News from MSU Media Relations--February 17

The lastest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...

Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (6-18, 1-10 SEC) will honor their four seniors in a pre-game ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 19 when they host Kentucky (18-6, 7-4 SEC) at 2 p.m. in Humphrey Coliseum. State will honor Lady Bulldogs seniors Blessing Chekwa, Chalandra Hilliard, Mamie McKinney and Doceide Warren, as well as head student manager Jason Russum, who will be playing in their last home game for the Maroon and White.

State dropped its ninth straight game this past Sunday to Alabama, 61-59. This marked the fourth league game that MSU lost in the last five minutes of play. Despite MSU leading the entire game, Alabama came back to tie the game three times before taking a two-point lead at the 1:50 mark of the second half for the eventual win. This is State's worst losing streak since the 1994-95 season when MSU lost nine conference games in a row from Jan. 14 - March 3, 1995. Senior forward Mamie McKinney, freshman forward Lauren Roberts and senior guard Doceide Warren scored 12 points apiece. Warren¹s 12 points were a season-high, while Roberts tallied a double-digit scoring total for only the third time this season.

MSU leads the overall series with Kentucky, 15-14. State has won the last five straight meetings and the last five encounters in Starkville, including the 71-55 win Feb. 20, 2005 in Lexington, Ky. Most recently the Lady Bulldogs have won 10 out of the last 11 games vs. the Wildcats.

Kentucky has won the last three conference games, two by narrow margins. The Wildcats most recently defeated Ole Miss (65-61), Arkansas (79-50) and South Carolina (75-71). UK boasts a 4-1 road SEC record this season. Four Wildcats are averaging double digit points: sophomore guard Samantha Mahoney is leading the pack with 11.7 ppg, followed by junior guard Jenny Pfeiffer with 11.0 ppg, sophomore center Sarah Elliott with 10.4 ppg and freshman point guard Carly Ormerod with 10.1 ppg.

All Junior Bulldog Club members are invited to a post-game autograph session and pizza party with the Lady Bulldogs after the Kentucky game. As always, JBC members are admitted FREE to all MSU Women's Basketball games.

State will conclude the 2005-06 regular season with two road games at South Carolina on Feb. 23 and at LSU on Feb. 26 before the 2006 SEC Women¹s Basketball Tournament commences March 2 in North Little Rock, Ark.

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. --Mississippi State battled back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat #64 South Alabama 4-2 in frigid weather conditions on Friday afternoon at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. Singles matches were played first due to threatening weather conditions in the area. After the match was clinched, doubles play was not played.

The Bulldogs jumped on the board first at the #3 position when sophomore Philippe Frayssinoux topped South Alabama¹s Dias Doskareyev 6-4, 6-0. The Jaguars didn't waste any time taking over the lead. South Alabama's Mark Gellard took out State's Ryan Farlow 6-1, 6-2 at the #6 position to even the match 1-1. Jaguar Monte Tucker followed with a 6-4, 6-4 win at the #2 spot over Bulldog senior Jose-Carlos Pinto giving USA the 2-1 advantage.

After MSU senior Florent Girod won the first set 6-3 at the #5 position, USA's Robert Hodel fought back and won the second set 6-3, forcing a third set. Girod gained control of the set early by breaking Hodel's serve in the first game and held on to win the set 6-2 evening the team score at 2-2.

While the score was even, the Bulldogs lost the first set in both remaining matches. At #4, Bulldog Pierre Mouillon lost the first set 6-2 to USA's Marek Sramek and at #1, MSU's Ivan Bjelica fell 6-4 to South Alabama's Jack Baker. The Bulldogs fate looked dim in both matches until momentum switched in the second set of both matches. Mouillon fought back to evened his match, winning the second set 6-4 and held on in the third 6-3 to give State a 3-2 lead in the match. The attention then switched to the #1 position. Bjelica evened his match with a second set tiebreaker win. With the match in the balances, Bjelica proved too much for Baker, taking the third set 7-5 to clinch the win for the Bulldogs.

With the win, State improved to 2-1 on the season while South Alabama fell to 5-1. State now leads the overall series with South Alabama 11-6 and have won three in a row over the Jaguars.

"I am proud with the effort from our guys today," said MSU head coach Sylvain Guichard. "South Alabama is a dangerous team and are better than their ranking indicates. We battled hard, showed some toughness and were able to come back and get the win."

State will not be back in action until March 3 when the Bulldogs open Southeastern Conference play on the road at #10 South Carolina. State will then battle top-ranked Florida on March 5 in Gainesville, Fla.

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