News from MSU Media Relations--August 24

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

Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The 2006-07 Mississippi State women's basketball schedule features 16 regular season home games, including the first five games of the slate, one of which could produce the 500th career victory for Lady Bulldogs head coach Sharon Fanning and the 425th win in the Lady Bulldogs' 32-year history.

The full schedule, which was announced by MSU Director of Athletics Larry Templeton on Tuesday, also features a doubleheader with the men in Jackson and contests against 12 teams that participated in postseason play last season.

All six November contests, including the opening scrimmage against the Houston Jaguars on Nov. 6, are scheduled to be played at the 10,500-seat Humphrey Coliseum. The first chance for MSU to pick up program win 425 and Fanning's 500th career win comes on Nov. 10 when the Lady Bulldogs welcome Troy University to the Humphrey Coliseum. Following will be Southeastern Louisiana, WNIT participant Belmont, in-state school Mississippi Valley and the Atlantic Coast Conference's Florida State, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season.

State opens December at home against UAB before traveling to Southern Mississippi on Dec. 10. The Lady Bulldogs host Louisiana Tech on Dec. 13 before heading north to West Lafayette, Ind. to take on Purdue on Dec. 16. Both Louisiana Tech and Purdue were among the entries in the NCAA Tournament last season with the Boilermakers advancing to the Sweet 16.

The Lady Bulldogs return home to host Grambling on Dec. 19 and two days later play host to New Orleans in a doubleheader with MSU men's team at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson. Following the Christmas break, State hits the road again, traveling to Atlanta, Ga. for the Georgia Tech Holiday Tournament. Teams scheduled to compete include host Georgia Tech, MSU, Tennessee State and Alcorn State.

Prior to opening Southeastern Conference play, MSU takes on Mercer in Macon, Ga. on Jan. 2. and ends its non-conference slate at home on Feb. 8 against Savannah State.

Featuring 14 contests during the season, the Lady Bulldogs open their SEC slate at Arkansas on Jan. 7 before returning home for consecutive matches on Jan. 11 and 14 against NCAA Tournament teams Georgia and LSU, who advanced to the Sweet 16 and Final Four respectively. Elite Eight contender Tennessee hosts State in Knoxville on Jan. 18.

To close out January, State plays host to three squads who advanced to the postseason last year. WNIT-bound South Carolina travels to Starkville on Jan. 21, while the Lady Bulldogs make a return visit to Columbia on the last day of the regular season, Feb. 25. NCAA Second Round team Kentucky welcomes State on Jan. 25 and archrival Ole Miss, who advanced to last year's WNIT, hosts MSU on Jan. 28. The Lady Bulldogs host the Lady Rebels on Feb. 18.

Arkansas makes a return trip to Starkville on Feb. 1 and Auburn enters the Hump three days later. Following the Savannah State non-conference contest, State travels to NCAA Tournament team Florida on Feb. 11 and returns to Starkville to take on Vanderbilt on Feb. 15. Sandwiched between the second Ole Miss and South Carolina matches is a Feb. 22 match at Alabama.

This year's SEC women's basketball schedule is slated for March 1-4 at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.

STARKVILLE, MISS. - The 2006 edition of the Mississippi State soccer team will open its season on the road for just the fifth time in its history. The Bulldogs will take on Sam Houston State, Friday at 7:00 p.m. They then travel to Houston, Texas to face 2005 NCAA Tournament participant Rice at 1:00 p.m. MSU will be facing both teams for the first time in its history.

The Bulldogs are 7-3-1 in season openers, and are undefeated in its last six (5-0-1). MSU is 3-6-2 all-time in road openers.

"We're very young," said head coach Neil Macdonald. "The squad is heavily laden with freshmen and sophomores and we're developing. We set up a very difficult schedule because we believe we have a lot of potential. The only way we're gonna get any better is if we play top class competition. We have a lot of potential in the group."

The trip to Texas will be a homecoming of sorts for seven members of the Mississippi State squad. Sophomores Mary Kate Ayers, Meredith Jacobson and Caitlin Gallagher, juniors Jessica Davis, Kevyn Shelledy and Jennifer Turpin and senior Sara Moore are all from the state of Texas.

Despite finishing last year with 4-11-4 record, the Bulldogs look to build off of the momentum they had at the end of last year, closing the season with a tie at Ole Miss and a victory over Mississippi Valley State. This year, MSU faces six 2005 NCAA Tournament teams, including four from the SEC (Tennessee, Florida, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss). In addition to non-conference foe Rice, the Bulldogs will play host to Southern Methodist. Mississippi State also faces five teams ranked in the preseason polls (Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss).

The Bulldogs return 17 members of last year's squad, including seven starters. Moore and Heidi Ondra are the lone seniors on the team. Davis and Shelledy, along with Ayers, Jacobson, Bethany Frazier and Marlyce Stein, are also returning starters. The Bulldogs roster also includes eight freshmen, after bringing in a record-setting 11 last year.

Mississippi State opens the season with four road matches, its longest season-opening stretch ever. They then return to Starkville for seven home matches, including the first four matches of its SEC slate before going back on the road for five matches. MSU closes out its regular season hosting Vanderbilt, followed by the Magnolia Cup against Ole Miss.

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Former University of Louisville forward Brian Johnson has transferred to Mississippi State, as announced Wednesday by MSU head basketball coach Rick Stansbury.

A native of Laurinburg, N.C., Johnson averaged 3.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game a year ago for coach Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals. Having averaged 10.3 minutes of action per contest in 30 games played as a redshirt freshman, he shot 54 percent from the field and 64 percent from the line in 2005-06. The 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward capped last season with a 13-point, 13-rebound performance against Clemson followed by a 9-point, 10-rebound effort versus Missouri State in National Invitation Tournament play. Having started in five of the last 10 games a year ago in place of the injured David Padgett, Johnson averaged 4.8 points (58% FGs & 72% FTs) and 5.5 rebounds, along with 16.5 minutes per outing, in U of L's last 10 contests of the 2005-06 campaign.

Johnson, who will sit out the 2006-07 season due to the NCAA's transfer rules, received a medical redshirt season at Louisville in 2004-05 after a third knee surgery in six months on Nov. 19, 2004 forced him to the sidelines.

As a 2003-04 teammate of former Kentucky standout guard Rajon Rondo at prestigious Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., Johnson averaged 13.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game as a prep senior in helping lead coach Steve Smith's 38-0 Warriors to the nation's top ranking in the USA Today high school poll. The former top-30 national prospect and second-team Street & Smith's All-American also connected on 66 percent of his field goals and 69 percent of his charity tosses as a senior.

Prior to completing his prep career at Oak Hill, Johnson helped lead Bishop O'Connell High School to a three-year composite record of 72-25, including a 30-7 overall record and Virginia Independent Schools state title as a sophomore in 2001-02. As a junior, he averaged 15.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and two blocked shots per contest to earn Washington Post All-Metropolitan honors and help pace coach Joe Wootten's 2002-03 Knights to a 25-5 mark, No. 21 final national ranking and a No. 6 South Region ranking by USA Today. Following his junior campaign, Johnson participated in the 2003 USA Basketball Men's National Team Trials and was named a finalist for the 2003 USA Junior World Championship Team.

After averaging 17.5 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks per outing on Bishop O'Connell High School's state championship club as a sophomore, Johnson became the youngest member of the 2002 U.S. Junior National Team. He also averaged 10.0 points and 9.2 rebounds in five games as a member of the silver medal-winning East squad during the 2002 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival.

As a freshman, Johnson averaged 10.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and three blocks per game to help lead Bishop O'Connell High School to a 17-13 record.

Men's Golf
CHASKA, Minn. - Mississippi State men's golfer Greg Huxman fired a 6-over par 78 on Tuesday at Hazeltine National Golf Club in the second round of stroke play at the 2006 U.S. Amateur Golf Championship in Chaska, Minn. The Bulldog linkster finished at 10-over par and tied for 179th in the standings. The 64-low scores advanced to Wednesday's match play rounds.

Huxman's scorecard included two birdies. One of the red-figure numbers came at the par-5 11 th hole, but the senior from Miami, Fla. would find trouble on three of the next four holes to post bogeys on those holes. His only birdie on the front nine was posted on the 435-yard, par-4 second.

With his showing this week in the U.S. Amteur, MState has had a representative in the past two United States Golf Association's premier amateur event. In 2005, head coach Clay Homan played in the event.

Huxman will return to campus to join his Bulldog teammates in preparation for the fall lid lifter in Chattanooga, Tenn. State will compete in the Scenic City Invitational on Sept. 11-12.

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