STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State senior forward Piotr Stelmach will be featured this week as the SEC Community Service Team Player of the Week on Lincoln Financial Sports' telecasts of the Mississippi State at Arkansas, Georgia at Kentucky, Auburn at Ole Miss, Tennessee at Georgia and Alabama at Mississippi State games.
A native of Kamien Pomorski, Poland, Stelmach volunteered his time and efforts last summer at Camp Rising Sun, a Columbus-based organization that helps children ages 6-14 who are being treated, or have been treated, for cancer. He has also spent the last two summers on goodwill tours competing for SCORE International. Last summer in the Dominican Republic, Stelmach and his SCORE teammates visited with local families in addition to having brought food and supplies to needy villages.
A two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll with a cumulative grade point average of 3.39, Stelmach is on target to graduate this year with a bachelor's degree in clinical exercise physiology. The four-year letterman has made the Bulldog Honor Roll (3.0 GPA or higher) every semester of his Mississippi State playing career and is a two-time Dean's Scholar.
Lincoln Financial Sports highlights one member of the SEC Community Service Team each week during the college basketball season for his accomplishments in the community and in the classroom. This marks the ninth year for the SEC Community Service Team for men's basketball as well as for women's basketball.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State guard Alexis Rack was a unanimous selection to the 2007 Southeastern Conference all-SEC Freshman Team, as voted on by the league's coaches and announced today by the league office.
Heading into the SEC Tournament, Rack averages 10.4 points per game and ranks fifth in the league in three-point field goals made. She also ranks in the 100 in the country in steals per game and three-point field goals per game. In the month of February, Rack led the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game. She also shot 81.0 percent from the free throw line and currently averages 72.6 from the charity stripe for the entire season. Against Alabama, Rack became the first Lady Bulldog since Tan White to score in double digits in 10 consecutive games. For the season, she now has 16 double digit scoring games.
She has been named the SEC Freshman of the Week twice this season, once for her season-high 24-point Most Valuable Player performance in the Georgia Tech Holiday Tournament (Dec. 25-31) and again on Jan. 29 for helping lead State to wins over archrival Mississippi and a double overtime contest against Kentucky.
Rack prepped at Franklin High School in Franklin, La., and is the daughter of Pearl B. and Willie Rack. The former Miss Basketball for the State of Louisiana is a chemistry major at MState.
Tennessee's Candice Parker was named Player of the Year with Georgia's Ashley Houts earning Freshman of the Year honors. Mississippi's Armintie Price picked up Defensive Player of the Year honors and Vanderbilt's Liz Sherwood and Georgia's Christy Marshall were named Sixth Woman of the Year. Arkansas' Sarah Pfeifer was named Scholar Athlete of the Year and Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt was named Coach of the Year.
The sixth-seeded Lady Bulldogs open the 2007 SEC Tournament on Thursday evening in an 8:30 p.m. CT contest with the #11 seed Florida Gators. The game will be televised on FSN South.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (17-12, 7-7 SEC) open play in the 2007 Southeastern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament on Thursday evening facing the Florida Gators (8-21, 2-12 SEC) in an 8:30 p.m. CT tip from the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. Thursday evening's contest will be broadcast regionally by FSN South with Van Chancellor and Dave Neal calling the action.
Sixth-seeded Mississippi State leads the overall series with Florida, 17-15. In games played in Gainesville, the Gators lead 8-6 and have won two out of the last five played there. In the last five games in the overall series, MSU holds a 3-2 lead. Florida won both meetings last season. This season's 79-74 win over Florida was State's first win over the Gators since 2004. MSU is 1-2 all-time against Florida in the SEC Tournament. State last faced the Gators in the Tournament a year ago. Florida won 98-83 in North Little Rock, Ark. State is 0-1 all-time as the sixth seed (‘05, vs. Arkansas).
State enters the conference tournament ranked tops in league games only in free throw percentage (.753) and three-point field goals made (5.83). The Lady Bulldogs are second in three-point field goal percentage (.348) and third in rebounding offense (39.9). State ranks fourth in two categories scoring offense (71.3) and defensive rebounds (26.29) and fifth in three-point field goal percentage defense (.283) and steals (8.71). MState is sixth in offensive rebounds (13.57).
In overall games, the Lady Bulldogs are third in three-point field goal percentage defense (.292), fourth in three-point field goals made (5.83) and sixth in free throw percentage (.680), field goal percentage defense (.390) and offensive rebounds (14.83).
Individually, sophomore guard Marneshia Richard is fifth overall in steals and leads the league in three-point field goal percentage in SEC games only. Also in league games, Richard is third in steals (2.57), fifth in free throw percentage (.806), seventh in field goal percentage (.536) and assists (4.07) and ninth in scoring (14.1). Freshman guard Alexis Rack is second in SEC games only in three-point field goals made (2.64), seventh in free throw percentage (.795) and 14th in scoring (13.4) and is fifth in overall games in three point field goals made (1.97).
Rack was named to the 2007 Southeastern Conference all-SEC Freshman Team, as voted on by the league's coaches. Heading into Thursday's contest, Rack averages 10.4 points per game and ranks fifth in the league in three-point field goals made. She also ranks in the 100 in the country in steals per game and three-point field goals per game. In the month of February, Rack led the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game. She also shot 81.0 percent from the free throw line and currently averages 72.6 from the charity stripe for the entire season.
With 104 assists already on the season, Richard is currently tied for second on the sophomore single season assists list with Julan Harris. Former all-American Tan White sits atop the category with 124 total assists during the 2002-03 season.
Sixth-seeded Florida enters Thursday evening's game at 8-21 on the year and 2-12 in conference games. The Gators have won two out of their last three, having defeated Alabama, 66-64, on Feb. 18 and Kentucky in their regular season finale, 83-79, on Sunday afternoon.
Sha Brooks continues to lead the team in scoring, averaging 15.3 points per game and currently ranks sixth in the league in scoring. Two other Gators also average double figures with all-SEC second teamer Marshae Dotson tallying 13.8 points and Depree Bowden bringing in 13.3 points each time out. Dotson leads the team in rebounding with 7.5 boards per game.
The winner of Thursday's contest advances to face #3 seed Vanderbilt on Friday evening at 8:30 p.m. CT.