Dec. 11, 2000
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Tip-Off Michigan State will break for final exams this week before returning to action on Sunday (Dec. 17) at Dayton. The Spartans had a hectic schedule last week with four games in eight days (Dec. 3-10).
About Michigan State Looking To Get Back On Track -- The Spartans have won four of their last six games. MSU won two straight games (Wisconsin-Green Bay and Samford) before falling at Alabama Dec. 10. MSU has two nonconference games remaining -- at Dayton Dec. 17 and vs. Central Michigan Dec. 20 -- before kicking off the Big Ten schedule at Indiana on Dec. 31.
Cummings Looks To Return -- Senior forward Becky Cummings is listed as questionable for this week's action. She missed both the Wisconsin-Green Bay and Samford games with a torn plantar fascia. She attempted to play at Alabama, but was unable to go. She suffered the injury in the first half of the Eastern Michigan game (Dec. 3). Cummings leads the Spartans in scoring (85 points/12.1 ppg) and field-goal percentage (.636, 35-of-55) and is second in rebounds (45 boards/6.4 rpg) 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).
On the Boards -- MSU has outrebounded its opponent in each of the first eight games. The Spartans finished with a 54-to-32 edge on the boards at Samford (12/8), including a 20-to-11 advantage on the offensive glass. Against Alabama, MSU had a slim 43-to-38 edge. For the season, MSU holds a 42.6 to 31.1 advantage on the boards, a difference of +11.5 rebounds per game. The Spartans lead the Big Ten in rebound margin.
On The Road -- MSU is 2-3 on the road this season with wins over Chicago State and Samford. In the two wins, MSU averaged 82.0 points while allowing just 43.5 points. On the other hand in the three losses, MSU averaged just 49.3 points, 17.3 points below their season scoring average (66.6 ppg). MSU's opponents averaged just 56.7 points in the three wins.
If This Week Seems Slow, Then You Must Know -- MSU plays just one game this week (Dec. 17 at Dayton) after playing four games in eight days last week. The Spartans, who have final exams this week, will close out the nonconference schedule entertaining Central Michigan on Dec. 20.
Happy Trails -- Michigan State has made two southern trips this season. MSU played a pair of games in Tallahassee at the Tallahassee Democrat Seminole Classic and a pair of games in Alabama (Birmingham and Tuscaloosa) last week. MSU's other road trip to date seems much closer ... 1 1/2 hours up the road in Grand Rapids when the Spartans faced Eastern Michigan at the College Women's Basketball Showcase.
This Week's Opponent
Dayton (4-4 overall) The Coach - Jaci Clark is in her third year at Dayton and ninth overall. Dayton finished with a 15-15 mark last year, advancing to the WNIT First Round.
Season Update - The Flyers enter the game with a 4-4 mark, but are just 1-2 at home this in 2000-01. Dayton beat Marquette at UD Arena, 62-57, on Dec. 5 and lost to Arkansas, 80-77, on Dec. 7.
Ones To Watch - Sophomores Cyndi Stull and Stefanie Miller pace the Flyers attack. Forward Stull leads the team in scoring (11.6 ppg) and rebounding (9.3 rpg). Stull is also shooting 53.8 percent from the floor. Guard Miller is averaging 8.9 points and leads the team in assists (28) and steals (19).
All-Time Series -- MSU leads the all-time series with Dayton, 5-1. Last Meeting -- Michigan State outscored the Flyers, 50-35 in the second half, as the Spartans posted an 83-68 victory at the Breslin Center on Dec. 17, 1999. Maxann Reese added 24 points for the Spartans, while Becky Cummings has 22 points and 11 rebounds. Christi Hester added 24 points for the Flyers.
Last Week For MSU
Spartans Split in Alabama -- MSU turned in a solid team performance in handing Samford a 63-35 defeat Friday night in Birmingham. The Spartans held Samford to 23.2 percent (13-of-56) shooting from the floor and converted 21 Bulldog turnovers into 18 points. Jennifer Callier and Vnemina Reese led the Spartans with 13 points apiece. On Sunday (Dec. 10) before an espn2 audience, MSU dropped a one-point decision to Alabama, 54-53, in Tuscaloosa. The Spartans, who trailed by as many as 12 in the second half, cut the deficit to one (54-53) on a pair of free throws by Julie Pagel. A last second shot by Reese fell just short and the Crimson Tide escaped with the win. MSU began the week with a 74-60 victory over Wisconsin-Green Bay on Dec. 5. The Spartans opened the game on a 23-4 run and never looked back in recording the victory. Vnemina Reese led all players with 18 points, while Donita Johnson recorded 15.
More Spartan Notes
Upcoming -- Michigan State closes off its nonconference schedule entertaining Central Michigan on Wed., Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. The Spartans will break for the Christmas holiday before opening Big Ten play at Indiana on Dec. 31.
Pagel On Fire -- Freshman forward Julie Pagel continues to impress down low with the absence of injured Becky Cummings. The Utica, Mich., native posted her first career double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds at Alabama (12/10) while playing a career-high 35 minutes. Pagel just missed a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds at Samford (12/8). She also blocked two shots and had one steal in 18 minutes. Against Wisconsin-Green Bay (12/5), Pagel had eight points, 13 rebounds and seven steals in 32 minutes, coming close to a triple-double. Through the first nine games, Pagel is averaging 7.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.0 steals. The 9.2 boards and 2.0 steals lead the squad.
Pagel's On Fire -- Freshman forward Julie Pagel has emerged as a serious threat for the Spartans with Becky Cummings out of the line up due to injury. In the last three games, Pagel has averaged 10 points, 13 rebounds and 2.7 steals. Entering the UWGB game (12/5), Pagel was averaging just 6.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals.
Back-to-Back-to-Back Double-Figure Scoring -- Sophomore point guard Vnemina Reese has posted three consecutive games in double-figure scoring. Reese closed the week with a team-best 16 points at Alabama (12/10). She began the week with a career night against UWGB (12/5), hitting for a career-best 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor. She posted her second straight game in double figures with a 13-point effort at Samford (12/8).
Reese II -- Vnemina Reese is second on the squad in scoring (11.2 ppg) through the first nine games. Reese also leads the team in assists (36) and ranks second in steals (16).
Getting Defensive -- MSU leads the Big Ten in field goal percent defense at 33.4 percent. The Spartans held Samford to 23.2 percent (13-of-56) from the field. It marked the second time this season that the Spartans have held an opponent to under 25 percent shooting. In the season opener against Arkansas State, ASU shot just 23.1 percent (12-of-52) from the field. Alabama shot just 32.2 percent (19-of-59) from the field, including 22.6 percent (7-of-31) in the first half. The Spartans also had six blocked shots and five steals against the Crimson Tide.
From The Charity Stripe -- Michigan State shot a season-best 70.6 percent (12-of-17) from the free throw line against Alabama. Julie Pagel led the way with a 7-of-9 (.778) effort.
Still Struggling From The Line -- Michigan State has converted on just 59.9 percent of its free throws (121-of-202) -- 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. Abby Salscheider is second at 73.7 percent (14-of-19).
Block That Shot -- Senior center Erin Skelly enters the Dayton game with 78 career blocked shots. She tallied eight blocks last week with a season-high four vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay (12/5), two more at Samford (12/8) and at Alabama (12/10). The 78 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.
Off The Bench -- Sophomore center Jennifer Callier hit for a season-high 13 points off the bench at Samford (12/8). Callier also grabbed six rebounds, including five on the offensive glass and had one block in 20 minutes. Callier is averaging 5.3 points and 3.0 rebounds through the first nine games.
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 questionable with a torn plantar fascia suffered in the first half against Eastern Michigan (12/3).
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 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) and over the internet at www.msuspartans.com.