the game 10-of-12 (.833) from the field, and added three assists and two blocks in 26 minutes. Cummings had her fifth game of double-figure scoring this season with a 10-point effort against Eastern Michigan.

Sharp Shooter -- Cummings, who shot 83.3 percent from the field against UDM, is shooting 63.6 percent (35-of-55) from the field this season. Cummings set the single-season field goal percentage record in 1999-2000, connecting on 62.1 percent (169-of-272) of her shots. She ranks second all-time in school history in field goal percentage (.582, 362-of-622). Nicole Cushing (1995-97) is MSU's all-time leader (.591, 257-435).

Free Throw Woes Continue -- Michigan State continues to struggle from the free throw line. MSU shot just 52.9 percent (18-of-34) from the free throw line against Detroit. On a positive note, MSU shot a season-best 66.7 percent (12-of-18) from the line against Eastern Michigan. For the season, MSU is shooting just 58.6 percent (82-of-140) from the charity stripe -- a mark which ranks last in the Big Ten statistics. Individually, Maria Recker leads the team in free throw percentage as she has converted on all eight of her attempts.

On the Boards -- MSU has outrebounded its opponent in each of the first six games. The Spartans held a 48-to-41 advantage on the boards against Detroit and finished with a 36-to-30 edge against Eastern Michigan, including a 15-to-7 advantage on the offensive glass. For the season, the Spartans hold a 40.8 to 31.3 advantage on the boards, a difference of +9.5 rebounds per game. The Spartans rank third in the Big Ten in rebound margin.

Czubak's Role -- Junior forward Kelly Czubak hit for a season-high four points against Eastern Michigan. Czubak also recorded one rebound, one assist and one steal in 12 minutes.

(W)Recking Crew -- Sophomore forward Maria Recker continues to step up her game for the Spartans. Recker, who started her third consecutive game against Detroit, added a season-best 13 points in the win. Recker, who missed the preseason while recovering from shoulder surgery, is averaging 6.2 points and 2.2 rebounds.

On The Road -- Three of MSU's next four games are on the road, including trips to Samford (Dec. 8), Alabama (Dec. 10) and Dayton (Dec. 17). The Spartans face Wisconsin-Green Bay this Tuesday (Dec. 5) at the Breslin for their lone home game.

Injury Update -- Senior forward Nikki Davis will miss the entire 2000-01 season due to a knee injury. Freshman forward Anne Peck (fatigue) is out indefinitely. Senior forward Becky Cummings is out with a torn plantar fascia suffered in the first half against Eastern Michigan (12/3).

Upcoming -- Following this week's action, the Spartans will take a break for final exams and return to the court on Dec. 17 at Dayton. MSU wraps up their non-conference schedule, facing Central Michigan on Dec. 20, at 7 p.m., at the Breslin Center.



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