News from MSU Media Relations--March 4

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

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Spurred by last week's career-best, 30-point performance against Auburn, Mississippi State senior forward Charles Rhodes has been named the SEC Men's Basketball Player of the Week. The announcement was made Monday by the league office headquartered in Birmingham.

With his first-ever weekly league honor, Rhodes becomes the third different Bulldog player this season to garner the SEC's player of the week recognition. Earlier this year, junior all-America candidate Jamont Gordon and sophomore guard Barry Stewart earned the laurel on Jan. 21 and Dec. 31, respectively. Now with three selections on the year, State joins current SEC leader Tennessee as the only two schools to have more than one individual collect the league's weekly honor this season. The only two previous times that MSU has had three SEC Player of the Week recipients in the same season came during the team's 2003-04 SEC championship season (Lawrence Roberts-twice & Timmy Bowers) and the club's 1995-96 Final Four campaign (Darryl Wilson-twice & Erick Dampier).

A preseason All-SEC First Team selection by the league's head coaches, Rhodes averaged 22.5 points on 63 percent field-goal shooting (17-of-27 FGs) and 71 percent from the line (10-of-14 FTs), along with 8.5 rebounds, for the week in helping lead coach Rick Stansbury's SEC West Champion Bulldogs to an 89-78 home win over Auburn and a 68-59 road triumph over Florida. The Jackson native began the week by pumping in a career-high 30 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 from the line, in addition to pulling down nine rebounds against Auburn. Rhodes became the first Mississippi State player to score 30 points in a game since Winsome Frazier tallied 30 points against UMKC in 2004-05 and the first to do so for the Bulldogs in an SEC game since Mario Austin scored 30 versus Arkansas in 2001-02. After ranking as the SEC's third-leading scorer (22.0 ppg) during the month of February behind Vanderbilt's Shan Foster and Sundiata Gaines of Georgia, Rhodes capped MSU's 2-0 week and tipped off the month of March by adding 15 points and eight rebounds in Saturday's nine-point win in Gainesville.

A second-team all-SEC recipient each of the previous two seasons, Rhodes enters the week ranked ninth in the conference in scoring (16.2 ppg), seventh in rebounding (7.4 rpg), sixth in field-goal percentage (.560) and 10th in blocked shots (1.32 bpg) for all games. In league action, the former Jackson Lanier product stands tied for 10th in scoring (16.7 ppg), eighth in rebounding (7.5 rpg), fourth in field-goal percentage (.567) and ninth in blocks (1.31 bpg). Averaging 19.2 points over his last 10 contests, Rhodes also ranks fifth in the SEC with seven double-doubles on the year, including three double-double efforts in his last nine outings. In addition, he has also come up just one rebound shy of posting three more double-doubles (Auburn, at South Carolina & Alabama) and was two boards away at Florida from another double-double during his recent nine-game stretch.

One of two senior players set to be recognized prior to Saturday's home contest against the LSU Tigers, Rhodes is presently ranked 11th on MSU's all-time scoring list with 1,317 career points, 14th with 634 career rebounds and sixth with 134 career blocks. He also stands just outside the school's all-time top-10 leaders for career field-goal percentage (.560), which includes a school-record 166 career dunks (51 this season).


Softball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State softball team returns home Tuesday night to host UAB in a game set for a 6 p.m. first pitch at the MSU Softball Field.

The Bulldogs venture back to campus after traveling to Columbus, Ga., over the weekend for the 2008 NFCA Leadoff Classic, where MSU went 3-2.

The meeting with the Blazers is the first this season, as last week's scheduled meeting in Birmingham was cancelled by heavy rains and extreme cold temperatures.

MSU leads the series 8-1 and has won the last six games, including a pair of victories last season.

Sophomore Chelsea Bramlett continues to pace the Bulldogs at the plate. The Cordova, Tenn., native jumped her average to .457 after going 3-for-4 and driving in the game-winning run in State's 3-2 win over UMass on Sunday. Bramlett has driven in a team second-best 16 runs on the year and scored 15 more while stealing 15-of-15 bases.

Senior Courtney Bures earned all-tournament honors for the second straight weekend as she put together a .429 Leadoff Classic that included a double, two RBI and two runs scored. On the year, the Haymarket, Va., native and recent draft pick of National Pro Fastpitch's Washington Glory is hitting .322 with two home runs, four doubles, 10 RBI and 12 runs scored.

In the circle, freshman Elizabeth Woolven had an outstanding weekend for the Maroon & White. The Nettleton, Miss., native picked up two wins to move to 3-0 on the year. Woolven, who has a 063 earned-run average, struck out a career-best five on Sunday as she hurled four and a third scoreless innings against the Minutewomen.

Following Tuesday's non-conference showdown, State closes out the pre-conference slate this weekend by hosting Louisiana Tech, Charleston Southern and Austin Peay in the Bulldog Classic.


Men's Golf
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Mississippi State men's golf team concluded play at the Seminole Intercollegiate on Monday after combining rounds two and three into one day due to predicted hazardous weather for the area on Tuesday. MSU finished in 12th place after a three round score of 900 for 36-over-par.

After round one, the Bulldogs were in 10th place after a round of 294 and their scores escalated in rounds two and three with a 302 and 304. The 16-over-par 304 shot in round three is the highest round shot by a Clay Homan-led squad since the second round of the SEC Championship last season.

"We did not play as well overall today," said Coach Clay Homan. "We missed several green shots and when you struggle with those shots and can't recover putting it hurts you."

Junior Carlos Sainz, Jr. finished in the top 20 for the second time this season as the Elgin, Ill.-native fired a 3-over-par 219 at the event. Sainz shot even par for the course through rounds one and two but slipped with a 3-over-par showing in round three. It was also the second time the junior was the top finisher for the Bulldogs this season. Reigning SEC golfer of the week Noah Goldman notched a 224 through three rounds for an 8-over-par despite a 1-under-par showing in round one. Senior Josh Oller finished among the top 50 in the individual field, posting three consecutive scores of 76 for 12-over-par. Junior Josh Bevell finished one stroke shy of Oller with a 229 after posting consistent scores of 75, 77 and 77 through three rounds. Senior Jake Lambert finished the tournament with a score of 234.

"Carlos played very well today," said Homan. "He hit the ball nicely all three rounds and his play was definitely our most consistent of the tournament."

The 12th place finish snaps a streak of five consecutive top five finishes posted by the Bulldogs. The streak is the highest in the Homan era and tied a school record for most consecutive top five finishes. MSU will look to rebound at the Linger Longer Invitational in Greensboro, Ga. on March 14.


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