News from MSU Media Relations--January 2

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Women's Basketball.

Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Eighteen days removed from their last home game, the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs return to the Humphrey Coliseum Friday to host UAB. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

State, (11-1) enters Friday's game coming off a seven point defeat at 15th-ranked Maryland Tuesday, its first loss of the season. Prior to that setback, MSU had matched a school record with 11 wins to open the season. The Lady Bulldogs are currently led in scoring by junior Armelie Lumanu who is averaging 14.1 points a game and adds 6.5 rebounds a contest. After a season high 27-point performance against Maryland, junior Alexis Rack enters Friday's game with a 13.8 ppg average.

As a team, Mississippi State ranks second in the Southeastern Conference in scoring offense (77.9), fourth in scoring defense (53.9), leads the league in scoring margin (24.0) as well as blocked shots a game (7.1).

Led by fifth-year head coach Audra Smith, UAB comes into Friday's matchup with a 5-7 record this season. The Blazers are led in scoring by senior Britney Jones who is averaging 15.8 points a game. Sophomore Amanda Peterson is adding 12.3 points a game while junior Fatiha Salaam adds 11.3 points a game.

After dropping four of its first five games this season, UAB has rebounded to win four of its last seven games. Most recently, the Blazers won a 65-53 game over Alabama A&M.

The all-time series between the two teams is tied 13-13 dating back to 1979. The Lady Bulldogs have won the last six of ten in the series and have won two straight.

After Friday's game, Mississippi State will have a quick turnaround, as they host Xavier Sunday at 2 p.m.

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Looking to avoid its second-consecutive home loss this week, Mississippi State returns to Humphrey Coliseum on Saturday to face Houston at 3 p.m. in a game televised by CSS.

It's the second time in as many games the Bulldogs (8-5) are on television and the fifth time this season. Currently, MSU is 0-4 in televised affairs. Jim Ellis and Shane Power will handle the TV coverage.

The Cougars, who are coming off an 80-54 rout of UMass on Tuesday, sport an 8-2 ledger and are 5-0 all-time against MSU. However, the two teams haven't played since November of 1983, when Houston claimed a 68-62 win in Starkville.

Following Saturday's action, the Bulldogs have their final non-conference tuneup at 7 p.m. on Monday at home against Western Kentucky, also on CSS. Then on Jan. 10, SEC play begins when MSU travels to Arkansas.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Ben Pollard, who has served the past two seasons as Mississippi State's head strength and conditioning coach, has been re-assigned within the athletic department, MSU Director of Athletics Greg Byrne announced Thursday.

A veteran of 11 years as the head strength and conditioning coach at Division I-A institutions, Pollard came to Mississippi State from Texas A&M. He also served in the same positions at Alabama and Texas Christian University.

Born in McKeesport, Pa., but raised in Lubbock, Texas, Pollard is a 1984 graduate of Texas Tech University.

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