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Women's Basketball Opens Big Ten Play at Indiana

Dec. 26, 2000


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Michigan State opens the Big Ten Conference schedule on the road at Indiana this Sunday (Dec. 31). Tip-off at Assembly Hall is set for 2 p.m. The Spartans finished the non-conference portion of their schedule with a 6-5 mark and have been off since an 81-52 victory over Central Michigan Dec. 20. Indiana enters the week with a 9-2 mark. The Hoosiers travel to Ohio State Dec. 28 before hosting Michigan State Dec. 31.

About Michigan State

In Big Ten Openers -- The Spartans own a 9-10 all-time mark in Big Ten openers since the start of play in 1981-82. MSU is 7-4 at home and 2-6 on the road. MSU has lost three straight Big Ten openers including a 64-61 setback at Michigan in 1999-2000. MSU has faced Indiana twice in Big Ten openers, spliting the games. MSU beat IU 62-54 on Dec. 28, 1996 and lost to IU 81-63 in Bloomington on Dec. 28, 1997.

Getting Defensive -- MSU continues to lead the Big Ten in field goal percent defense at 34.1 percent as opponents have connected on just 195-of-572 shots. That mark also puts State 13th among the NCAA leaders in the field goal percent defense category. MSU hold CMU to just 31.7 percent (19-of-60) shooting on Dec. 20, including a 5-for-20 (.250) performance from the three-point line. MSU also ranks second in the Big Ten and 13th in the nation in scoring defense (55.1 ppg).

Pagel Continues Hot Hand -- 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 five games, Pagel has averaged 10.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.6 steals. Prior to the UWGB game (12/5), Pagel was averaging just 6.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals.

Cummings Looks To Make Return -- Senior forward Becky Cummings is listed as questionable for the IU game with a torn plantar fascia. She suffered the injury in the first half of the Eastern Michigan game (Dec. 3). She has missed four games (Wisconsin-Green Bay, Samford, Dayton & CMU). She attempted to play at Alabama, but was unable to go. Cummings leads the Spartans in scoring (85 points/12.1 ppg) and field-goal percentage (.625, 35-of-56) and is second in rebounds (45 boards/6.4 rpg) this season.

This Week's Opponent

Indiana (9-2 overall)

The Coach - Kathi Bennett (Wisconsin Green Bay 1986) is in her first season at Indiana and her 13th overall as a head coach. She has led the Hoosiers to a 9-2 record in 2000-01, including a 5-0 mark in Assembly Hall. IU faces Ohio State Dec. 28 before playing MSU.

Ones To Watch - Junior center Jill Chapman paces a balanced Hoosiers attack. Chapman is averaging 13.9 points and 7.8 rebounds as well as shooting 58.3 percent (63-of-108) from the field. Junior guard Heather Cassady (9.6 ppg), senior guard Rainey Alting (8.5 ppg) and junior guard Tara Jones (8.1 ppg) round out the top four scorers.

All-Time Series -- MSU leads the all-time series with Indiana, 26-16. MSU has won three straight games, including a 78-56 win over IU in 1999-2000, and seven of the last 10. MSU is 10-9 all-time in games played in Bloomington.

Last Meeting -- Michigan State defeated Indiana, 78-56, at the Breslin Center for its 11th-straight home win on Jan. 13, 2000. MSU had a stellar defensive performance in the first half, holding the Hoosiers to just 27 percent shooting from the floor and forcing 12 turnovers to jump out to a 34-15 halftime advantage. Maxann Reese scored 16 points to lead a balanced scoring attack for the Spartans, while Kristen Rasmussen had 12 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four blocked shots.

Coach P vs. CMU -- This is the first-ever meeting for MSU head coach Joanne P. McCallie with Indiana.

Last Week For MSU

Spartans Rip Central Michigan -- Behind a 15-point, 11-rebound performance by Jennifer Callier, Michigan State posted an 81-52 victory over Central Michigan on Dec. 20 at the Breslin Center. The Spartans, who lead the Big Ten in field goal percent defense, held the Chippewas to just 31.7 percent (19-of-60) shooting from the field and only 25.0 percent (5-of-20) from the three-point line. MSU also converted 19 CMU turnovers into 28 points. Meanwhile, the Spartans shot 53.1 percent (34-of-64) from the field and dished out a season-best 31 assists. The Spartans had four players in double figures led by Jennifer Callier with 15 points. Abby Salscheider and Candice Jackson added 12 points apiece, while Erin Skelly came off the bench to contribute 10.

More Spartan Notes

Upcoming -- Following the Indiana game, MSU returns home to face Ohio State on Thurs., Jan. 4, at 8 p.m., at the Breslin Center. The game will be shown live on Fox Sports Chicago. Ohio State has been one of the surprise teams of the Big Ten this season, posting an 10-0 mark in non-conference action.

Double Trouble -- Sophomore center Jennifer Callier posted her first career double-double vs. Central Michigan (12/20). Callier tied her career high with 15 points and had a career-best 11 rebounds. Callier, making her fourth start of the season, also added one block and two steals in 29 minutes. Callier is averaging 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds while playing in 10 games.

Freshmen Duo -- MSU's freshmen duo of Julie Pagel and Candice Jackson have put together some pretty impressive numbers to date. Forward Pagel leads the team in rebounding (8.6 rpg) and steals (2.5 spg) while ranking third in scoring (8.4 ppg). Guard Jackson is fourth in scoring (7.4 ppg) and tied for third in assists (2.1 apg).

Pagel Gets Defensive -- Julie Pagel continues to lead the Big Ten in defensive rebounds, averaging 6.7 per game. She is third overall in rebounding (8.6) and fifth in steals (2.5 spg).

Back-to-Back Double Figures -- Candice Jackson posted back-to-back games in double figures adding 12 points vs. Central Michigan (12/20) and 10 at Dayton (12/17). The past two games, she was 10-of-17 (.588) from the field while adding nine assists and four steals. In the five games prior to Dayton (11/30 to 12/10), Jackson was just 7-of-19 (.368) from the field for a combined total of 15 points.

Stepping It Up -- Junior forward Abby Salscheider scored a season-best 12 points against Central Michigan (12/20). It was her sixth career double-figure scoring game and the second of this season. After registering just 17 points in the first six games (2.8 ppg), Salscheider has scored 35 points in the last five games (7.0 ppg), including 11 in the win over Wisconsin-Green Bay (12/5). Salscheider is averaging 4.7 points and 1.7 rebounds through the first 11 games.

Don't Turn The Ball Over -- Guards Donita Johnson and Vnemina Reese both rank in the top 10 in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover margin. Johnson is sixth in assist/turnover ratio at 1.64, while Reese is eighth at 1.35. Against CMU, Reese dished out eight assists while committing just one turnover in 29 minutes.

The Shot Blocker -- Senior center Erin Skelly leads MSU with 14 blocked shots this season. That mark ranks tied for fifth in the Big Ten statistics.

The Shot Blocker II -- Skelly continues to inch her way up the MSU career chart for blocked shots. She enters this week with 80 career blocked shots to place 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.

Struggle From The Charity Stripe -- Michigan State has converted on just 60.3 percent (135-of-224) of its attempts from the free throw line. That mark still marks last in the Big Ten statistics, but it is an improvement from earlier in the season when MSU was shooting just 57.4 percent. Individually, Maria Recker leads the team in free throw percentage at 81.8 percent (9-of-11). Abby Salscheider is second at 73.7 percent (14-of-19).

Reese Picks Up Play -- Vnemina Reese has turned in a solid performance over the past five games. Since scoring a career-best 18 points vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay (12/5), Reese is averaging 12.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists. Reese ranks among the Big Ten leaders in scoring (25th/10.6 ppg), assists (8th/4.2 apg), steals (T-11th/2.0 spg) and three-point field goal percentage (1st/.522).

Happy Trails To You -- Michigan State had a hectic preseason travel schedule. MSU made two southern trips, playing a pair of games in Tallahassee at the Tallahassee Democrat Seminole Classic and a pair of games in Alabama (Birmingham and Tuscaloosa). MSU's other two road trips seem much closer ... 1 1/2 hours up the road in Grand Rapids when the Spartans faced Eastern Michigan (12/3) at the College Women's Basketball Showcase and a four-hour bus trip to Dayton (12/17).

On The Boards -- MSU paces the Big Ten in rebound margin. The Spartans hold a 40.9 to 31.5 advantage on the boards, a difference of +9.5 rebounds per game. Against CMU, the Spartans held a 42-to-34 advantage including a 27-to-19 edge on the defensive glass.

On The Road -- MSU is 2-4 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 four losses, MSU averaged just 51.3 points, 15.7 points below their season scoring average (67.0 ppg). On the other hand, MSU's opponents averaged just 57.8 points in the four wins -- only 2.7 points above MSU's opponent season average.

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).



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