Bures garnered all-American accolades at shortstop for the Bulldogs as a rookie last season, hitting .388 (81-for-209) with 38 extra-base hits and 54 RBI. Along the way, the Haymarket, Va., native would also add 27 multiple-hit games, 16 multiple-RBI games, seven game-winning RBI and eight game-winning runs scored. She was decorated with first team all-SEC and freshman all-SEC laurels at year's end, while also becoming the first MSU player to take home SEC Freshman of the Year accolades.
In just her first weekend as a collegian, she tallied a .500 (11-for-22) average with four home runs in six starts at the MSU-hosted Bulldog Round-Robin en route to tournament MVP honors as well as SEC Player of the Week accolades. Her 17 home runs last season shattered a previous MSU freshman record and fell just short of the overall school record (18) set by McMichael as a junior in 2003.
"It's hard to have a better freshman year than Courtney had last year for us," said Mississippi State head coach Jay Miller. "I think she is a tremendous athlete both offensively and defensively and I don't think there's anybody better than her in the country at shortstop. I see her being a real anchor for us in both of those areas as she continues to mature and get better."
Mississippi State will open its 2006 season, Feb. 10-12, when the Maroon and White travels to Tampa, Fla., for the USF-hosted Best Western Invitational. State will battle both Western Kentucky and Jacksonville on February 10, before taking on the host-Bulls on the afternoon of February 11. Semifinals of the four-team tournament is set for later in the evening with the consolation and championship games of the tournament slated for February 12 at 10 a.m. ET and 12:30 p.m., respectively.
The Bulldogs return 13 letterwinners, including six position starters and four pitchers, off of last season's 35-31 ball club that advanced to its fourth consecutive NCAA Regional appearance. State was recently picked to finish fourth in the SEC West in a preseason poll of the league's coaches and is receiving votes in the preseason NFCA/USA Today Top 25.