News from MSU Media Relations--December 16

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. - In advance of next Thursday's (Dec. 21) Mississippi State-New Orleans men's/women's basketball doubleheader in Jackson, coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs and coach Sharon Fanning's Lady Bulldogs will be available for an autograph-signing session Wednesday evening beginning at 6 p.m. at Jackson's Mississippi Coliseum. Prior to Wednesday's autograph signing in Jackson, the MSU Bulldog Club and Alumni Association will jointly host an open Bulldog basketball practice beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Coliseum. The practice is free of charge and open to the public.

With the Mississippi Coliseum gates opening at 3:30 p.m. and no charge for parking, Thursday's basketball twinbill in Jackson will tip off at 4:30 p.m. with the Lady Bulldogs taking on the University of New Orleans. The MSU-UNO men's contest is scheduled to follow at 7 p.m., and is slated to be televised live by CSS.

Tickets for next Thursday's basketball doubleheader contest may be purchased through the Mississippi Coliseum Ticket Office (800-488-5252 or 601-355-5252), all Ticketmaster outlets, and online at

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Riding a four-game winning streak, the Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-2) begin a brief two-game homestand by playing host to McNeese State (4-5) Saturday afternoon on the MSU campus. The seventh all-time meeting between the two teams is set for 2 p.m. CT at Humphrey Coliseum, and the game is scheduled to be televised live by SportSouth with Rich Waltz calling the play-by-play action and former Auburn standout Daymeon Fishback providing the color analysis.

The Bulldogs will then play their second home game in three days by welcoming the Alabama State Hornets to Starkville for a Monday night contest (7 p.m. CT) that is also slated to be aired live by SportSouth. State will conclude its pre-Christmas hoops slate by taking on the University of New Orleans Thursday, Dec. 21 at Jackson's Mississippi Coliseum (7 p.m. CT).

Coach Rick Stansbury's 6-2 Bulldogs currently own a four-game win streak following Monday's 70-52 road triumph over the Miami Hurricanes. With the recent 18-point win at Miami, Stansbury moved into sole possession of second place on the school's all-time wins list with his 170th career victory at the Bulldog helm. For the third game in a row - a stretch in which State's average winning margin has been 26.7 points per victory - MSU never trailed in the Miami contest. Upon limiting Miami to only 36 percent field-goal shooting and South Alabama to just 30 percent accuracy from the field last Saturday, the Bulldogs currently rank fifth among the nation's team leaders in field-goal percentage defense (35.2%) and also lead the SEC in three-point field-goal percentage defense (22.0%).

Preseason all-SEC sophomore Jamont Gordon continues to lead MState in scoring (15.8; 10th in SEC), rebounding (8.6 rpg; 4th) and assists (5.1 apg; T-3rd), while freshman guard Barry Stewart has raised his season's scoring average to 12.5 points per contest following Monday night's season-high, 22-point effort at Miami. Junior all-SEC standout forward Charles Rhodes, still recovering from a sprained right wrist, is averaging 11.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest.

Affiliated with the Southland Conference by way of Lake Charles, La., McNeese State is 4-5 on the year after tipping off league play with a 60-46 win at Arkansas-Little Rock on Dec. 5. McNeese has also knocked off Louisiana College (89-60), Texas College (77-53) and Mississippi Valley State (61-44) this season. Guided by first-year head coach and former Northwestern State assistant Dave Simmons, the Cowboys are led in scoring (14.4 ppg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg) by junior post player Jarvis Bradley. Veteran guards John Ford (12.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg & 2.8 apg) and Troy Aaron (9.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg & 3.6 apg) are combining to average 22.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per contest between them.

With a 5-1 all-time series record versus McNeese State through the years, the Bulldogs most recently prevailed four consecutive seasons (2000-01 through 2003-04) over the Cowboys, including a 70-58 first-round 2002 NCAA Tournament triumph over McNeese State in Dallas. Most recently, Mississippi State capped its four-year successful run over McNeese by claiming a 92-69 home victory over the Cowboys on Dec. 1, 2003. McNeese State will mark the Bulldogs' third Southland Conference opponent of the current season, as they have already posted home wins over Nicholls (90-55 on Nov. 11) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (96-72 on Dec. 2) on the year.

Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State University women's basketball team (4-4) travels to West Lafayette, Ind., this weekend for a contest with the 13th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers (8-2). Tip-off from Mackey Arena is set for 6 p.m. CT on Saturday evening.

Saturday's game marks only the second time the two schools will meet. Last season, Purdue won the MSU Classic with a 61-42 win over the Lady Bulldogs. MSU has faced the Big Ten conference on 10 occasions. MState holds winning records against two schools in the league ­ Illinois (2-1) and Michigan State (0-1). The conference leads the Lady Bulldogs by a margin of 6-4.

MSU enters Saturday's contest coming off of a 60-54 loss to Louisiana Tech on Wednesday evening. The Lady Bulldogs were led by junior transfer Imesia Jackson's 11 points, while freshman forward Bethany Washington scored a season-high 10 points. Despite having a .500 record, MSU is leading opponents in several statistical categories. The Lady Bulldogs are scoring 5.4 more points per game and bringing down 3.3 more rebounds. MSU continues to record 2.6 fewer turnovers and 0.7 more steals. State continues to lead in blocks (1.5). State has 1.6 more assists each time out.

The Lady Bulldogs currently own an overall seven-game road skid. The current streak dates back to MState's last road win -- a 70-59 victory over archrival Mississippi on Jan. 8, 2006. Since then, the Maroon and White has dropped road decisions to Vanderbilt (48-87), Georgia (42-81), Arkansas (58-60), Auburn (44-74), South Carolina (47-75) and LSU (48-62).

The last time MSU posted a seven-game road skid was during the 2003-04 season when MState lost at Baylor (45-88), South Alabama (53-67), Louisiana Tech (65-94), UNLV (51-62), UC-Santa Barbara (62-69), Georgia (70-88) and Mississippi (60-69) from Nov. 21, 2003 to Jan. 18, 2004. State has not dropped eight consecutive road contests since 1995.

The Boilermakers enter Saturday's contest ranked 13th in both the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and the Associated Press Poll. Purdue's two losses have come at Connecticut (Nov. 30), 55-66, and at Notre Dame (Dec. 6), 58-67. In their last game, the Boilermakers defeated Butler 81-38 in West Lafayette. Lindsey Wisdom-Hylton led Purdue with 24 points and Katie Gearlds scored 20 in the win. For her performance, Wisdom-Hylton was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Dec. 11. Wisdom-Hylton is the second Purdue player to earn Big Ten Player of the Week as Gearlds was honored the week of Nov. 20. The Boliermakers outscore their opponents by more than 17 points.

MSU is 26-169 all-time against ranked opponents and is 0-7 against those opponents ranked #13 when played. MSU's last win against a ranked opponent came on Nov. 30, 2004. The Lady Bulldogs defeated #20 Louisiana Tech 72-55 in Starkville. The last time MSU faced an opponent ranked 13th was Jan. 19 of last season when MState traveled to Georgia. Prior to that MSU had not faced a #13 since Jan. 5, 1997 against Arkansas. MSU has not beat a ranked team on the road since defeating Arkansas 72-59 on Feb. 20, 2003 in Fayetteville.

Following Saturday's game, the Lady Bulldogs return to Starkville for Christmas at the Hump with the Grambling Lady Tigers on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. The Lady Bulldogs will join the MSU men's squad in a doubleheader against the University of New Orleans on Thursday at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson. The women's game is scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. start with the men's game following at 7 p.m.

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