News from MSU Media Relations--April 3

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Softball, Men's Basketball, Track & Field and Football.

Softball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Coming off their win at the 2008 Bully Bash, the Mississippi State University softball team continues Southeastern Conference action Thursday hosting the Kentucky Wildcats. First pitch for the doubleheader is set for 4 p.m. from the MSU Softball Field. Thursday's second game, scheduled for a 6 p.m. start, will be broadcast live on WMSV 91.1 and online at http://www.wmsv.msstate.edu/.

The Bulldogs enter the game at 30-11 on the year (4-7 SEC) and are playing in their first contest since Sunday afternoon. Tuesday's scheduled contest at Mississippi Valley State was canceled due to rain.

Chelsea Bramlett continues to pace the Bulldogs at the plate this season, hitting at a .428 clip with a team high 38 runs and 34-of-35 stolen bases. Bramlett has hit two doubles, three triples and a pair of home runs, including the Bulldogs' second inside-the-park home run of the season, during the Bully Bash.

Senior Courtney Bures continues to climb the batting charts for the Bulldogs as she improved her average to .397 with a .500 (10-for-20) week at the plate that included eight RBI which moved her into second place on the all-time career RBI chart. Bures leads the team with 10 doubles and 29 RBI, and she has scored 26 times, third most on the team, while contributing a triple and a team second-best three home runs.

Freshman Jessie Spain also performed well at the plate for MSU last week. Spain hit .500 on the week and launched her first career home run against LSU on Wednesday. During the Bully Bash, Spain went 4-for-8 at the plate, drove in two runs, scored five times and collected a pair of doubles.

Kentucky enters the game at 13-19 on the year and 1-8 in league play. The Wildcats fell to Indiana in two contests Tuesday afternoon at the UK Softball Complex. UK and the Hooisers combined for 29 runs in the second game, which saw IU come out on top 16-13. The Hooisers won game one, 5-4.

Following Thursdays' game, MState welcomes third-ranked Florida to the MSU Softball Field. The Bulldogs and Gators begin their three-game series with a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday's single game is set for 1 p.m.


Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State senior forward Charles Rhodes has been selected to participate in the 2008 DiGiorno College All-Star Game in San Antonio as part of this week's NCAA Final Four festivities.

Scheduled to be televised by CSTV and organized by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), tip-off time for Friday's all-star game featuring senior collegiate players is set for 5 p.m. CT at the Alamodome.

Slated to compete for the American All-Stars, guided by former South Carolina head coach Dave Odom, Rhodes looks to be teamed with Georgia's Sundiata Gaines. Among other senior notables scheduled to play for the American All-Stars are David Padgett of Louisville, Butler's Mike Green and Brian Butch of Wisconsin. Expected participants on the National All-Stars include SEC standouts Kentucky's Ramel Bradley and SEC Player of the Year Shan Foster of Vanderbilt, along with Jonathan Wallace of Georgetown, Clemson's Cliff Hammonds, Duke's DeMarcus Nelson and Josh Duncan of Xavier. The National All-Stars are set to be guided by Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell.

A first-team all-SEC selection as a senior by a vote of the league's head coaches, Rhodes ranks sixth in the SEC in scoring (17.4 ppg), fourth in rebounding (7.8 rpg), sixth in field-goal percentage (.562) and tied for 10th in blocks (1.35 bpg) for all games. The three-time all-SEC performer averaged 22.6 points and 9.2 rebounds an outing over his last nine contests this past season, including a career-high 34 points on 10-of-12 field goals and 14-of-18 free throws in the Bulldogs' first-round NCAA Tournament victory over Oregon at the Little Rock-hosted South Regional.

With six double-doubles over his last 15 games of the 2007-08 campaign, Rhodes is ranked third in the SEC with 10 double-doubles on the season. The 6-foot-8, 245-pound veteran finished with 16 career double-doubles, including a 14-point, 10-rebound effort against second-ranked and Final Four-bound Memphis in the second round of this year's NCAA Tournament.

Named to the NABC All-District 6 Second Team and chosen as a finalist for the Cellular South Howell Trophy Award for the second time in three years this past season , Rhodes completes his 110-game Mississippi State career ranked 11th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,451 career points and also 11th all-time with 691 career rebounds. The former Jackson Lanier High School product also owns MSU's all-time standard with 183 career dunks, along with standing seventh on the school's all-time list with 567 career field goals made and ninth with 307 career free throws made.


Track & Field
AUSTIN, Texas. - Senior Pad Judd used a personal-best time of nine minutes, 8.22 seconds to split away from the competition in the B section of the 3000-meter steeplechase to claim the first-place spot in the event on the opening day of the 81st Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. The relays continue tomorrow in Austin, Texas at the Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.

The Cushing, Wis.-native's time is fourth all-time at MSU, passing former track and field athlete Mzee Ruto's time of 9:08.40 set in 1983. Judd beat out the next competitor in the race by 4:83 en route to his victory.

In MSU's lone women's action, freshman Simone Domingue ran in the 5000-meter run portion of the meet, earning sixth place with a time of 17:46.68.

In the last event of the opening day, the 5000-meter run, senior Ashenafi Arega finished in a personal-best 14:35.49 to take seventh place. Junior Robert Scribner was the second MSU finisher, crossing the line in 10th place in 14:54.43. Freshman Adam Lenz also finished in the top 15 of the race.

"I thought Simone (Domingue) had a great race," said MSU Head Coach Al Schmidt. "She ran into a heat problem, but she still finished okay. Ashenafi (Arega)'s 5000-meter time was a personal best, so we were real pleased with that. Pad (Judd) just missed regionally qualifying and that was a big improvement for him. Tomorrow we have some big races."

MState picks up action tomorrow with senior Kyle Roberts taking part in the 400-meter hurdle preliminaries at 5 p.m.

To follow all the action from the Mike A. Myers Stadium at UT, go to www.texassports.com. Live results will be posted throughout the event. For video coverage of the Texas Relays, go to www.flotrack.org.


Football
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Rising seniors Jamayel Smith and Dominic Douglas were named the top offensive and defensive players of the spring, head football coach Sylvester Croom announced on Tuesday. Senior offensive lineman Michael Gates and junior defensive lineman Kyle Love were also recognized as the most improved players on each side of the ball.

Smith, a wide receiver from East Point, Ga., led the Bulldogs with 33 receptions for 510 yards in 2007. He also paced the team with six receptions for 135 yards in a pair of spring scrimmages last week.

Douglas was the team's second-leading tackler a season ago at his weakside linebacker position. A native of Clinton, Miss., he was recognized for his performance despite missing the last week of the spring practice sessions with an injured shoulder.

Gates started the final two games of the 2007 campaign and returned to his starting role at right guard throughout the spring. Love earned starts nine games a year ago and solidified his position in the interior of the defensive front during an outstanding 15 spring practices.


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