News from MSU Media Relations--February 22

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Women's Basketball, Softball and Women's Tennis.

Women's Basketball
ATLANTA - The Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) is proud to host the sixth annual Nike's So You Want To Be A Coach program. This two and a half day workshop will be held in conjunction with the WBCA National Convention on April 4 through April 6 in Tampa Bay, Fla. Nike serves as the title sponsor for this tremendous program.

Among the participants is Mississippi State senior forward Imesia Jackson. Jackson, a two-year starter from Crawford, is averaging 8.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. She is an interdisciplinary studies major.

"Nike is committed to growing women's basketball and supporting those coaches involved in our game," said Jill Pizzotti, Nike's Manager of Women's College Basketball. "We are proud to sponsor the 'So You Want To Be A Coach' program, focused on developing and educating these chosen young ladies on the coaching profession."

The WBCA has been a cornerstone in developing an organization that meets the needs of women, while promoting the game of basketball and its development, as well as unifying coaches on every level. The So You Want To Be A Coach Program was designed to increase the amount of minorities in the coaching profession, by providing a workshop based on educational and professional principles to help those interested in the field.

The coaching lessons shared with these participants will assist in identifying, recruiting and retaining minority women in the profession of coaching. At this year's workshop, the participants will have the opportunity to meet and learn from some high level professionals such as Penn State Head Coach Coquese Washington, Old Dominion Assistant Coach Nikita Dawkins, Black Coaches & Administrators Executive Director Floyd Keith, and many others.

For qualification, the potential candidate must have exhausted her final year of basketball eligibility at a four-year institution or have graduated within the past year. In addition, the candidate's head coach has to nominate them and must be an active WBCA member. Each participant is selected based on their academics, contributions to women's basketball on and off the court, professional resume and a written recommendation from their head coach.


Softball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The 15th-ranked Mississippi State softball team hits the road again this weekend, traveling to Macon, Ga., for the 2008 Mercer Wingate Inn Classic.

State, who is off to a school second-best 11-0 start to the season, is scheduled to open the five-game slate at 9 a.m. CST Friday against a Western Kentucky squad that is receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA top 25 polls after a 4-2 start to the season. State has met the Hilltoppers just one other time previously, claiming a win in Tampa, Fla., during the 2006 season. The Bulldogs close out Friday's opening day of action with a 3 p.m. meeting with Austin Peay, a team that State holds a 4-0 series advantage over.

The Bulldogs will face Nicholls State Saturday at 11 a.m. CST and host Mercer at 3 p.m. MState is meeting Nicholls State for the 10th time. NSU holds a 7-2 advantage in the series, but State claimed the win in the last meeting, an 8-0 win in Plant City, Fla., during the 2002 season. State will be meeting Mercer for the second time ever, as MSU won the first meeting, which came at the Long Beach State Invitational in 2006.

Live stats for all of MSU's games will be available through www.mstateathletics.com. A video stream of Saturday's game with Mercer will be available on the internet on an on-demand basis ($5.99) by A-Sun TV, the broadband network of the Atlantic Sun Conference (www.asun.tv).

Sophomore Chelsea Bramlett looks to continue her hot start at the plate this weekend. The Cordova, Tenn., native leads the team in batting average (.605), hits (23), triples (2), RBI (10), runs (12) and stolen bases (10-for-10). Senior Nakita Boyce has enjoyed a stellar start to her final season, hitting .387 with a team second-best eight stolen bases. Boyce drove in a pair of runs last weekend, and she upped her run total to nine on the year.

The MSU pitching staff ranks among the conference's best so far this season. Kelsey Nurnberg is off to a 6-0 start, while freshman Misty Flesher earned SEC Freshman of the Week accolades after moving to 4-0 on the year with a pair of wins last weekend. Fellow rookie Elizabeth Woolven earned her first collegiate win and save in helping State to the Bulldog Round-Robin championship.

The pitching staff has been supported by a stellar defense. The Bulldogs currently hold the league's second-best fielding percentage (.975) and lead the conference with seven double plays.


Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Lady Bulldog tennis team hosts Troy and #59 South Alabama this weekend at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The match with the Troy Trojans is set for 2 p.m. CT on Friday, while Sunday's contest against the Jaguars of USA is slated for 1 p.m.

The match versus Troy will serve as the fifth ever meeting between the two schools. MSU defeated Troy 4-2 in Starkville on Feb. 10, 2007, in the two teams' last match. The Trojans enter the match 2-5 with four of their five losses coming against teams ranked in the top 40 nationally.

The match on Sunday will mark the 25th meeting between State and South Alabama. The Jaguars come into the match with a 5-0 record and have won eight out of the last nine against the Lady Bulldogs.

MSU enters this weekend's action coming off a 7-0 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday. The Lady Bulldogs are 4-0 and are off to their best start since 2005 when they started 6-0.

"Our girls have been playing great this season," said head coach Tracy Lane. "This weekend's matches are going to be a good test for our team and they will let us know where we stand heading into SEC play."

Following this weekend's action, the Lady Bulldogs will begin SEC play by finishing up their eight-match homestand by hosting #4 Georgia [Friday, Feb. 29, 2 p.m.] and #23 Tennessee [Sunday, Mar. 2, 1 p.m.] at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.


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