News from MSU Media Relations--February 8

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

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team will be back in action Thursday, taking on arch-rival and fifth-ranked Mississippi in the 10th annual River Hills Cup in Jackson. Pre match festivities will begin at 4 p.m. while the match will get underway at 5 p.m. For ticket information, fans should contact River Hills at (601)987-4438.

The Bulldogs are 1-0 this season after defeating UAB 6-1 last weekend. State swept the doubles point and won five of six singles matches. Four freshmen made their dual match debuts, going 2-0 in doubles and 2-1 in singles. The Bulldogs are led by a pair of juniors in 31st-ranked Philippe Frayssinoux and 32nd-ranked Ivan Bjelica.

The Rebels, who are 5-0 this season, are led by 40th-ranked junior Erling Tveit and senior Eric Claesson. UM is also coming off a win over UAB this past weekend.

State will be trying to halt a 17-match winning streak by the Rebels in the series, a string that dates back to the Bulldogs' 1999 win in the River Hills Cup affair. Before the Rebels' streak began, MSU had won 10 of the previous 14 meetings.

Following Thursday's match, State's next action will come Feb. 16 when the Bulldogs travel to Memphis to take on the Memphis Tigers at 5 p.m.

Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State women's basketball team (14-9) returns to action Thursday evening, hosting the Lady Tigers of Savannah State (9-15) in a 7 p.m. contest from Humphrey Coliseum. Thursday's game marks the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

After a 57-63 loss to Auburn on Sunday, MState ranks in the top of the league in conference games only in scoring offense (fourth, 68.4 points per game), field goal percentage (sixth, 40.6 percent), second in three-point field goal percentage (35.3), free throw percentage (fourth, 69.9) assists (fourth, 13.11 per game), offensive rebounds (sixth, 14.33 per game), second in three-point field goal defense (27.1 percent) and first in three-point field goals made with an average of 6.67 per game.

Individually in conference games only, sophomore guard Marneshia Richard is sixth in the league in assists (four per game) and steals (2.56 each time out). Freshman forward Tysheka Grimes is sixth in three-point field goal percentage, shooting 9-of-21 for 42.9 percent in nine games. Freshman guard Alexis Rack is second in league games with an average of 2.33 three-point field goals made each game.

In overall games, MState is second in three-point field goal defense (.287), sixth in field goal percentage defense (.382) and fifth in offensive rebounds (15.04) and three-point field goals made (5.26). Richard is fifth in the league in the overall steals category, averaging 2.48 each game.

The Lady Tigers enter Thursday evening's game 9-15 on the season, including winning three out of their last four. On Monday evening, the Lady Tigers defeated Coastal Carolina, 66-62, in Savannah.

Classified as an independent by the NCAA, Savannah State is led by Ivy Smith, who averages 16.3 points per game. Shaunte Carter leads the team in rebounding, bringing down 6.3 boards per game. Antoinette Williams, the team's third leading scorer, will not play Thursday due to a knee injury.

Savannah State has faced four Mississippi State opponents already this season. The Lady Tigers split with Tennessee State (W, 79-65 and L, 70-76) and took two wins from Mercer (59-50 and 65-44). They also fell to Alabama (48-102) and Georgia (54-75).

Mississippi State has only faced one other independent Division I school in its 32 years of women's basketball. State holds a 2-0 advantage over Texas-Pan American. The last time the Lady Bulldogs played UTPA was during the 1999-2000 season. MSU has never faced Savannah State.

Mississippi State returns to conference action Sunday afternoon, facing the Florida Gators in a 2 p.m. CT tipoff from the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville. Sunday afternoon's contest will be broadcast by SUN Sports. Following Sunday's game the Lady Bulldogs return to Humphrey Coliseum to face the nationally-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores in a 7 p.m. start.

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