News from MSU Media Relations--November 1

The lastest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Men's Basketball, Football, Soccer, Women's Tennis, Men's Golf & Softball.

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's veteran tandem of Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes have been named to the preseason All-SEC first team by a vote of the league's head men's basketball coaches. The announcement was made Wednesday by the SEC office headquartered in Birmingham.

With the pair of selections, MSU ranks as the lone team to have more than one player named to the eight-member preseason All-SEC first team. Joining MState's Gordon as unanimous first-team selections were Alabama's Richard Hendrix, Tasmin Mitchell of LSU, Tennessee's Chris Lofton, and Shan Foster of Vanderbilt.

A native of Nashville, Gordon ranked among the SEC's top 10 leaders in scoring (16.0 ppg; 7th in SEC), rebounding (7.1 rpg; 9th) and assists (5.3 apg, 2nd) a year ago as a sophomore to rate as the only underclassman to make the 2006-07 Coaches All-SEC First Team. The preseason John R. Wooden Award candidate enters his junior season 26 points shy of the 1,000-point mark for his career, while also hailing as the SEC's second-leading returning scorer behind Tennessee's Chris Lofton and third-leading returning rebounder. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound All-America candidate also begins the 2007-08 campaign ranked ninth on the school's all-time list with 316 career assists.

Rhodes, a two-time, all-SEC second-team selection, ranked as MSU's No. 2 scorer (13.7 ppg; 17th in SEC) and second-leading rebounder (6.2 rpg; 12th) last season for coach Rick Stansbury's 21-14 Bulldogs. He also finished fourth among league leaders in field-goal percentage (55%) and sixth in blocked shots (1.9 bpg). The senior from Jackson enters the 2007-08 season 87 points shy of the 1,000-point mark for his career, while presently ranking sixth on MState's all-time chart with 101 career blocked shots and 10th in career field-goal percentage (56%). The 6-foot-8, 245-pound forward has averaged 13.7 points and 6.7 boards per contest over the past two seasons.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Southeastern Conference unveiled its fourth annual men's basketball coaches preseason All-SEC first and second teams, Wednesday, to tip off another great season of SEC men's basketball.

Arkansas led all schools with four selections. Alabama's Richard Hendrix, LSU's Tasmin Mitchell, Mississippi State's Jamont Gordon, Tennessee's Chris Lofton and Vanderbilt's Shan Foster were unanimous first team selections. The coaches preseason All-SEC first and second teams consist of a minimum of eight players on each squad, voted on by the SEC Head Men's Basketball Coaches. No ties were broken and no predicted order of finish was made.

A list of the 2008 SEC Men's Basketball Coaches Preseason All-SEC team follows.

FIRST TEAM ALL-SEC - Pos - Ht - Wt - Cl - Hometown

Richard Hendrix, Alabama# - F - 6-8 - 265 - JR - Athens, Ala.
Patrick Beverley, Arkansas - G - 6-1 - 180 - SO - Chicago, Ill.
Ramel Bradley, Kentucky - 6-2 - 199 - SR - New York, N.Y.
Tasmin Mitchell, LSU# - F - 6-7 - 230 - JR - Denham Springs, La.
Jamont Gordon, Miss. State# - G/F - 6-4 - 230 - JR - Nashville, Tenn.
Charles Rhodes, Miss. State - F/C - 6-8 - 245 - SR - Jackson, Miss.
Chris Lofton, Tennessee# - G - 6-2 - 200 - SR - Maysville, Ky.
Shan Foster, Vanderbilt# - G/F - 6-6 - 205 - SR - Kenner, La.

SECOND TEAM ALL-SEC - Pos - Ht - Wt - Cl - Hometown

Alonzo Gee, Alabama - F - 6-6 - 215 - JR - Riviera Beach, Fla.
Steven Hill, Arkansas - F/C - 7-0 - 245 - SR - Branson, Mo.
Charles Thomas, Arkansas - F - 6-8 - 231 - SR - Jackson, Miss.
Sonny Weems, Arkansas - F - 6-6 - 203 - SR - West Memphis, Ark.
Marreese Speights, Florida - F/C - 6-10 - 250 - SO - St. Petersburg, Fla.
Sundiata Gaines, Georgia - G - 6-1 - 210 - SR - Jamaica, N.Y.
Joe Crawford, Kentucky - 6-5 - 221 - SR - Detroit, Mich.
Dwayne Curtis, Ole Miss - C - 6-8 - 262 - SR - Chicago, Ill.
JaJuan Smith, Tennessee - G - 6-2 - 195 - SR - Cleveland, Tenn.
Tyler Smith, Tennessee - F 6-7 - 215 - SO - Pulaski, Tenn.

#-Unanimous Selection; Ties are not broken

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State was named the National Team of the Week following the Bulldogs' 31-14 football win over nationally No. 14-ranked Kentucky this past Saturday, web site announced Tuesday.

The Bulldogs piled up 200 yards rushing offensively and held the Wildcats to a season-low 14 points and forced six turnovers in the team's third road win of the season. covers Division I-A college football on-line.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State senior defensive end Avery Hannibal and freshman quarterback Wesley Carroll were picked by the Southeastern Conference as Defensive Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week, respectively, the league office announced today.

Hannibal had five tackles, including a game-best three for losses (-8 yards), two of which were quarterback sacks in Mississippi State's 31-14 win at Kentucky. Hannibal now has 28 tackles this season, with six for losses, including two sacks.

Mississippi State's defense limited Kentucky, which came into the SEC as the league's total offensive leader (466.5 yards per game), to 319 total yards, including 89 on the ground.

Hannibal becomes the third MSU defender to earn player of the week honors this season, joining Gabe O'Neal and Derek Pegues. State players also won defensive player of the week three times in 2000 and four times in 1999.

Carroll is the first Mississippi State player to earn the freshman honor since the league instituted the award in 2004. He completed 17-of-28 passes for 152 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the victory and has now thrown a school-record 137 passes this season without an interception.

This marks just the second time a pair of State players has been honored in the same week. Jerious Norwood (offense) and Jared Cook (special teams) each earned weekly awards following the Bulldogs 2004 victory over Florida.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State women's soccer team (6-11-1, 2-7-1 SEC) faces archrival Mississippi (6-7-5, 3-4-3) on Friday evening in the Southeastern Conference regular season closer for both squads. Match time is set for 7 p.m. CT from the Ole Miss Soccer Complex in Oxford. UM leads the all-time series 6-4-3.

The Bulldogs enter Friday's contest after dropping a tough 3-2 decision to Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon in Nashville. Treena Ferguson scored her seventh goal of the season, Katelyn Graben scored her fifth and MState goalkeeper Taryn Holland tallied a career-high 12 saves, but the Commodores won 3-2 in double overtime.

State fell to Kentucky on Thursday evening, 3-2. Meredith Jacobson scored her first two goals of the season and her career, the first on a penalty kick and the second off a Bethany Frazier corner kick.

Ranked in seventh place, the Rebels enter Friday night's game seeking a berth in the SEC Tournament. Overall, Mississippi is 6-7-5 overall and 3-4-3 in league play.

Chrissy Strini leads the Rebels with five goals on the season. Jennifer Hance follows closely behind with four goals. Hannah Weatherly and Amy Bayles both help the offense with three goals. Goalkeeper Megan Vickery has three shutouts and 41 saves on the year.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - In a game this earlier season against Southeastern Conference foe Kentucky, conditions were not favorable for the Mississippi State soccer team. The Bulldogs were coming off a shutout loss to nationally-ranked Tennessee, and now the team was forced to play on a sloppy, wet field against the Wildcats. Through all the mud and dirt, one player showed why she had become a leader on the Bulldog soccer team.

Left wing back defender Bethany Frazier could be seen sliding to defend goals, slicing through the dirt to make an assist or even carving her path to the net to score a goal. Although rain that soaked, the terrain of the MSU Soccer Field did not bother Frazier as she continued to display her typical aggressive style of play – the same style of play that has helped Frazier adjust to being a leader for her teammates.

"I just try to help my teammates and go out there and play aggressive," she said. "I do not think about it too much. I just try to play hard every game."

Frazier has displayed this toughness throughout her career at Mississippi State. Since stepping onto campus her freshman year, the Madison, Miss.-native has played many minutes in many different positions as a defender. During her freshman campaign, Frazier started in all 19 games for MSU and was second on the team in minutes played. She continued that trend during her sophomore season, playing more minutes than anyone else on the team. Frazier would also assist on important goals that year, including the gamewinner to Treena Ferguson in the upset victory over then eighth-ranked Tennessee.

Now in her junior year on the M-State soccer team, teammates and fans have begun to notice the hard work and tough mentality that Frazier displays. The junior did not gain this attention by fancy play or scoring a lot of goals. As a defender, Frazier says she has put the focus on her team and not herself - something she believes is important.

"We have a lot of team chemistry. We are supportive and work hard for each other. I just want to lead by setting an example for my teammates," Frazier said.

She also says she looks to her teammates throughout the course of a game, and seeing their toughness helps her improve as a player. She credits a lot of the tough plays she makes to those around her on the field.

"You want to help your team," she said. "When I see some one make a tough play, it makes me want to do better."

Frazier has also gained the attention of MSU Head Coach Neil Macdonald. Macdonald appreciates the aggressive style of play that he sees in his left wing back. Macdonald even goes as far as calling Frazier one of the best defenders he has seen.

"Bethany is an outstanding left back, who leads by example. She is much more than just a defender and has the ability to start attacks with overlapping runs into the opposition's half," says Coach Macdonald. "For me, she is the best left back in the SEC."

And with another season almost in the books, Frazier has a bright future ahead of her as a leader for the Bulldog soccer team.

Women's Tennis
AUBURN, Ala. - MSU's women's tennis team travels to Auburn, Ala. this weekend to conclude its 2007 fall season at the SEC Fall Coaches' Classic.

"This tournament is a big one for us," said Head Coach Tracy Lane. "These are the teams that we will face again once SEC play starts in the spring. The more we can take from this tournament, the better off we will be in the spring."

Lane will take six singles players and three doubles teams to compete in the annual season-ending tournament. Elna de Villiers, Radka Ferancova, Tatiana Feit, Valeriya Makarycheva, Renée Joseph, and Daniela Juskova will all compete in singles action. MSU's doubles teams will consist of DeAndra Saddler and Makarycheva, Juskova and Joseph, and de Villiers and Ferancova.

Doubles play will begin Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. CT with the first two rounds of competition. Singles play will being Friday morning at 9 a.m. CT.

Men's Golf
GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Mississippi State men's golf team closed out its fall season in good fashion Tuesday, finishing second at the UNCG Bridgestone Collegiate Championship. Playing at the par-72 Forest Oaks Country Club, the Bulldogs fired a score of 863 for a 1-under par performance. It was the second 54-hole event MState has played this fall, with inclement weather conditions shortening MSU's two previous tournaments. The Bulldogs improved on their only other 54-hole tournament this season, where MState finished sixth among 17 teams, scoring an 865, at the Scenic City Invitational in Chattanooga, Tenn.

After notching a 12-over par, 300, in the first round, the Bulldogs rebounded in round two, improving their score by 14 strokes and bringing the Bulldogs into fifth place thru two rounds. After a half-hour frost delay Tuesday morning, MState hit the course for their final round of play, shooting an 11-under-par 277. For the tournament the Bulldogs shot an 863 for their best 54-hole performance since the 2004-05 season, where MSU scored an 863 at the Rio Pinar Intercollegiate.

Competing in their second straight tournament as a group, the Bulldogs competed with an all-junior lineup, which included top-team finisher Matt Fast. Fast shot a three-round score of 214, and finished 2-under-par. After a 3-over par first round, the junior responded with a 1-under par performance followed by a 4-under-par, final round, guiding Fast to a tie for seventh among the individual field. It was the first time this season the Hattiesburg, Miss., native lead the Bulldogs in competition. Noah Goldman shot a consistent 2-over-par with rounds of 74-72-72 for a final score of 218 and a tie for 18 th. Logan Young matched Goldman with a 2-over par, but also included a 3-under par second round. Josh Bevell finished at 4-over-par, but after a 76 and 75 in his first two rounds, the walk-on responded with a 3-under par 69 in the final round. Carlos Sainz, Jr., closed out the Bulldogs scoring with a three-round score of 221, which included a 4-under-par final round.

With their second place finish at the Bridgestone Collegiate Championship, the Bulldogs closed out their fall season with two top-five finishes and their second straight Magnolia Cup victory over in-state rival Mississippi.

MSU will pick up spring play on Feb. 9 at the Gator Invitational in Gainesville, Fla.

GREENSBORO, N.C. - In a very closely matched field, the Mississippi State men's golf team is in fifth place through two rounds of competition at the UNCG Bridgestone Collegiate Championship. Among the fifteen schools competing, eight entered the tournament ranked among the top 40 nationally in the current Golfstat rankings, including the Bulldogs who are 40th.

After an hour delay due to frost Monday morning, MSU began play in their final fall event and was able to notch a 300 in round one, putting the Bulldogs eight strokes behind the leader. Following their 12-over par performance in round one, MState responded by firing a much-improved 286 in round two, putting the Bulldog linksters at 10-over par through two rounds of play.

Boasting an all-junior lineup, Logan Young led State through the first two rounds, tallying scores of 75 and 69 in his first two rounds, good for even par and a tie for ninth place. Noah Goldman and Matt Fast are tied for 16 th at 2-over par through their first two rounds. Josh Bevell fired rounds of 75 and 74, respectively, putting the State walk-on at 7-over par. Carlos Sainz, Jr., is 9-over par but, after a score of 79 in round one, the Elgin, Ill., native rebounded with a 74 in round two.

North Carolina holds the team lead through two rounds of play with a score of 580 (4-over par).

The final round of action will begin Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. ET.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - A program-high nine Mississippi State softball student-athletes have been named National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American Scholar-Athletes for the 2006-07 school year, as announced by the organization today.

Senior pitcher Stephanie Comeaux earned her first academic honor. The Pascagoula native posted a 4.0 grade point average during the spring 2007 semester. Joining Comeaux as first-time honorees were freshmen Chelsea Bramlett and Jessie Bailey.

Michelle Kinney and Katie Johnson were honored for the third consecutive season, becoming the seventh and eighth Bulldog players to earn the honor at least three times. Kelli Miller, Gina McCloud, Lindsay Hunley and Sammie Jo Bailey earned the honor for the second time. Kinney, Hunley, Johnson, Miller and S. Bailey led the team with perfect 4.0 GPAs last season.

"We are very proud of our NFCA All-American Scholar Athletes from this year," said MSU Head Coach Jay Miller. "It is a great honor for them individually and for us as a team. We are proud of the accomplishment and look forward to another great year in the classroom."

Earlier this season, the organization honored the Bulldog softball team as one of the nation's top academic teams. MSU earned a 3.41 cumulative grade point average during the 2006-07 school year, good for 11th nationally, its highest ranking ever.

Since 1997, the Bulldogs have sent 121 student-athletes to academic honor roll accolades and 48 of its own to NFCA academic scholar-athlete accolades. As a team, the Bulldogs have consistently finished with one of the country's top 45 team grade point averages, including top 18 finishes in each of the past six seasons.

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