Lady Bulldogs Host Arkansas Thursday Night

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State seeks its third-straight SEC victory when it hosts Arkansas Thursday in a 7 p.m. tip at Humphrey Coliseum. The SEC matchup will be broadcast live on WKBB-FM 100.9 and WXWX-FM 96.3. Fans can follow Mississippi State women's hoops during the season on Twitter ( and Facebook (

The contest will also be broadcast via live video and audio to HailStateTV subscribers.

State enters the contest 13-6 overall, 3-3 in SEC play following a 62-57 come-from-behind victory against Auburn on Sunday.

Head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis' squad rallied from a 15-point, first-half deficit behind a 27-point effort from senior Diamber Johnson, who reclaimed the SEC scoring lead with a 17.9 clip.

She also passed Daisy Casher for 19th on the school's career scoring list, and moved 48 points shy of 1,000 for her Lady Bulldog tenure.

The Pontotoc, Miss., native has also distributed the basketball to her teammates, ranking fourth in the conference with 4.3 assists per game. One of those players who she has started connecting with is freshman Kendra Grant.

Grant is coming off a career-best 15 points in Sunday's victory. The Richland, Miss., native is scoring at a 7.9 ppg clip this season, but she has stepped up the production in SEC action, averaging 9.0 ppg, including a 12.0 average in home league contests.

Senior Porsha Porter and freshman Martha Alwal key a Mississippi State defense that has been one of the best in the league this season.

The Lady Bulldogs boast the SEC's second-best field goal percentage defense, limiting foes to 34.4-percent shooting this year. State has been outstanding in the second half of the past two games, holding Auburn and Ole Miss to 29.5-percent from the floor.

Porter continues to lead the SEC with 3.4 steals per game, while Alwal tops the conference with 2.8 blocks per game. Alwal, who blocked five shots on Sunday, has also hit the boards hard as of late, averaging 9.0 rebounds over the past three games.

Fanning-Otis' squad meets an Arkansas squad that is 14-5 overall, 3-4 in the SEC, and riding a three-game win streak that includes a road win at LSU last Sunday and an upset of No. 22 Vanderbilt a week ago.

Sarah Watkins earned SEC Player of the Week honors after netting 21 points and tying the school record with six blocked shots against Vanderbilt. She added eight points in Sunday's win in Baton Rouge.

Watkins is averaging a team second-best 10.7 ppg and pulling down 4.5 rebounds per contest. C'eira Ricketts paces Arkansas in both scoring (10.8 ppg) and assists (4.2 apg).

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