News from MSU Media Relations--November 21

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State head softball coach Jay Miller has helped lead the United States Junior Pan American team to a perfect 10-0 record and the Pan American Championship with a 7-0 victory over Puerto Rico in Caguas, Puerto Rico. The win clinches the top spot from the 2007 Pan American Region in the ISF World Junior Championships (19-and-under), which will take place next year in Kutno, Poland, June 20-30.

The Americans have run-ruled all but one opponent, outscoring its competition, 113-2, with their closest victory coming over Canada, 3-0. They have out hit their opponents 127-14, having no-hit Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Aruba and Antillas Holandesas.

The team hit a collective .529 (127-240) for the tournament. Ten players hit .500 or better, led by Maggie Viefhaus (Pacific, Mo.) with a .750 batting average. The pitching staff held its opposition to a .089 batting average, and has struck out 98 times in 157 at-bats.

Miller is no stranger to international competition. In the early ‘90s, Miller served on the National Team selection committee that was in charge of choosing the inaugural USA Softball Team that competed in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He has also served as a head coach with the USA Red Squad that captured Gold in the 2001 U.S. Cup and the USA Elite Team that took home runner-up honors at the 202 Canada Cup and the championship of the 2003 Canada Cup. He also served as an assistant for the USA National Team that won gold at both the Pacific Rim Sports Summit and the International Cup in 2005.

Cross Country
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Lady Bulldog senior distance standout Jennifer McPherson posted a time of 23:32.3 at the 2006 NCAA Cross Country National Championships on Monday. The Nampa, Idaho-native finished 221st in the national meet.

The course at the LaVerne Gibson complex had its share of inclement weather over the past week in Terre Haute, Ind. It endured five inches of rain over the past five days which allotted for slower times at the 2006 edition of the NCAA Cross Country Championship.

"The course was under water for most of the way," said MSU head coach AL Schmidt. "The mud was up to their knees when they finished."

McPherson became the first MState woman to compete at the national event since Tiffany McWilliams ran in 2003. As her final year in the Maroon and White cross country uniform comes to a close, she recorded three top-20 finishes, including two in the top-five. She earned All-South Region honors for the second time in her career this season.

"Getting here (NCAA Championship) was a big deal," added Schmidt. "It's been a good year for her."

Stanford claimed the 2006 title with 195 points. It marked the third straight season that the Cardinal won the event and its fourth crown in the last five seasons.

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Following a 2-1 season-opening homestand, the Bulldogs of Mississippi State (2-1) hit the road for the first time on the young season by taking on the undefeated Clemson Tigers (5-0) Tuesday night in Clemson, S.C. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT) at Clemson's Littlejohn Coliseum, and the inter-conference battle between the SEC and ACC will be televised live by FSN South/SUN Sports.

With Dave Neal set to call the play-by-play action and Dan Bonner slated to provide color analysis for Tuesday's televised MSU-Clemson contest, the game is also scheduled to be aired on Channel 161 on SIRIUS Satellite Radio.

MSU heads to Clemson this week looking to extend its NCAA-best, 15-game road winning streak against non-conference opponents. In an impressive non-conference road win streak that dates back to the 2000-01 campaign, the Bulldogs' most recent non-SEC road action resulted in a 53-38 triumph over the Charlotte 49ers a year ago (Nov. 23, 2005) at Charlotte's Halton Arena. According to STATS, Inc., out of Chicago, the next-longest active non-conference road winning streak entering this week's action is five games by Syracuse.

After having its six-game home win string snapped this past weekend, MState is looking to bounce back from Saturday's 74-63 home setback to reigning NCAA Tournament entry and preseason Big South Conference favorite Winthrop. Coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs had opened the 2006-07 campaign with solid home victories over Nicholls (90-55) and Loyola Marymount (61-37) prior to this weekend's loss.

As a team, MSU is holding the opposition to 31 percent field-goal shooting, including just 19 percent from beyond the three-point arc, on the year. Individually, preseason all-SEC sophomore Jamont Gordon tops the Bulldogs in scoring (15.7 ppg), rebounding (8.3 rpg) and assists (5.3 apg), while freshman guard Barry Stewart and all-SEC junior forward Charles Rhodes are adding 12.0 and 11.7 points, respectively. Gordon is coming off a career-high, 21-point effort against Winthrop, while Rhodes has now scored in double figures in 21 consecutive games dating back to last season.

Guided by fourth-year head coach Oliver Purnell, the Clemson Tigers are 5-0 on the season after registering an easy 79-49 home win over Appalachian State last Friday. Led in scoring by sophomore guard K.C. Rivers (13.8 ppg), Clemson began the season by claiming the team title of the Cox Communications Classic in Norfolk, Va., with wins over Arkansas State (83-44), Monmouth (77-65) and host Old Dominion (74-70). Rivers, who has come off the Tiger bench in each of the team's first five games this season, leads a quartet of double-digit Clemson scorers on the season. Senior guard Vernon Hamilton averages 11.4 points per game, while junior forward James Mays adds 10.8 points and a team-leading 7.2 rebounds an outing.

The Bulldogs return from the road to begin another three-game homestand by playing host to Charlotte next Wednesday (Nov. 29). Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at Humphrey Coliseum. MSU will then welcome Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and South Alabama to Starkville on Dec. 2 and 9, respectively, before traveling to Miami, Fla., to meet another Atlantic Coast Conference foe in the Miami Hurricanes on Dec. 11.

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