Jan. 15, 2002
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Home Sweet Home: The Spartans continue their season-opening homestand when they entertain No. 16 Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. in Jenison Field House.
About Iowa: Iowa was ranked 16th in the preseason coaches poll, but lost its opener at No. 6 Nebraska Sunday, 194.600-193.225, and as a result dropped out of the national rankings, despite scoring their highest point total in an opener ever. Sophomore Stephanie Gran was Iowa's lone individual winner, claiming the vault title with a score of 9.825. The Hawkeyes defeated Michigan State last season in the season opener, which marked just Iowa's second victory against MSU in 18 meetings.
Spartans Start Strong: Michigan State opened the 2002 season with an impressive showing Saturday, Jan. 11, in Jenison Field House. The Spartans, who totalled 194.650 points, finished second out of four teams, defeating No. 21 West Virginia (189.925) and Western Michigan (188.025), while being edged by No. 20 Iowa State (195.175) for the top spot. Junior Christy Linder was the meet's top performer, scoring at least 9.825 on all four events while easily claiming the all-around title with a score of 39.400. Linder won the balance beam with a 9.825, finished second on bars (9.875), tied for second on vault (9.850) and fourth on floor (9.850). Junior Ilene Cohen finished tied for second to Linder on the beam with a 9.750, and tied for fifth on bars with a 9.825. Junior Julie Devaty contributed a 9.800 on the floor exercise, while the Spartans collected 9.775 scores from freshman Lauren Simpson on the vault, freshman Kristin Merritt on the bars, and junior Lindsay Trainham and freshman Jennifer Yarbrough on the floor.
Linder Nears Record: Christy Linder's all-around score of 39.400 in Friday's season opener was tied for the second best all-around score in MSU history. Only Carolyn Hecht scored higher, recording a score of 39.450 vs. Ohio State on March 22, 1996. Melissa Green is the only other Spartan to score 39.400, accomplishing the feat Feb. 19, 2000 vs. Pittsburgh.
Best Ever Opener: Michigan State's point total of 194.650 was easily its best ever in a season-opening meet. The previous best-ever score in an opener was 191.900 by the 1996 squad which went on to finish 27-3.
Rank You Very Much: After the Spartans' strong showing in the season opener, MSU went from being unranked in the preseason coaches poll to a No. 10 national ranking (including a No. 2 regional rank) in the Jan. 14 rankings.
Fresh Faces: Michigan State's freshman class will be crucial to its success in 2002. In Friday's opener, 10 of 24 routines were performed by freshmen. Strangely enough, that was not the highest number of routines performed by a single class, as the junior class preformed 13 routines. The final routine was performed by sophomore Lindsey Voth.
McIntosh Sidelined: Senior Jane McIntosh, one of Michigan State's top returners, was unable to compete at Friday's meet because of lingering effects from off-season shoulder surgery. McIntosh, who competed on the beam at the 2001 NCAA Regional Championships, has been through three shoulder surgeries in her career. McIntosh did compete at the Green & White scrimmage, but her return to competition is on hold for an indefinite period of time.
In Order to Be the Best...: You've got to beat the best. Michigan State will compete against six teams during the regular season that were ranked in the preseason top 25, including Michigan (No. 3), Oregon State (No. 10), Iowa (No. 16), Ohio State (No. 18), Iowa State (No. 20) and West Virginia (No. 21). In addition, Penn State (No. 12) and Minnesota (No. 15) will be teams that MSU will face during the Big Ten championships.
Spartans Shine at Green & White Scrimmage: MSU opened the 2002 season by hosting the Green & White scrimmage Jan. 6 at Jenison Field House. The Green edged the White, 114.850 - 114.450, in the competition in which only the top three scores from each team were added into the team score.
Junior Julie Devaty posted the day's top scores, recording a 9.900 to win the balance beam and a 9.850 to claim the floor exercise title. Junior Christy Linder had the top vault score, posting a 9.800, while freshman Jennifer Yarbrough had the team's best score on the uneven bars with a 9.600.
Other top performances included 9.700 scores by freshman Anna Hunsinger on vault, by Linder on the beam and by junior Lindsay Trainham and freshman Lauren Simpson on the floor exercise.