STARKVILLE, Miss. - After a 7-day layoff, the Mississippi State women's basketball team returns to the court Saturday as they play host to Utah at the Humphrey Coliseum. Tip time is set for 4 p.m. and will be followed by the Mississippi State men's game at 7 p.m.
Through its first six games, Mississippi State continues to lead all Southeastern Conference teams in scoring defense, allowing opponents to score just 53.0 points a game. The Lady Bulldogs also lead the league in field goal percentage defense as opponents are shooting just 33 percent from the field. Offensively, State is scoring 64.3 points a game and is shooting 42.2 percent from the field.
Senior Mary Kathryn Govero continues to rank among the league leaders in scoring, averaging 14.5 points a game which ranks seventh. Junior guard Diamber Johnson is averaging 12.7 points a game after a 14-point performance against North Texas last week. Junior Ashley Brown currently leads Mississippi State in rebounding and is fourth in the SEC with 11.2 rebounds a game. Brown is first in the league in offensive rebounds, averaging 6.3 a game. The Chicago, Ill.,-native had a career high 17 points and matched a career high with 15 rebounds against North Texas.
The Utah Utes, who enter Saturday's game with a 4-6 record, are coming off a heartbreaking 71-68 overtime loss to Idaho State on Wednesday. Utah has lost four of its last five games. The Utes are led in scoring by junior guard Janita Badon who is scoring 12.2 points a game. Sophomore guard Iwalani Rodrigues is scoring 11.9 points a game while Michelle Plouffe and Taryn Wicijowski are averaging 10.9 and 10.7 points a game respectively. Anthony Levrets is currently serving as the interim head coach.
Mississippi State and Utah have met just twice dating back to 2002. Utah defeated MSU 69-65 before State evened the series with a 63-51 win over the Utes in Salt Lake City in 2008. Mississippi State is 3-5 all time against teams currently in the Mountain West conference. State is 1-1 against New Mexico, 0-2 against UNLV, 1-1 against TCU and 1-1 against Utah.