Dec. 27, 1999
East Lansing, Mich. -
Michigan State (9-2) at Michigan (8-3)
* Thursday, Dec. 30 * 7 p.m. * Ann Arbor, MI
Ohio State (7-3) at Michigan State
* Sunday, Jan. 2 * 2 p.m. * East Lansing, MI
Michigan State returns from a brief holiday break to begin Big Ten Conference play this week. The Spartans open conference action on Thursday, Dec. 30 at Michigan. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., at Crisler Arena (13,562). The game will be MSU's third straight road contest.
MSU returns to the Breslin Center (15,138) on Sunday, Jan. 2 to host Ohio State in a 2 p.m., tipoff.
Broadcast plans for the game at Michigan will be announced Thursday morning, while Sunday's contest against Ohio State will be carried on WJIM (1240 AM).
Mike Vander Woude is the voice of Spartan women's basketball with former Spartan great Paula Sanders providing the analysis.
Broadcasts of all MSU games can be accessed on the internet at www.msuspartans.com.
Michigan State closed out the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 9-2 record. The Spartans opened the year with seven-straight wins before suffering its first loss of the year. MSU has been idle since an 87-78 road win over Ohio on Dec. 21.
Michigan is 8-3 following an 83-71 win over Central Michigan on Dec. 19. The Wolverines opened the year with a school-record seven straight wins.
The victory over the Chippewas snapped a three-game losing streak.
Ohio State begins the week with a 7-3 record. The Buckeyes, who have been idle since a 75-36 win over Tennessee-Martin on Dec. 20, open conference play on Dec. 30 when they host Illinois. OSU is 5-1 in its last six games.
Michigan State Spartans (9-2 Overall)
|F||52||Kristen Rasmussen, 6-4, Sr., East Lansing||13.5||10.3||1.9 (bpg)|
|F||32||Becky Cummings, 6-3, Jr., Walled Lake||16.3||7.2||1.4|
|G||21||Maxann Reese, 5-9, Sr., Highland Park||16.4||3.2||2.7|
|G||34||Donita Johnson, 5-10, Jr., Clinton Township||5.3||5.1||5.4|
|G||40||Vnemina Reese, 5-7, RFr., Fort Wayne, IN||4.4||3.1||5.0|
|OFF THE BENCH|
|F||23||Maria Recker, 5-10, Fr., Auburn, IN||6.2||1.5||1.1|
|C||45||Erin Skelly, 6-5, Jr., Maple Grove, MN||5.1||4.5||0.7|
|G||22||Christie Pung, 5-5, Jr., Pewamo||3.7||0.8||2.0|
|F||25||Abby Salscheider, 5-11, So., Bluffton, IN||3.3||1.3||0.3|
Michigan State received 4 votes in last week's USA Today/ESPN Top 25 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 366-280.
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.
Sue Guevara is in her fourth year as the head coach at Michigan where she has a school and career coaching record of 60-36.
Guevara was an assistant coach at Michigan State from 1987-96 before being hired by the Wolverines.
Beth Burns is in her third season at Ohio State and in her 11th collegiate campaign overall. Burns begins the week with a record of 39-27 with the Buckeyes and a career ledger of 190-109.
Michigan State holds a 41-10 advantage in its series with Michigan that began in 1973. The Spartans have won two-straight against the Wolverines, including a 69-68 thriller in the second round of the WNIT last season at Crisler Arena.
MSU is 16-6 all-time in games played in Ann Arbor.
The Spartans and Wolverines split last year's regular season series with the Wolverines capturing a 76-75 overtime victory in Ann Arbor and MSU collecting a 70-56 victory in East Lansing.
Ohio State has a 34-13 lead in the series with the Spartans. The Buckeyes have won three-straight over MSU, including a 62-60 victory in East Lansing and an 85-46 blowout in Columbus last season.
The Spartans are 4-14 all-time against the Buckeyes in East Lansing.
ABOUT THE WOLVERINES
Michigan opened the season with a school-record seven wins before suffering through a three-game losing streak.
The Wolverines are paced by senior forward Stacey Thomas, who averages 14.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.8 steals per game.
Sophomore guard Alayne Ingram is the only other player averaging in double figures at 13.2 points per game.
Freshman center LeeAnn Bies has provided solid minutes off the bench, averaging 9.2 points and 6.2 boards per game.
As a team, the Wolverines are averaging 70.3 points per game, while allowing just 64.4 points per contest. The Wolverines also hold a 41.0 to 34.7 advantage on the boards.
Michigan is shooting 42 percent from the field, 36 percent from three-point range and a Big Ten-best 72 percent from the free throw line.
ABOUT THE BUCKEYES
Ohio State used a stingy defense to produce a 7-3 mark during the non-conference season. The Buckeyes held five of its first 10 opponents to less than 50 points and allowed just one team (Georgia) to score more than 70 points (91).
Heading into Thursday's game with Illinois, the Buckeyes are averaging 69.1 points per game, while allowing just 54.7 points per contest.
Senior Michaela Moua paces the Buckeyes with averages of 13.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
SPARTANS WIN NINE NON-CONFERENCE GAMES
MSU went 9-2 in the non-conference season, the first time it has won nine non-league games since 1981-82, the first year of sanctioned Big Ten play.
BIG TEN OPENERS
Michigan State is 9-9 all-time in Big Ten season openers, including a 2-6 mark on the road. The Spartans have lost their last three Big Ten season openers on the road (1997-98, 1994-95, 1993-94).
Last season, the Spartans dropped a 62-60 decision to Ohio State at home in the league opener.
MSU and UM will meet for just the second time ever in a Big Ten opener. The Spartans captured a 68-63 victory on Jan. 4, 1991 in the only other league opener between the two teams.
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.
SPARTANS TAKE EIGHT-GAME HOME WINNING STREAK INTO SUNDAY'S GAME
MSU will take an eight-game home winning streak into Sunday's game against Ohio State.
The Spartans' last home loss came against defending national champion Purdue on Jan. 31, 1999 (80-66).
MSU has a record of 91-42 (.683) in 10 years at the Breslin Center.
Consecutive Home Wins
13 11/30/96 - 11/21/97 12 2/7/77 - 2/25/78 10 3/4/90 - 1/27/91 9 1/13/81 - 1/2/82
SPARTAN OFFENSE LEADS THE BIG TEN
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in scoring offense, averaging 79.3 points per game.
The Spartans have topped the 80-point mark six times this season, already surpassing the number of times (5) it scored more than 80 last year.
MSU has been held to less than 70 points in each of its losses this season, 54 against Notre Dame and 65 in the contest with North Carolina.
RASMUSSEN TOPS IN THE BIG TEN
Senior forward Kristen Rasmussen is leading the Big Ten with a 10.3 rebounds per game average. She is also tops in the league with five double-doubles this season. Rasmussen has totaled 28 in her career.
The East Lansing native has posted a double-double in each of the last three games.
Junior Becky Cummings is tied for fourth in the Big Ten with three double-doubles.
The Spartans are 3-0 this season when Rasmussen and Cummings post 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 opponents to less than 70 points this season and is unbeaten in those contests.
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.
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 assists 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.
The Spartans dished out a season-high 30 assists against the Flyers.
SPARTANS SHOOTING WELL FROM THE FIELD
MSU leads the the Big Ten in field goal percentage with a .467 mark. The Spartans have shot 50 percent or better from the floor four times, including a season-high 55 percent in the win over Butler on Dec. 11.
Michigan State is second in the Big Ten in rebounding with a 43.1 boards per game average. The Spartans have outrebounded eight opponents and is 7-1 in those contests. MSU outrebounded North Carolina, 39-37, but lost to the Tar Heels, 82-65.
MSU has garnered 50 or more rebounds three times this season, including a season-best 56 against Appalachian State on Nov. 19.
RASMUSSEN MOVING UP BIG TEN ALL-TIME CHART FOR BLOCKED SHOTS
Senior forward Kristen Rasmussen has moved into eighth place on the Big Ten all-time chart for blocked shots with 162.
Rasmussen, who is MSU's all-time leader, needs 38 blocks to become one of just six players in conference history to record 200 blocks in a career.
Big Ten Career Blocked Shots Leaders
367 Trish Andrew (UM) 1989-93 269 Quacy Barnes (IU) 1994-98 268 Kim Calhoun (PSU) 1993-96 235 Tangela Smith (IOWA) 1994-98 220 Stacey Lovelace (PU) 1993-96 192 Molly Tadich (MINN) 1983-87) 172 Anucha Browne (NU) 1981-85) 162 Kristen Rasmussen (MSU) 1997-SA
MORE ON RAS
Senior Kristen Rasmussen is averaging 16.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game over the last five games. During that span, she has posted four double-doubles, including the last three straight.
The 6-4 forward is third on the team and 13th in the Big Ten with a 13.5 points per game average. She leads the league with a 10.3 rebounds per game average and ranks among the conference leaders in field goal percentage (.506/6th), steals (2.45 spg/5th) and blocked shots (1.91 bpg/3rd).
Rasmussen ranks sixth on the MSU all-time scoring chart with 1,184 points. She heads into the Michigan contest needing just six points to move into the fifth spot on the list.
The East Lansing native stands fifth on the all-time rebounding chart with 773 boards. She is 27 rebounds shy of becoming just the fifth player in Spartan history to record 800 boards in a career.
The Spartan forward is one of just four players in Spartan history to score 1,000 points and pull down 700 rebounds in a career. Rasmussen is in the elite group with Kris Emerson (1,590 pts./933 reb.), Mary Kay Itnyre (1,189 pts./821 reb.) and Kisha Kelley (1,668 pts./701 reb.).
MAXANN REESE AMONG TOP FIVE IN LEAGUE IN SCORING
Senior guard Maxann Reese leads the team and is fifth in the Big Ten with a 16.4 points per game average.
A First-Team All-Big Ten selection last year, Reese stands fourth on the MSU all-time scoring chart with 1,273 points.
The Highland Park native has scored in double figures in every game this season and is also contributing 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
The Spartan co-captain is MSU's all-time leader in three-point field goals with 185, a number that ranks her among the top seven in Big Ten history.
Reese has topped the 20-point mark three times this season, including a season-high 25 points in the win over Illinois State on Dec. 2.
Junior forward Becky Cummings continues to play well for the Spartans this season.
The Walled Lake native is second on the team and sixth in the Big Ten with a 16.3 points per game average.
Cummings also ranks among the Big Ten leaders in rebounds (7.2 rpg/10th) and field goal percentage (.609/3rd).
She has scored 20 or more points in four games this season, including three times in the last five contests, and has posted three double-doubles.
Cummings has moved into 16th place on the MSU all-time chart with 411 rebounds and is eight points shy of moving into 26th on the all-time scoring chart. Cummings currently has scored 654 points in her career.
The pair combines to average 10.4 assists per game. Johnson is second in the Big Ten with a 5.36 assists per game average, while Reese is third with a 5.00 per game mark.
Reese, who started the first six games a year ago before being sidelined with a knee injury, is contributing 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.
The Fort Wayne, Ind., native distributed a career-high 10 assists in the win over Dayton on Dec. 17.
JOHNSON UNDER CONTROL
Junior Donita Johnson has dished out 16 assists and committed just one turnover in her last three games.
In MSU's win over Dayton on Dec. 17, she handed out a season-high 10 assists and didn't commit a turnover, while she had six assists and no turnovers in the contest with North Carolina.
Johnson's versatility has played a key role in MSU?s success. She is averaging 5.3 points and 5.1 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 16.5 minutes per game and is fourth on the team in scoring with a 6.2 points per game average.
Recker has scored in double figures three times this season, including a career-high 15-point effort against Ohio on Dec. 21.
Junior center Erin Skelly had her best game of the season in MSU's win over Ohio on Dec. 21. The 6-5 center scored a season-high 12 points, on 5-of-5 shooting from the field, and pulled down a career-high eight rebounds.
Skelly is averaging 5.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game this season, both career highs.
CALLIER RETURNS TO THE LINEUP
Freshman center Jennifer Callier, who has been sidelined with a stress reaction in her right foot, returned to the lineup on Dec. 17 for the first time since the opening game of the season.
DAVIS RECOVERING FROM SURGERY
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 be back in practice this week and could be available for limited action against Michigan.
WINLESS STREAK AGAINST TOP 25 TEAMS REMAINS
MSU's loss to Notre Dame on Saturday 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.
WINNING STREAK TOPS SINCE 1996-97
MSU's seven-game winning streak to start the season is the longest since the 1996-97 season, the year it won the Big Ten. The seven straight victories tie for the third longest winning streak in program history.
The Spartans got an early start on their 1999-2000 season with a 10-day trip to British Columbia, Canada in August.
MSU practiced for 10 days prior to departing for Canada and posted a 5-0 record during its tour.
The Big Ten coaches picked MSU to tie with Michigan for fifth place in the league in a preseason poll released at the conference media day on Oct. 31.
Penn State is the favorite to win the league crown followed by Illinois, Wisconsin and Purdue.