Lady Bulldog Tan White, a Tupelo-native, will be honored before the UT-Martin game with a basketball for reaching 1,000 career points. White met this mark during the Kentucky game last year, Feb. 16, 2003, when she posted 19 points to go to 1,003 career points. White becomes the 14th Lady Bulldog to reach the 1,000-career mark. She currently is in eighth place on MSU's career scoring chart with 1,234.
Tuesday's men's contest against the UNO Privateers will mark the Bulldogs' third basketball appearance in Tupelo, having previously defeated Northwestern State (75-46) and Tennessee-Martin (80-60) at the then-Tupelo Coliseum in 1998-99 and 1997-98, respectively. This marks the first Tupelo appearance for the women.
This week's outing at the BancorpSouth Center also marks the sixth home game away from home within the state of Mississippi during Rick Stansbury's six-year head coaching stint at MSU. The Bulldogs have also previously played in Jackson last year and in 1998-99, while having made back-to-back appearances in Southaven during the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons.
Off to their third start of 7-0 or better during the Stansbury era, the Bulldogs most recently claimed their seventh straight victory of the campaign with an 82-70 home triumph over Xavier this past Saturday night at Humphrey Coliseum. MSU's recently completed four-game homestand also featured victories over UAB (86-84), Louisiana-Monroe (76-52) and McNeese State (92-69) within the past two weeks.
Now slated to play their next five games all away from the friendly confines of Humphrey Coliseum, the Bulldogs will leave Tupelo for California to take on the Santa Clara Broncos this Saturday night (9 p.m. CT) at SCU's Leavey Center. A regionally televised (FOX Sports Net South/Sunshine) contest against the Tulane Green Wave, to be played at the New Orleans Arena on Saturday, Dec. 27 (3:30 p.m.) as part of the Nokia Sugar Bowl Basketball Classic, will draw the curtains on the 2003 calendar year for Mississippi State.
Featuring four different players averaging in double figures for the year, including three standouts all listed within the top 15 of the current SEC individual scoring leaders, the Bulldogs enter the week averaging 82.6 points per contest to rank as the fourth-highest scoring team in the league. The team's shooting accuracy of 49.2 percent from the field presently ranks third among the conference leaders.
On the women's side, State has three players scoring in double digits, junior Tiania Burns with 14.2 ppg, junior Tan White with 13.2 ppg and senior Seneca Anderson is posting 10.3 ppg.
Individually, for the men's team, senior co-captain Timmy Bowers has reclaimed the club's season scoring lead (16.6 ppg; 10th in the SEC) on the heels of his 19-point effort in State's 82-70 home win over Xavier this past weekend. The preseason all-SEC guard opens the week's action just 33 points shy of becoming the 26th member of Mississippi State's elite 1,000-point club. In registering his fifth double-double of the season and 27th of his career with Saturday's 21-point, 11-rebound effort versus Xavier, preseason Wooden Award candidate Lawrence Roberts continues to average a double-double on the year at 16.0 points and 11.3 rebounds (2nd in the SEC) per outing. The Houston native and former Baylor transfer eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career (now 1,006 points in 63 career games) this past weekend against Xavier.
Marking MSU's third of four Sun Belt Conference opponents on the team's 2003-04 schedule, the University of New Orleans owns a 3-1 record on the year after dropping an 89-55 decision at sixth-ranked Texas this past Sunday evening in Austin. Guided by third-year head coach Monte Towe, UNO opened the campaign with home wins over Texas State (77-64) and Samford (62-60), before claiming a come-from-behind 69-66 road win over crosstown rival Tulane on Dec. 3. The Privateers are led in scoring by senior guard Kyle Buggs (14.3 ppg), who capped UNO's second-half comeback victory over Tulane with a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. Freshman guard Bo McCalebb is averaging 14.0 points per game off the bench.
The women's opponent hasn't fared as well. UT-Martin (1-4), whom the Lady Bulldogs have defeated the four times that they have met previously, is off to a slow start this season, suffering three straight losses coming into Tuesday's game. Most recently the Skyhawks have fallen to North Carolina (101-63), Memphis (80-52) and Evansville (66-62). Senior forward Julie Young is the lone Skyhawk in double digits posting 14.8 ppg and also averaging 6.0 rpg. The Skyhawks return four starters from a squad that went 13-16 last year and finished fourth in the Ohio Valley with a 9-7 record. The Lady Bulldogs are 16-0 against Ohio Valley Conference teams.
This season, State's men's team has already knocked off Sun Belt foes South Alabama (71-62 in Starkville) and Western Kentucky (81-75 in Bowling Green) on Nov. 26 and 29, respectively.