STARKVILLE, Miss. - The NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee officially extended bids to the 2006 Cross Country Championship on Sunday. Mississippi State senior distance standout Jennifer McPherson was one of four individuals selected from the South Region to compete in the championship event in Terre Haute, Ind. on Monday, Nov. 20.
McPherson earned a spot in the 2006 NCAA Championship meet after finishing 16th at the region 8K race with a time 21: 50.5. Her spot in the national event will become official on Sunday night when the NCAA announces the bids to the finals. McPherson is the third Lady Bulldog to garner a spot in the NCAA Championship. April Ecke and Tiffany McWilliams previously made trips to the NCAA Championship as individuals. McPherson's spot in the NCAA Championship secured her spot as the second MSU woman to compete in all three NCAA Championships - outdoor, indoor and cross country. McWilliams previously earned that feat.
The other three individuals selected from the region include - Lanni Marchant of Chattanooga, Julia Hicks of Alabama and Katherine Herring of Belmont. Four Southeastern Conference teams were selected on the women's side - Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.
The NCAA Cross Country Championship will be hosted by Indiana State University. The women's portion of the championship will begin at 11 a.m. CST on Monday, Nov. 20.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - On the heels of their 90-55 season-opening home victory over Nicholls State University this past Saturday, the Mississippi State Bulldogs (1-0) continue their three-game homestand by playing host to Loyola Marymount University (1-0) Monday evening on the MSU campus. State's second game in three days will tip off at 7 p.m. at Humphrey Coliseum, and the game will be aired live by FSN South/SUN Sports with Rich Waltz calling the play-by-play action and former South Carolina and Vanderbilt head coach Eddie Fogler providing the color analysis.
Claiming their seventh season-opening victory under the guidance of ninth-year head coach Rick Stansbury with Saturday's 35-point triumph over the Colonels from the Southland Conference, the Bulldogs put five players in double figures en route to shooting 66 percent (33-50 FGs) from the field for their best shooting effort since 1991-92. While holding the visitors to just 36 percent shooting on the afternoon, MSU also outrebounded Nicholls by a decisive 44-19 margin. Individually in MState's season opener, sophomore all-SEC candidate Jamont Gordon totaled 14 points (4-6 treys), nine rebounds and seven assists, while freshman guard Barry Stewart also tallied 14 points off the Bulldog bench on 5-of-8 shooting and 2-of-5 treys.
Under the direction of second-year head coach Rodney Tention, the Los Angeles-based Lions of Loyola Marymount University return nine lettermen, including three starters, from last year's 12-18 ballclub which lost at the buzzer at fourth-ranked Gonzaga in the championship game of the 2006 West Coast Conference Tournament. Ranked No. 16 in the CollegeInsider.com Preseason Mid-Major Top 25 and picked to finish second (behind Gonzaga) by the league's head coaches in this year's WCC race, the LMU Lions are led by senior all-conference performers Matthew Knight (16.2 ppg & 10.0 rpg in 2005-06) and Brandon Worthy (15.0 ppg & 4.3 apg). LMU opened the current campaign with a 68-65 home victory over Oral Roberts this past Friday, as Knight (23) and Worthy (19) combined for 42 of the team's 68 points.
Monday's contest will mark MState's first-ever hardwood meeting with Loyola Marymount. However, this season does mark the fourth consecutive year that the Bulldogs will have battled a West Coast Conference basketball opponent. MSU swept a home-and-home series against Santa Clara in 2005-06 (82-69 OT home win) and 2003-04 (66-61 OT road win), while posting a neutral-site victory over Saint Mary's of California in 2004-05 (67-54 in consolation game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at New York's Madison Square Garden).
The Bulldogs will conclude their season-opening, three-game homestand next Saturday (Nov. 18) by welcoming reigning NCAA Tournament participant and preseason Big South Conference favorite Winthrop University to Starkville. Tip-off at Humphrey Coliseum is set for 6 p.m. CT, following MSU's 1:30 p.m. home football contest against the Arkansas Razorbacks.