MSU Women Host Houston Friday In Opener

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State officially begins the 2012-13 season and the Vic Schaefer era Friday night as the Bulldogs host Houston in a 7 p.m. tip at Humphrey Coliseum.

Tickets for the game are $5 for adults, and admission for kids 18 and under is free.

The game will be broadcast on WNMQ-FM 103.1, and live video and audio streams will be available to HailStateTV subscribers at

"Our kids are excited to be opening the season at home," Schaefer said. "It's a chance for us to teach them on what it takes to defend the home court. Houston is a good team that has 11 new players. They have their point guard returning who is a very good player. They didn't play any exhibition games, so it was difficult to scout them with so many new players. It's really like a blind draw, but you have to do the best you can."

The Bulldogs enter Friday's game looking to build on a 55-49 exhibition win against Shorter a week ago.

Junior Katia May and redshirt sophomore Carnecia Williams paced MSU with 13 points each, and the Bulldog defense forced 26 turnovers as the team rallied from an early deficit.

Shorter trimmed the State lead to one with under five minutes to play, but senior Darriel Gaynor hit a three to extend the lead, and May drained 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

Sophomore Martha Alwal paced Mississippi State with eight rebounds and three blocks against the Lady Hawks. Alwal, one of two returning starters along with fellow sophomore Kendra Grant, paced MSU with 7.2 rpg and 82 blocks a year ago.

Grant is the team's top-returning threat beyond the arc after she hit a team-best 41 treys last season en route to averaging 7.3 ppg.

Mississippi State and Houston are meeting for the first time at Humphrey Coliseum after the Bulldogs claimed the first meeting in the series, 76-57, in Houston on Nov. 27, 2002.

This year's Houston squad is young, as 10 new faces dot the roster. The Cougars return four letterwinners and three starters from a year ago.

One of those returning starters, Porsche Landry, returns to anchor the point after she suffered a season-ending injury four games into the season.

Landry was a First Team All-Conference USA selection two years ago, and she was averaging 22 points per game prior to her season-ending injury.

The Cougars return two starters on the front line in forward Terran Alford and center Mae Woods. Alford pulled in 5.7 rebounds and scored at a 3.9 clip last season. Woods averaged 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest.

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