News from MSU Media Relations--February 24.

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

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State dropped its third match of the season involving matches that came down to the final match as 29th-rankedSouth Alabama topped 75th-ranked State 4-3 on Friday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

With the match knotted at three apiece, USA's Klara Jarova fought back after losing the first set 6-3 to MSU's Elna de Villiers at the No. 6 position to win the next two sets, 6-1, 6-1 for the match clinching point. With the win, the Lady Jaguars hold a 16-7 advantage over the Lady Bulldogs in tennis action.

USA got a jumpstart on the board with the doubles point, winning at the No. 2 and 3 slots. Jarova and Adrianna Solarova won 8-3 over MSU's tandem of Banikova and de Villiers. The Lady Jaguar pairing of Jelena Kriacevics and Dijana Stanic claimed the point with their win over Renee Joseph and Daniela Juskova 8-4.

The Maroon and White dented the scoreboard with senior Anastasia Kugakolova's straight set 6-4, 6-0 defeat of Kriacevics. After USA pushed its lead out to 3-1, the Lady Bulldogs gained the next two points to even the match. Freshman Martina Banikova battled in three sets to win 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Daniela Juskova followed suit with a three-set battle after dropping the opening set 6-1, she went on to win 6-1, 7-5.

MState will turn its attention to Southeastern Conference competition that begins on Friday, March 3, on the home courts. State will open conference action against 24th-ranked South Carolina and second-ranked Florida on Sunday, March 5. Friday's meeting the USC Gamecocks is slated for a 3 p.m. start.

Women's Track & Field
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Mississippi State University senior Lauren Johnson set an NCAA provisional qualifying mark by scoring 3,700 points in the pentathlon on the opening day of the 2006 Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships. Johnson's ninth-place finish resulted in a personal record for the Scottsboro, Ala. native and the total ranks second on the MSU all-time list in the event.

"Lauren gave a phenomenal effort," said assistant coach Karen Rademeyer, who coaches combined event athletes. "She did so well against some tough competition. She met a provisional mark and didn't even score."

Johnson finished fourth and set personal bests in two events. In the shot put, she threw 36-06 ¼ and leaped 18-09 ¾ in the long jump. In the 55-meter hurdles, Johnson ran 8.12 (8.69, converted to 60-meter hurdle-time), the fourth best time in school history. She closed out the competition with a ninth-place finish in the 800-meter run.

Freshmen Marrissa Harris and Dot Youmans also competed in the event. Harris, who finished 12th, set personal best marks in the overall event (3,450 points), in 60-meter hurdles, 8.74 (time converted from 55-meter, 8.17), shot put (32-05), long jump (18-03 ¾) and 800-meter run. Youmans, who finished 16th overall with a personal record 3,260 points, ran best times in the 60-meter hurdles, 9.92 (time converted from 55-meter, 9.35), shot put (32-07 ½), long jump and 800-meter run.

Women's action resumes tomorrow at 11 a.m. CT at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on the University of Florida campus.

Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (6-20, 1-12 SEC) wrap up the 2005-06 regular season on the road at LSU (24-2, 12-1 SEC) on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. CT televised on Fox Sports Net South. The game will be broadcast on campus radio station WMSV 91.1 FM, due to a conflict with baseball activity on Sunday that will be broadcast on WFCA 107.9 FM.

The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (6-20, 1-12 SEC) dropped its 11th straight decision on Thursday night to South Carolina, 75-47. MSU is now 11-8 vs. South Carolina, losing both games in the series this season. Sophomore guard Miayorka Johnson led the Lady Bulldogs with 14 points while freshman guard/forward Robin Porter tallied 13 and senior forward Mamie McKinney pulled down six rebounds. State shot 73.3 percent from the free throw line going 11-for-15 for the night.

Porter continues to lead the Lady Bulldogs with 10.5 points per game and is tied with McKinney averaging 6.0 rebounds per game. Junior forward/center Natasha Henderson has tallied 27 block shots on the season for second place on the MSU all-time junior season-high block shots list, just two shy of taking over the category.

LSU owns the overall series record vs. MSU, 34-4, including a 17-0 stance in Baton Rouge. The last time that MSU won in the series was Jan. 10, 1995 (72-65) in Starkville. The last time that State beat a ranked LSU team was Feb. 4, 1989 (87-77) in Starkville. The Tigers took the meeting last year on Feb. 6, 2005, 67-40, in Starkville.

LSU has tallied a 14-0 home record thus far this season, with both overall losses coming on the road to Connecticut (51-48) and Florida (79-78) in overtime. The Tigers just clinched their second straight SEC regular season title with the 86-61 win over Alabama. Senior guard Seimone Augustus leads the team and the SEC in scoring with 22.3 points per game, followed by sophomore center Sylvia Fowles with 16.9 ppg and league-leading 11.7 rebounds per game.

The 2006 SEC Tournament will begin Thursday, March 2 at the Alltel Arena in North Little Rock, Ark.

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Closing out their regular-season slate against SEC Eastern Division opposition, the Bulldogs of Mississippi State (13-13, 3-10) play host to the Georgia Bulldogs (15-11, 5-8) Saturday afternoon on the MSU campus. Tip-off time for the 95th series renewal of this inter-divisional "Battle of the Basketball Bulldogs" is set for 4 p.m. CT at MSU's Humphrey Coliseum. The contest can be heard on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (Channel 126) via Mississippi State's radio broadcast.

Continuing the league's week-long SEC Throwback Week celebration, all conference teams will be sporting retro-style uniforms from previous eras again this weekend. All SEC schools will also don the throwback uniforms during this year's SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, March 9-12, in Nashville.

Winless in five previous attempts versus SEC Eastern Division opponents this season, coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs are 13-13 overall and 3-10 in league play after dropping a 75-71 road decision to the Auburn Tigers this past Wednesday on the Plains. Since the SEC went to divisional play in 1991-92, State has never had a winless season versus the SEC East. With a 9-5 home record on the season after claiming recent home triumphs over Western Division foes Mississippi (84-55) and Auburn (71-53), MSU is bidding to produce an eighth straight season with double-digit home wins under Stansbury's guidance. State is 92-22 overall at home and 45-17 in SEC home games during the Stansbury era.

SEC Freshman of the Year candidate Jamont Gordon and all-SEC hopeful Charles Rhodes are leading the Bulldogs offensively at 13.7 and 13.3 points per game, respectively, on the season. In addition to ranking 12th among the SEC's leading scorers, Gordon stands 10th in the league in rebounding (6.6 rpg) and ninth in assists (4.2 apg). Ranked 14th in the SEC in scoring for all games, Rhodes is tied for seventh in scoring (16.9 ppg) for conference games only after putting together a current string of 14 consecutive double-figure scoring games. The former Jackson Lanier standout also ranks eighth among the SEC's leading rebounders (7.4 rpg) for all games and tied for third (8.8 rpg) for conference games only. On the heels of back-to-back double-doubles, junior swingman Dietric Slater has raised his season's averages to 10.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest.

Guided by third-year head coach Dennis Felton, Georgia is 15-11 overall and 5-8 in SEC action after snapping a three-game losing skid with Thursday's dramatic 48-47 home win over South Carolina. Junior guard Levi Stukes and freshman guard Mike Mercer pace the Bulldogs in scoring at 12.2 and 11.0 points per outing, respectively, while sophomore guard Sundiata Gaines averages 10.5 points in addition to leading UGA in rebounding (5.0 rpg), assists (3.3 apg) and steals (2.0 spg).

With Mississippi State and Georgia tied at 47 wins apiece in this all-time series history that dates back to the 1931-32 campaign, MSU has prevailed in each of the last three head-to-head meetings by double digits. Last year, State claimed a 76-62 road win over Georgia in Athens during the regular season and then posted a 76-65 first-round victory over UGA at the 2005 SEC Tournament played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

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