STARKVILLE, Miss. - Following two wins prior to the Christmas break, the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (6-5) return to action Dec. 29-30 in a first-time appearance at the Georgia Tech Holiday Tournament. On Friday, the Lady Bulldogs meet Tennessee State of the Ohio Valley Conference in a 2 p.m. CT tip-off. Saturday's consolation game is set for a noon CT start, with the championship game to follow at 2 p.m. CT.
In the first game Friday, host Georgia Tech plays another Mississippi school in Alcorn State. Friday's meeting is the first between the Lady Bulldogs and the Lady Tigers. State holds a 6-2 advantage on Alcorn State and a 3-0 lead over the Yellow Jackets.
Although MSU has hosted the pre-Christmas MSU Classic throughout the past several years, the Georgia Tech Holiday Tournament is the first post-Christmas, pre-New Year's tournament the Lady Bulldogs have participated in since the 2002 Lady Griz Holiday Classic in Missoula, Mt. Not considering games played in the MSU Classic, the Lady Bulldogs are 19-12 in regular season tournaments during the Sharon Fanning era.
MSU earned its second straight victory and sixth of the year, as they defeated New Orleans, 61-54, in Jackson on Dec. 21. Freshman forward Tysheka Grimes earned her second consecutive double-double, tallying a season-high 16 points and 10 rebounds to become the first player to record back-to-back double-doubles since Robin Porter last season.
Tennessee State (3-5) defeated Savannah State, 76-70, in their last game before the Georgia Tech Holiday Tournament. Tennessee State shot a respectable 44.4 percent from the floor and out-rebounded the Tigers 43-33. Freshman Nikki Rumph paced the Lady Tigers with a career-high 20 points in addition to four steals. Sophomore Kendra Appling chipped in 11 points while freshman Jheri Booker and junior Meesha Jackson each added 10 points for TSU. Meesha Jackson recorded her third double-double of the season with a game-high 11 rebounds.
MState is seeking to improve its overall neutral court record. With their seven-point win over New Orleans, MSU snapped a four-game skid on neutral courts. MSU is 70-67 all-time when playing on a neutral floor. In 11 seasons at MSU, the Lady Bulldogs are 122-62 against non-conference opponents.
After the tournament, the Lady Bulldogs travel to Macon to play Mercer in a 4:15 CT contest on Jan 2. Following the Mercer game, the Lady Bulldogs have time off before beginning Southeastern Conference play on Jan. 10. The Lady Bulldogs travel to Arkansas for a 2 p.m. contest at Bud Walton Arena. MSU returns home on Jan. 11 to host Georgia in a 6 p.m. televised contest.