MSU has played the last two outings without the services of senior post-player Jennifer Fambrough, who is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season due to a back ailment. Fambrough, who had started 113 consecutive games over her four-year career prior to her injury, was averaging 12.3 points and six rebounds per game. Lyndi Sippel, a 6-2 sophomore from Rising Fawn, Ga., has been starting in her absence.
The Lady Volunteers (20-3, 9-1) suffered their third setback of the campaign on Tuesday at home versus No. 16 Texas, 69-66. Tennessee leads the SEC with a 9-1 record. Vanderbilt handed UT its only conference loss, 76-59, in Nashville on Feb. 2.
Two-time Kodak All-American LaToya Thomas leads Mississippi State, as well as the SEC, in scoring, pouring in 23.8 points per game. Thomas also leads the squad in rebounding (9.5 rpg) and field-goal percentage (56.4 percent). Thomas has recorded ten double-doubles this season, 30 in her career, and has notched 16, 20-plus point outings already this season.
Freshman guard Tan White is averaging 19.1 points per night, which is third-best in the SEC. She leads MSU in assists (4.3 apg), steals (2.7 spg) and blocks (1.1 bpg) and is second in rebounding, grabbing 7.4 rebounds per contest.
Tennessee is led by veteran guard Kara Lawson, who is chipping in 14.0 points per game. Michelle Snow (13.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Gwen Jackson (10.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) join her in double-figures. Jackson, who suffered a shoulder injury against Georgia Sunday is listed as day-to-day.
Mississippi State and Tennessee are the top two scoring teams in the SEC, with State averaging 77.7 points and UT averaging a conference-best 80.4 points per night. The Lady Bulldogs shoot 45.9 percent from the floor, 37.5 percent from behind the arc, and 72.6 percent from the free-throw line. The Lady Vols are shooting 45.4 percent from the field, 35.6 percent from long-range, and 70.1 percent from the charity stripe.
The Lady Bulldogs are seeking their first win in the series with Tennessee. UT holds an 18-0 mark, which includes three tightly-contested games the past two seasons. In 1999-2000, State led most of the way in both the regular season and the SEC Championship game match-ups, only to lose in the last minute in each game. Last year, Tennessee held off Mississippi State, 66-59, in Knoxville.
The game can be heard on WFCA 107.9-FM with Jim Ellis providing the play-by-play and Bart Gregory providing color commentary.