LADY BULLDOGS HOST MSU CLASSIC

STARKVILLE, Miss. --- The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs will host Jacksonville State (1-5) in the first round of the MSU Classic at 3 p.m., Saturday at Humphrey Coliseum. State (5-2) will meet JSU following the other first-round contest of the day, between Montana (5-1) and Houston (6-1), set to tip off at 1 p.m.

The Lady Bulldogs ended a two-game road swing last week by pounding New Orleans, 100-52, following its second setback of the year at Alabama-Birmingham. JSU has lost five-straight following a season-opening victory over South Alabama.

Junior forward LaToya Thomas continues to lead Mississippi State in scoring and rebounding, averaging 23 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. The two-time Kodak all-American broke the MSU scoring record 13 minutes into the 68th game of her career. She currently has 1,585 points through 70 games as a Lady Bulldog.

Freshman guard Tan White is currently second on the squad in scoring (16.4 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg) and leads the squad in assists (32), steals (20), blocks (12) and three-pointers (9). The duo has combined for just under 50 percent of State's scoring (39.4 ppg) and 40 percent of MSU's rebounding (15.5 rpg) so far this season.

The Lady Gamecocks are led by two players in double-figures. Shanika Freeman is averaging 12.3 points per contest while Amanda Tyus is pouring in 10 points per game.

State is averaging 83 points per game while holding its opponents to 68 points per contest. MSU is shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 43.6 percent from three-point range (51-of-117). The Lady Bulldogs have been impressive at the charity stripe, nailing 75 percent of its free-throw attempts (104-of-139). JSU is averaging nearly 60 points per game, while giving up 72 points per outing.

Mississippi State and Jacksonville State will meet for just the second time in school history. State won the other meeting, 107-44, in 1995. MSU will look to improve a 61-23 (.723) home mark under Sharon Fanning. The Lady Bulldogs have won four of the last five MSU Classics, dating back to the 1996-97 season.

Montana and Houston have never met. Montana has won three-straight games, including a 75-51 win at Washington State. Houston's only loss this season was to No. 12 Colorado.

The two losers will meet in the consolation game at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The winners will play for the championship at 3 p.m.


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