STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State hopes to make Sunday's regular-season finale memorable for its six seniors and head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis as the Lady Bulldogs try to knock off 10th-ranked Kentucky in a 12:30 p.m. tip at Humphrey Coliseum.
The contest will be televised by ESPNU, and it will be one of the network's Campus Connection games with a number of Mississippi State students assisting on the broadcast. Sunday's game can also be heard on WKBB-FM 100.9 & WXWX-FM 96.3. Fans can follow Mississippi State women's hoops during the season on Twitter (www.twitter.com/mstateWBK) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/mstateWBK).
Prior to the contest, Mississippi State will honor senior players Catina Bett, Ashley Brown, Diamber Johnson, Porsha Porter, Danielle Rector and Judith Tabala.
Immediately following the contest, MSU will recognize Fanning-Otis' 17-year career in the Maroon & White.
Fanning-Otis has taken Mississippi State to new heights in women's basketball, guiding the Lady Bulldogs to six NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 berth. Before her arrival, State had never enjoyed a 20-win season, but MSU's all-time wins leader accomplished the feat four times in her 17 seasons in Starkville.
This year's Lady Bulldog squad brings a 14-14 overall record and 4-11 SEC mark into Sunday's contest. MSU has lost three-straight decisions, including a 79-45 setback at Florida on Thursday.
Porter and Johnson pace the Mississippi State offensive attack that will be looking to bounce back from an 88-40 loss at Kentucky on Jan. 8.
Johnson scored 16 points in that contest, but she has struggled getting the shots to drop down the stretch, averaging 6.5 ppg in her last four outings.
The Pontotoc, Miss., native continues to top the Lady Bulldog scoring list with an SEC fourth-best 14.9 average. She also rates fifth in the SEC in assists with 3.9 per contest.
Porter has held the hot hand for MSU of late. She tallied 17 points against Florida, and in her last four contests, the Chicago native is averaging a team-high 14.8 ppg.
Mississippi State faces a Kentucky team that leads the league in steals, but Porter is the top individual when it comes to swiping the basketball. She averages 3.1 steals per game, and she has collected nearly three a game in the last three contests.
Porter hopes to lead MSU to victory after she missed the season's first showdown in Lexington with an illness.
The Lady Wildcats snapped a three-game losing streak Thursday night with a 53-50 win against South Carolina. UK improved to 23-5 overall and 12-3 in the conference while picking up a share of the league title.
In addition to topping the SEC in steals (12.5), Kentucky's potent defense also tops the conference in turnover margin (+11.0). In addition to her solid defense, A'dia Mathies paces UK in scoring with a 15.4 average. Samarie Walker tops the Lady Cats on the boards with 2.7 per game.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State Lady Bulldog tennis (3-3) fell 6-1 in a tough battle to the No. 19 ranked Golden Hurricanes of the University of Tulsa (7-1) Saturday.
Tulsa took an early 1-0 lead over the Lady Bulldogs by clinching the doubles point with victories on all three courts. Bonny Davidson and Samantha Vickers were the first to notch a doubles victory for the Golden Hurricanes, defeating Olesya Tsigvintseva and Naomi Tran 8-2 at the No. 2 position. Anastasia Erofeeva and Ewa Szatkowska followed suit with an 8-4 victory against Khrystyna Pavlyuk and Alexandra Perper on court one. On court three, Roseline Dion and Ekaterina Iakolveva gave a valiant effort to come back and force a tiebreaker, but were ultimately unable to hold off Isaura Enrique and Michelle Farley, falling to the duo 8-7(4).
Tulsa claimed five first sets in singles to set up the win. The Golden Hurricanes were able to secure a quick win on court five as Tulsa's Farley took down Pavlyuk of the Lady Bulldogs 6-1, 6-2. Another Tulsa victory was posted on court one as #71 ranked Erofeeva defeated Iakovleva 6-1, 6-3.
On court three, Tsigvintseva fell 7-5 in the first set against Saztkowska of UT. Tsigvintseva gave a great effort in the second set, quickly going ahead of Saztkowska 3-0 before losing grip of the set and falling 6-3, securing the Tulsa victory.
Alexandra Perper posted the Lady Bulldogs' only victory in the match. Perper rose to 6-0 in singles play this spring following an impressive 6-3, 7-5 upset victory against #68 Samantha Vickers at the No. 2 position.
At the No. 6 spot, Ferancova fell 6-1 in the first set, but battled back to hold a 3-0 lead in the second set. However, Ferancova was unable to secure a victory in the set falling in a tight second set 7-5 to Tulsa's Bonny Davidson.
Tran was the final Bulldog to complete play, going into three sets against Isaura Enrique at the No. 4 position. In the end, Tran could not execute the win and Enrique took the victory 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
Head coach Daryl Greenan hopes that the experience gained in today's match will serve the Bulldogs as they continue through the rest of their spring campaign.
"Today was our first of several matches we will play against top 25 teams. We had our opportunities but didn't capitalize. I hope we do a better job next time after our experience today," Greenan said.
Mississippi State will be back in action Sunday as the Lady Bulldogs take on in-state rival Southern Miss. The match is set to begin at 12 p.m. The match, along with all Lady Bulldog competition, can be followed via twitter at @mstateWT or through live stats found on http://www.hailstate.com/.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - After rain postponed Friday's action at the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic, the 15th-ranked Mississippi State men's tennis squad (7-2) finally hit the courts Saturday, rolling past No. 59 Cornell 4-0 in the first of two Saturday matchups.
With a plethora of matches to be played on Saturday, all duals were designated as play-to-clinch, meaning that the first team to earn four points would win and the match would be suspended. Due to that, the match began with singles play.
Bulldog Malte Stropp, ranked 109th, gave the ‘Dogs the early 1-0 lead as he breezed past Cornell foe Danny Riggs 6-2, 6-0 on court 3.
On court 6 for MSU was sophomore Zach White. With a 6-1 slate in the first set, White took the second in similar fashion and gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead, ousting Jason Luu of CU 6-1, 6-2. Extending the MSU lead to 3-0, 42nd-ranked senior George Coupland cruised past Cornell's Quoc-Daniel Nguyen 6-1, 6-4 in the fifth position.
The match-clincher came in the fourth spot where 83rd-ranked senior Louis Cant squared off with Alex Sidney of Cornell. Quickly downing his Red Bear foe 6-2, 6-1, Cant clinched the match for the Dogs 4-0.
Play was then suspended on courts 1 and 2. In the top spot for State was No. 71 Artem Ilyushin with a suspended score of 6-7(1), 3-1, while James Chaudry led 6-2, 5-2 on court 2.
The Bulldogs are scheduled to face No. 44 Boise State at 1:30 p.m. CT for their second dual match of the day.
Follow @mstateMT on Twitter for live match updates.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - In the second of two matches, Mississippi State's 15th-ranked men's tennis team took a 4-0 decision over #44 Boise State to earn a 2-0 slate on the first day at the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic on Saturday.
Following an easy 4-0 triumph over Cornell earlier in the day, State breezed through the Broncos in the same fashion.
Deciding the match in singles play, 71st-ranked Artem Ilyushin was the first to finish as he quickly ousted No. 34 James Meredith of Boise State 6-3, 6-1 giving MSU the 1-0 lead.
Extending the lead to 2-0 was 83rd-ranked senior Louis Cant. Breezing through BSU's Scott Sears, Cant took a quick two-setter 6-2, 6-1. Also earning his second win of the day was sophomore Malte Stropp, ranked 109th in the recent ITA poll. Battling head-to-head with his Bronco foe, Andy Bettles, Stropp took a 6-4, 6-3 decision at #3 giving the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.
Clinching the match for MSU was sophomore Zach White. Facing Boise State's Filipp Pogostkin, White earned the 6-3, 6-3 victory in the sixth position, his first match-clincher of the season.
Play was suspended on all remaining courts at that point. James Chaudry of MSU had battled back from a 5-3 deficit in the first set to hold a 7-5, 2-2, advantage on court 2. 42nd-ranked George Coupland was battling in the No. 5 spot, trying to earn a split down 6-4, 6-5.
MSU is scheduled to face 23rd-ranked Texas Tech tomorrow at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center. Sunday's match times will be released late Saturday night at the conclusion of all matches. The two best teams remaining by the end of tomorrow's matches will compete in a doubles bout to decide the tournament champion.
Live stats will be provided through www.hailstate.com. Also, follow @mstateMT on Twitter for live updates.