News from MSU Media Relations--April 10

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

MSU Athletics
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State placed 10 male and female student-athletes on the 2007-08 Southeastern Conference Winter Academic Honor Roll, the league office announced Wednesday.

MSU's 10 honorees match Alabama and Kentucky for the most student-athletes on the list, in sports in which State competes. MState placed eight women's basketball players and two men's hoopsters on the league's honor roll.

Tennessee (8) followed MSU, Alabama and Kentucky on the list, with Georgia (6), Florida and South Carolina (5), Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Auburn (4), LSU and Ole Miss (3) rounding out the honor roll in the sports in which Mississippi State competes.

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Billy Begley has capped his Bulldog basketball career by earning academic honor roll recognition from the Southeastern Conference for the fifth consecutive year. Begley and sophomore teammate Joseph Iupe have been named to the 2007-08 SEC Winter Academic Honor Roll, as announced Wednesday by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.

A fifth-year senior guard from Henderson, Ky., Begley has earned his fourth straight selection to the SEC Academic Honor Roll after garnering SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll status as a collegiate rookie in 2003-04. Begley joins former MSU basketball student-athletes Wesley Morgan (2003-06) and Whit Hughes (1995-98) as four-time SEC Academic Honor Roll recipients.

This year's MState representative on the SEC Men's Basketball Community Service Team, Begley is currently pursuing his master's degree in business administration (MBA) after receiving his bachelor's degree in business management with cum laude honors (3.52 cumulative GPA) last year. Along with having earned the Newsom Award for maintaining the highest GPA on the Bulldog basketball team, Begley is a two-time Dean's List Scholar.

Having formerly prepped at Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts and Webster County High School in Dixon, Ky., Begley served as a three-time team co-captain for coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs. During his five-year collegiate career in Starkville, Begley was a part of three NCAA Tournament teams, an NIT semifinalist club, one SEC championship squad, and three SEC Western Division title teams.

A sophomore walk-on guard from Madison, Iupe made this year's SEC Academic Honor Roll after collecting SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll laurels a season ago. The former Madison Central High School letterman is majoring in accounting at MSU.

With this year's pair of SEC Academic Honor Roll recipients, the Bulldogs trail only the University of Florida for the most total men's basketball academic honorees during the past 10 seasons. Dating back to the 1998-99 campaign, Mississippi State's 29 total honor roll recipients trail only the 35 compiled by Florida during the past decade. LSU is third with 28 selections, followed by Alabama and Vanderbilt with 26 apiece.

Encompassing the winter sports of basketball, gymnastics, swimming & diving, rifle and bowling, a total of 367 student-athletes were named to the 2007-08 SEC Winter Academic Honor Roll, which is based on grades from the 2007 Spring, Summer and Fall terms.

Women's Tennis
BATON ROUGE, La. - After Friday's match was suspended until Wednesday due to rain, Mississippi State's women's tennis team fought hard but ultimately fell to 30th-ranked LSU 5-1 Wednesday in Baton Rouge in the conclusion of the contest. State dropped to 7-11 overall with the loss, 0-10 in SEC play. LSU moved 12-8, 5-5 on the season.

LSU grabbed the early lead with three straight-set victories that ended before the rains came on Friday. At No. 1 singles 18th-ranked Megan Falcon defeated Martina Banikova 6-0, 6-2. LSU took a 2-0 advantage when Hannah Robinson completed a 6-1, 6-2 victory over MSU's Radka Ferancova at the No. 3 position. LSU went up 3-0 when Mykala Hedberg provided a 6-2, 6-3 win over State's 112th-ranked Renee Joseph at No. 2.

Play was resumed Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. and MSU's Valeriya Makarycheva posted a 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 win over Tiffany Tucker of LSU at the No. 5 position to start the morning.

The match-clincher for the Tigers would come at the No. 6 spot, where LSU's Staten Spencer bested State's Tatiana Feit 7-5, 6-3.

In the last match, LSU's Nicole Kantor would outlast MSU's Elna de Villiers 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on court number 4.

Doubles matches were not contested.

State concludes the 2008 regular season this Saturday, April 12, at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on campus against in-state rival Mississippi at 1 p.m. CT.

Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State University women's basketball team placed a program and league-best eight student-athletes on the 2008 Southeastern Conference Winter Academic Honor Roll, as announced by the league office in Birmingham today. Senior Amy Reeder and juniors Robin Porter, Marneshia Richard and Lauren Roberts earned the honor for the third consecutive year.

Senior Miayorka Johnson and sophomore Bethany Washington were named to the team for the second straight year, while senior Imesia Jackson and sophomore Carrie Landers were named for the first time.

A native of Pontotoc, Miss., Reeder has received the Newsom Academic Award the past two seasons, an annual award given to the top MSU student-athlete in each sport. The fitness management major saw action in 19 games this season.

Porter, a clinical exercise physiology major from Abbeville, Ala., saw action in all 31 games this past season, starting in 28 of those. She ended her junior campaign averaging 6.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest.

Richard, a civil engineering major from Lamar, Miss., played in 30 games this season. Starting in all 30 of those games, Richard broke the junior single season record for assists with 138. She ended the season averaging 9.8 points per game, while shooting 77.5 percent from the free throw line.

Earlier this season, Richard was named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District Second Team. She has been named to the Dean's List every semester at MSU and received the Robert H. Wood Civil Engineering Scholarship. Richard is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and MClub, MState's student-athlete community service organization. She was also Mississippi State's nominee for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 SEC Women's Basketball Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Roberts, a marketing major from Collierville, Tenn., played 15 contests this season. Johnson, an educational psychology major from Ripley, Miss., saw action in 20 contests this past year.

Jackson, a local product from Crawford, finished her senior campaign with 7.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Landers a walk-on from Paragould, Ark., saw limited action throughout the year.

Amongst women's basketball programs in the league, MSU led the way with eight selections. Georgia and Kentucky placed five each, while South Carolina and Alabama added four. Tennessee added three, while Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi and Vanderbilt had two recipients each. The 2007-08 SEC Winter Academic Honor Roll is based on grades from the 2007 spring, summer and fall terms.

In Sharon Fanning's 13 seasons at the helm of the program, a total of 60 student-athletes have earned SEC Academic Honor Roll honors.

The 2008 SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll will be announced later this year.

Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's track and field squad earned a tenth-place ranking in the first United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association poll, as released by the national organization on Wednesday.

State is one of seven Southeastern Conference teams ranked in the 25-team poll, joining Florida (#2), LSU (#4), Alabama (#9), Auburn (#12), Tennessee (#17) and South Carolina (#21).

Texas A&M used a strong team finish at the Texas Relays to jump 19 spots from their position in the preseason poll to claim in the top spot in the first poll of the season. BYU (#8), Alabama (#9) and MSU are ranked in this poll after not being ranked in the preseason poll.

The 2008 USTFCCCA Division I Rankings will be released on Wednesdays during the outdoor season. More information on the rankings can be read at

Senior Golden Coachman, MSU's 800-meter record holder, is ranked fourth in the nation according to RunnerSpace in the 800-meter run for the third straight week. The Birmingham, Ala.-native has already qualified for the Mideast Regional via his one minute, 49.19 second-time he ran at the Jace Lacoste Invitational en route to a first-place finish.

The Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs return to action Saturday, April 12, participating in SEC and in-state rival Mississippi's Mississippi Invitational. Competition begins at 10 a.m. from the Ole Miss Track and Field Complex.

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