Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Womens hoops off to Samford

December 8, 2000
MSU senior point guard Christie Pung (22) jumps for the hoop. During a game against Wisconsin-Green Bay at the Breslin Student Events Center on Tuesday, The Spartans defeated the Phoenix 74-60. —

As the snow piles up in East Lansing, warm air will welcome MSU’s women’s basketball team (3-3) today as they travel to Birmingham, Ala. to take on Samford University (2-4) at 7 p.m.

They’ll close off the weekend in Tuscaloosa, as they face unbeaten Alabama University (6-0) on Sunday before returning to East Lansing for finals week. The game will be aired live on ESPN2 at 2:30 p.m. as part of the Big Ten/SEC Challenge.

The team is riding a roller coaster, coming off a surprising loss to Eastern Michigan on Sunday, 66-59 and a pounding of Wisconsin-Green Bay, 74-60, proving they could win without senior forward Becky Cummings.

Cummings injured her left foot by tearing her plantar fascia in the second half of the Eastern game, and is expected to sit out Friday and possibly Sunday.

McCallie said she was pleased with the team’s performance without Cummings in the Wisconsin-Green Bay drubbing.

“We’re in a great situation to play well against many teams, and Becky being out maybe forces the issue,” she said. “The key is using that in a positive way and when she comes back, we’ll work her in.”

Senior center Erin Skelly replaced Cummings in the starting five Tuesday, and said filling the shoes of the team’s leading scorer (14.2 ppg) and rebounder (7.13 rpg) was a team effort.

“I just did what I had to do,” she said. “And kept in mind that you can’t do too much. Everyone on the team gives more.”

After the team’s display of scrappiness in the Wisconson-Green Bay game, McCallie said they are getting closer to the style of play she hopes the team eventually nails.

“What’s been difficult is that we’re not playing forty minutes of basketball,” she said. “We’re not diving for balls, not playing blue-collar and that’s really the thing that’s hard to handle.”

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