STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State women's basketball team (13-8, 4-3 SEC) returns to action Thursday evening, hosting the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks (18-5, 3-4 SEC) in an 8 p.m. televised contest from Humphrey Coliseum. Leah Secondo and Van Chancellor provide the television coverage for Thursday's game, broadcast regionally by Fox Sports Net South. The game can be seen on FSN affiliates throughout the state. Fans are asked to contact their cable/satellite subscriber for more information.
Arkansas leads the all-time series with MState, 13-10 since UA joined the league for the 1991-92 season. Earlier this season, the Lady Bulldogs bested the Lady Razorbacks, 81-73, in Fayetteville. In those games contested in Starkville, MState leads 6-3.
Mississippi State defeated archrival Mississippi, 73-71, on Sunday afternoon at the Tad Smith Coliseum in Oxford. After leading by 18 with 15:23 to go in the game, the Lady Rebels fought back and regained the lead with 4:26 left in the game. From there, the two squads fought and Ole Miss led by one with 59 seconds remaining. After Ashley Awkward tied the game with nine seconds on the clock, MState sophomore guard Marneshia Richard scored the game-winning basket with one second remaining. The win in Oxford marks the second time in as many years the Lady Bulldogs have ventured to their northern neighbor and came away with a win. The two-point victory also marks MSU's second win over a ranked opponent on the road this season.
MSU is currently tied for fifth in the Southeastern Conference team standings. The Lady Bulldogs and Vanderbilt share identical 4-3 conference records. In overall games, Marneshia Richard ranks fourth in the league with 52 steals (2.48 per game). As a team, the Lady Bulldogs are fifth in conference games in three-point field goal defense (.282) and second in three-point goal percentages (.354). The team is also fifth in assists in league games (13.29 per game) and tied for fifth with 15 offensive boards per game. When considering conference games only, Richard is fifth in the league in assist, averaging 4.29 each time out and fourth in steals with 2.57 each game. Freshman Alexis Rack is third in conference games with 2.29 three-point baskets per game. Richard has played the most minutes in conference games this year (38.71).
Arkansas enters Thursday's game 18-5 on the year and 3-4 in conference play. The Lady Razorbacks fell to Vanderbilt in their previous contest, 34-61. Arkansas' lone non-conference loss can at the hands of North Carolina on Nov. 26, 2006. The Tar Heels defeated the Lady Razorbacks, 69-94. In conference games, Arkansas fell to Vanderbilt earlier in the year in addition to their previous contest. Arkansas has also dropped a 53-70 decision to LSU. The Lady Razorbacks have Mississippi, LSU, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia remaining on their schedule.
Lauren Ervin leads UA in scoring and rebounding, averaging 12.7 ppg and 10.5 rbg. Coldwater, Miss.-native Donica Cosby is second on the team in scoring with 11.9 points per game.
The Lady Bulldogs return to action Sunday afternoon, facing the Auburn Tigers in a 2 p.m. CT tipoff from Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville.