STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State University women's basketball team (18-13) continues action in the 2007 Women's National Invitation Tournament on Thursday evening, facing the Western Kentucky Lady Toppers (21-8) in third round action. Tipoff for the first-ever meeting between the two schools is set for a 7 p.m. CT from E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky.
Free audio will be available on the MSU Athletics Web site, www.mstateathletics.com. Western Kentucky is offering free video of the game at www.wkusports.tv. Audio for the video broadcast will be provided by the Big Red Radio Network.
MState enters Thursday's contest having defeated Tulane 79-73 last Sunday in second round action. Sophomore guard/forward Robin Porter led the way for MSU with her sixth career double-double. Porter tallied 15 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Junior forward Imesia Jackson also netted her third career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
In Sunday's game against Tulane, Porter set the MState WNIT individual record for rebounds (16), while sophomore guard Marneshia Richard broke the mark for assists (8). The Lady Bulldogs tied the record for most field goals attempted (76) and most field goals made (30). MState also tied their season-high and broke the school WNIT Tournament record with 56 boards.
Richard is four assists away from tying Tan White for the sophomore single season record. Through 31 games this season, the Lamar, Miss., native boasts 120 total assists. She broke the sophomore single game record with 11 dishes against South Carolina on Jan. 21 and is currently averaging 3.9 per game.
Making their eighth postseason appearance during the Sharon Fanning-era, the Lady Bulldogs are 4-3 in four WNIT showings under the 12-year head coach. Before the tournament expanded to 48 teams, State advanced to the 2001 quarterfinals, falling to James Madison.
Western Kentucky enters Thursday night's contest sporting an 11-3 home record (4-1 in non-conference home games). Junior forward Crystal Kelly leads the Lady Toppers with 24.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. WKU has faced only one other SEC team this season, falling to Vanderbilt 78-86 on Nov. 16. The Lady Toppers defeated Minnesota 73-57 on Monday evening to advance.
The winner of Thursday night's game advances to face the winner of Wednesday's South Carolina/Hofstra game in the quarterfinals.