Women's Hoops Faces Tough Test Against North Carolina
Spartans to play three-straight road games.
Dec. 18, 1999
East Lansing, Mich. -
Michigan State (8-1) vs. North Carolina (7-2)
Sunday, Dec. 19 * 3:30 p.m. * Myrtle Beach, SC
Michigan State vs. Ohio
Tuesday, Dec. 21 * 7 p.m. * Athens, Ohio
Michigan State continues its stretch of three games in five days with a contest against North Carolina this weekend in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The Spartans, who will play three-straight on the road, will face the Tar Heels at Lambo Arena on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 3:30 p.m.
The game follows a matchup between Penn State and Clemson.
On the return trip to East Lansing, the Spartans will stop in Athens, Ohio to play Ohio on Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.
The contest against the Bobcats is MSU's final non-conference game of the season. After taking a brief break for Christmas, the Spartans open Big Ten play at Michigan on Dec. 30.
Sunday's game with North Carolina will be carried live on WJIM Radio (1240 AM), while Tuesday?s contest will be aired on WVFN Radio (730 AM).
Mike Vander Woude is the voice of Spartan women's basketball with former Spartan great Paula Sanders providing the analysis.
Broadcasts of all Spartan games this season can also be accessed on the internet at www.msuspartans.com.
MSU improved to 8-1 following an 83-68 home win over Dayton on Friday night at the Breslin Center. The Spartans' only loss of the season was an 84-54 road loss to sixth-ranked Notre Dame on Dec. 11.
North Carolina will bring a 7-2 mark into its game with the Spartans. The Tar Heels have won three straight since suffering a 99-86 loss to Notre Dame on Dec. 4.
Ohio is 3-5 overall after defeating Elon, 74-65, on Dec. 17. The Bobcats will host Charleston on Dec. 18 before facing the Spartans.
IN THE POLLS
Michigan State received 4 votes in this week's USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll.
North Carolina is ranked 11th in this week's USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll and 10th 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 365-279.
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.
Sylvia Hatchell is in her 14th season at North Carolina and in her 25th collegiate campaign overall. Hatchell has a record of 276-135 with the Tar Heels and a career mark of 548-215.
Lynn Bria is in her first year at Ohio after spending the previous three years at Central Florida. Heading into the game with Charleston, Bria has a six-year coaching record of 79-95.
North Carolina and MSU have met just twice with the Tar Heels coming out on top on each occasion.
The last meeting between the two schools came in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 1997 in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels captured an 81-71 overtime decision in what is still one of the most devasting losses in Spartan history.
MSU led by as many as 10 points in the second half and held a 63-60 advantage with five seconds left. Following a timeout by UNC, Chanel Wright hit a desperation three-pointer as time expired to send the game into overtime.
The Tar Heels rode the wave of emotion into the extra session and went on to capture the win and advance to the NCAA Sweet 16.
MSU holds a 2-1 advantage in its series with Ohio. The Spartans collected a 79-67 victory last season in East Lansing. Tuesday?s game will be MSU's first trip to Athens since 1985 when the Bobcats captured an 83-66 victory.
Last season, Becky Cummings scored a career-high 21 points to lift the Spartans to the victory. MSU dominated the glass in that contest, outrebounding the Bobcats, 51-21. Maxann Reese added 22 points, while Kristen Rasmussen collected a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
ABOUT THE TAR HEELS
North Carolina has three starters back in the fold from last season's team that posted a 28-8 record and advanced to the NCAA Regional Semifinals.
Junior forward LaQuanda Barksdale leads the high powered Tar Heel attack with a 21.8 points per game average. She also contributes a team-high 9.3 boards per game. Junior guard Nikki Teasley is averaging 13.7 points and 5.7 assists per game.
As a team, UNC is averaging 80.0 points per game and holding its opponents to a 68.0 per game average.
MSU LOOKING FOR NINTH NON-CONFERENCE VICTORY
Michigan State is looking for its ninth non-conference win of the season. The last time the Spartans collected nine non-league wins was in 1981-82, the first year of sanctioned Big Ten play.
START BEST EVER FOR SPARTANS
Michigan State posted a 7-0 mark before suffering its first loss of the season, the best start in school history.
The previous record was the 6-0 record the 1983-84 squad posted to open the campaign en route to an 18-10 record.
CALLIER RETURNS TO THE LINEUP
Freshman center Jennifer Callier, who had been sidelined with a stress reaction in her right foot, returned to the lineup on Friday for the first time since the opening game of the season. Callier played just nine minutes, scoring two points and grabbing one rebound.
The 6-4 rookie had an impressive debut in her first collegiate game, scoring 15 points and pulling down six rebounds in the first contest of the year.
DAVIS OUT FOR TWO WEEKS
Junior Nikki Davis, who was sidelined all but seven games last season with a knee injury, underwent arthroscopic surgery on the same knee on Wednesday, Dec. 15. Davis will likely miss two weeks of action.
SPARTANS WIN EIGHTH STRAIGHT AT THE BRESLIN CENTER
The Spartans collected their eighth straight home victory with an 83-68 win over Dayton on Friday night.
MSU's last home loss came against defending national champion Purdue on Jan. 31, 1999 (80-66). The Spartans have a record of 91-42 (.684) in 10 years at the Breslin Center.
WINLESS STREAK AGAINST TOP 25 TEAMS REMAINS
MSU's loss to Notre Dame on Dec. 11 was the 12th straight against a Top 25 team. The Spartans are looking for their first win over a nationally ranked opponent since 1997.
MSU is winless in its last 12 contests against Top 25 teams. The Spartans' last win over a ranked opponent came on March 14, 1997 when it topped No. 25 Portland in overtime in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
THE SEASON OF GIVING
Junior Donita Johnson and redshirt freshman Vnemina Reese each collected 10 assists in the win over Dayton on Dec. 17, the first time in school history that two players reached double-digit assists in the same game.
Johnson's 10 dishes are a season-high and marks the second time in her career that she has reached double-digit assists.
Reese's 10 assists are a career high.
As a team, the Spartans dished out a season-high 30 assists against the Flyers.
Senior Kristen Rasmussen and junior Becky Cummings each posted their third double-double of the year in Friday's win over Dayton. Rasmussen scored 17 points and pulled down 15 boards, while Cummings netted 22 points and 11 rebounds.
The Spartans are 3-0 this season when the duo posts a double-double in the same game and 8-2 in the last 10 games when they accomplish that feat.
TOUGH ?D? LEADS TO WINS
MSU has held seven of its first nine opponents to less than 70 points. Alabama scored 72 in a one-point loss to the Spartans, while Notre Dame blitzed MSU for 84 points.
The Spartans have won 17-straight games when holding the opposition to less than 70 points. MSU's last loss against an opponent that tallied less than 70 points was a 62-60 setback to Ohio State on Dec. 30, 1998.
SPARTANS HAVE THE HOT HAND FROM THE FIELD
MSU leads the the Big Ten in field goal percentage with a .473 mark. The Spartans have shot 50 percent or better from the floor four times this year, including a season-high 55 percent in the win over Butler on Dec. 11.
CUMMINGS & RASMUSSEN DOMINATE CHIPPEWAS
Cummings scored a career-high 23 points and tied her season high with 13 boards, while Rasmussen tallied a season-high 22 points and had 17 rebounds.
Michigan State has outrebounded seven opponents this year and is averaging 43.1 boards per game compared to its opponents 37.2 per game average.
Southern Illinois and Notre Dame are the only teams to outboard the Spartans this season. MSU has garnered 50 or more rebounds three times this season, including a season-best 56 against Appalachian State in the first game of the year.
MSU had a season-high 12 blocks in the win over Dayton on Dec. 17. Senior Kristen Rasmussen tied her career high with six rejections. Maxann Reese, Becky Cummings and Erin Skelly contributed two blocks each.
The Spartans are averaging 4.55 blocks per game led by Rasmussen's 2.11 average.
RASMUSSEN WARMING UP
Senior Kristen Rasmussen has started to heat up offensively for the Spartans over the last five games, averaging 17.8 points and 11.2 rebounds during that span.
In the first four games of the year, Rasmussen scored in double figures just once - vs. Alabama.
The 6-4 forward is currently averaging 13.6 points and a Big Ten-best 10.2 rebounds per game. Rasmussen pulled down eight rebounds in the win over Illinois State on Dec. 2 to become just the sixth player in Spartan history to record 700 boards in a career.
Rasmussen currently ranks fifth on the all-time rebound chart with 752 boards.
The Spartan forward is also one of just four players in Spartan history to score 1,000 points and pull down 700 rebounds in a career. Rasmussen, who has scored 1,157 points, joins Kris Emerson (1,590 pts./933 reb.), Mary Kay Itnyre (1,189 pts./821 reb.) and Kisha Kelley (1,668 pts./701 reb.) in the elite group.
MAXANN REESE NOTES
Senior guard Maxann Reese leads the team in scoring with a 16.6 points per game average. The Highland Park native ranks fourth on the all-time scoring chart with 1,242 points.
Reese has scored in double figures in every game this season and has topped the 20-point mark three times. She is also contributing 3.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while playing a team-high 30.7 minutes per contest.
MSU's all-time three-point field goal leader (183) scored a season-high 25 points in the win over Illinois State on Dec. 2.
CUMMINGS NEARS 400 CAREER REBOUNDS
Junior forward Becky Cummings is 3 rebounds shy of becoming the 16th player in Spartan history to record 400 boards in a career. Cummings had 11 boards on Friday to move into 16th place on the all-time chart with 397 rebounds.
The Walled Lake native has started the season strong, averaging 16.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 57 percent from the field.
Cummings has scored 20 or more points three times this season, including a career-high 23 points in the win over Central Michigan on Dec. 8.
She has been the Spartans' leading scorer five times and the top rebounder on three occasions.
POINT COUNTER POINT
The pair combines to average 11.5 assists per game. Johnson is second in the Big Ten with a 5.89 assists per game average, while Reese is fourth with a 5.62 per game mark.
Johnson's versatility has played a key role in MSU's success. She is averaging 5.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
Reese, who started the first six games a year ago before being sidelined with a knee injury, is contributing 3.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.
CALL IN THE RECKER
Freshman Maria Recker has provided MSU with valuable minutes off the bench this season. The Auburn, Ind., native is averaging 17.1 minutes per game and is fifth on the team in scoring with a 5.9 points per game average.
Recker equaled her season high with 10 points in the win over Central Michigan on Dec. 8.