News from MSU Media Relations--March 24

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

Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Following an 18-day layoff, the Mississippi State women's basketball team (16-14) faces the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (20-13) in second-round action in the 2008 Women's National Invitation Tournament Monday evening. Tipoff from Hattiesburg's Reed Green Coliseum is set for 7 p.m. WFCA 107.9 FM will broadcast the game locally and free audio will be available via Maroon to the Max, MSU's online subscription based service.

The Lady Bulldogs are competing in the postseason for the ninth time under Head Coach Sharon Fanning. MState is 4-5 in four previous WNIT appearances. MSU received a first round bye for the second consecutive season and are facing the Golden Eagles for the second time this season. State previously defeated USM 77-56 in Starkville on Nov. 29, 2007.

Southern Mississippi enters Thursday night's game 20-13 on the year. USM fell to UTEP in the Conference USA semifinals and defeated Arkansas-Little Rock on Thursday evening (67-57) to advance to the second round of the WNIT. The Golden Eagles are led by Pauline Love who averages 16.4 points per game and brings down 10.4 rebounds. Andrea Barber leads the team in assists, dishing the ball out 6.3 times each game.

Sophomore Alexis Rack continues to lead MSU in scoring. The Franklin, La.,-native averages 11.7 points per contest followed closely by classmate Tysheka Grimes with 11.0 points each time out. Grimes also leads the team in rebounding with 6.7 boards per game. Junior point guard Marneshia Richard averages 4.7 assists per game and is seeking to add to her junior class single season record (136). State is seeking to snap its season-longest three-game losing streak.

Fans interested in viewing Monday night's game can watch free video courtesy of

The winner of the MSU-USM contest faces the winner of Monday's VCU/Michigan matchup on a date to be determined.

Men's Tennis
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team dropped a close 5-2 decision to 18th-ranked Florida Sunday at the Ring Tennis Complex on the Florida campus. State fell to 8-6 overall and 2-4 in conference play with the loss.

UF gained early control in a very closely contested doubles point. The first match complete came on court #2 as the MSU tandem of Ryan Farlow and Pjotrs Necajevs fell 8-3 to UF's Nestor Briceno and Alex Lacroix. On court #1, Ivan Bjelica and Philippe Frayssinoux downed Florida's Jeff Dadamo and Greg Ouellette 8-5 to send the decision to court #3. Despite an early break on court 3, State's team of Chris Doerr and Tanner Stump dropped a close 8-6 match to UF's Tyler Hochwalt and Geoffrey Barton, giving Florida the 1-0 lead.

The Gators took a 2-0 lead when UF's Corace topped MSU's Stump 6-1, 6-2 on court #6. Florida then pushed the lead to 3-0 as Hochwalt defeated State's Artem Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-4 on court #5. The clinching point for UF came on court #4 as Florida's Dadamo defeated MSU's Antonio Lastre 6-2, 6-4. Florida took a 4-0 lead when UF's Lacroix outlasted State's Farlow 6-4, 7-5 on court #3. MSU's 50th-ranked Frayssinoux gave State its first point as he defeated UF's Briceno 6-2, 7-5 on court #2. In the final match on court #1, MSU's 37th-ranked Bjelica rallied to upend third-ranked Ouellette 4-6, 6-4, 1-0(3) on court #1 and close the scoring at 5-2.

"We are getting better in doubles and should have won the doubles point today," said MSU head coach Per Nilsson. "Losing it hurt us in the beginning of singles. We need to be ready for singles either way. It is something we discussed after the match and it will not happen again. The guys are starting to believe they can beat top-10 teams and it is only a matter of time before we break through. UF played hard as they are one of the best teams in the country, but we are catching up."

With the loss, State now trails Florida 27-14 in the all-time series. Florida also won their seventh straight over the Bulldogs on Sunday. Frayssinoux won his fifth-straight while Bjelica improved to 4-1 in Southeastern Conference play.

MSU will continue action on the road next weekend as the Bulldogs travel to Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 28 to face Kentucky, followed by a matchup Sunday, March 30 with Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's women's tennis team fell to fourth-ranked Florida 7-0 Sunday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The Lady Bulldogs dropped to 7-7 overall with the loss and 0-6 in league play. Florida improved to 12-1, 6-0.

UF started the match grabbing the doubles point. On court No. 3, the State duo of Valeriya Makarycheva and DeAndra Saddler fell to the 44th-ranked Florida duo of Julia Cohen and Anastasia Revzina 8-2. Then, on court No. 1, Florida's Whitney Benik and Csilla Borsanyi defeated MSU's Martina Banikova and Elna de Villiers 8-2 to claim the doubles point. In the final doubles match, State's Radka Ferancova and Renee Joseph fell to UF's Megan Alexander and Lolita Frangulyan 8-3. It marks the first time all season the Lady Bulldogs have been swept in doubles play.

In singles action, Florida took a 3-0 match lead with straight-set victories in the first two matches completed. On court No. 3, the 177th-ranked Alexander defeated Ferancova 6-0, 6-3. Then, on court No. 5, Saddler would fall to #93 Revzina 6-3, 6-2.

The match clincher would come on court No. 2 where Florida's 28th-ranked Cohen defeated State's Joseph 6-0, 6-2.

UF then secured the final three matches to complete the sweep of the Lady Bulldogs. At the No. 6 position, Makarycheva was ousted by Frangulyan 6-1, 6-3. On court No. 4, MSU's de Villiers fell to Benik 6-2, 6-4. In the last singles match, UF's 36th-ranked Cohen claimed victory over Banikova 7-6(5), 6-4 at No. 1 to give the Gators the 7-0 team victory.

Mississippi State will remain at home next weekend when they host #23 Kentucky on Friday, March 28, at 2 p.m. CT. On Sunday, March 30, the Lady Bulldogs will welcome 11th-ranked Vanderbilt at 1 p.m. to close out 2008 Super Bulldog weekend festivities.

Men's Golf
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's golf team will compete in the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate for the third-straight season and fifth all-time. The Bulldogs will tee off Monday, March 24 for the first two rounds and finish the third round on Tuesday, March 25 at the par 72 Herron Lakes Country Club.

"This is the third year in a row our guys have competed here in Mobile, so fortunately this is a very familiar course for our players," said Coach Clay Homan.

MSU will send their starting five in addition to three players competing as individuals. The starting five for the Bulldogs will be a quartet of juniors Noah Goldman, Carlos Sainz, Jr., Matt Fast, Josh Bevell and senior Josh Oller. Senior Jake Lambert, junior Logan Young and freshman Brad Thompson will compete as individuals.

"We have had a good week of practice and just need to take this as an opportunity to turn things around as we near postseason play," said Homan.

MSU will play in a field of 11 other familiar opponents that include Louisville, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, South Florida, Chattanooga, Davidson, Eastern Michigan, Hartford, Mercer, Xavier and host-school South Alabama.

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