News from MSU Media Relations--February 1

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

Track & Field
ALBERQUERQUE, N.M. - Lady Bulldog track and field stand out, Marrissa Harris, repeats her success with a second season win and NCAA provisional mark. The Memphis, Tenn.-native scored 3,874 points Friday to take first place in the pentathlon at the New Mexico Invitational. Harris now has provisionally qualified in the 60-meter hurdles and pentathlon for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Junior LaQuinta Aaron scored 2,816 points respectively to finish in fifth place for her first appearance in the multi event this season. Both Harris and Aaron will continue their season with the entire team on Feb. 7 at the Kentucky Invitational in Lexington.

Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - With a 16-5 overall record and a 3-3 mark in Southeastern Conference play, the Mississippi State women's basketball team will travel to Athens, Ga., Sunday to face the University of Georgia in a key SEC game for both teams. Game time at UGA's Stegeman Coliseum is set for 1:30 p.m. CT.

State is coming off of a 97-33 win this past Thursday over non-conference foe Savannah State in Starkville. The Lady Bulldogs closed out the regular season with a 13-2 non-conference record.

Junior guard Alexis Rack continues to pace MSU in scoring, averaging 13.4 points a game. Rack notched her second career double-double with 11 points and 12 assists against Savannah State. Armelie Lumanu is averaging 12.3 points a game and leads State with 53 steals this season. Junior Chanel Mokango is also averaging double figures, scoring 11.3 points a game on average.

Also on Sunday, head coach Sharon Fanning will be gunning for her 550th career victory. In her 33rd season overall and her 14th at Mississippi State, Fanning has amassed 226 victories while in Starkville.

Georgia (14-7, 4-2 SEC), is coming off a 67-58 win over #4 Auburn this past Thursday in Athens. After starting the season just 10-5, UGA has won three in a row and five of its last six. Georgia is led by junior guard Ashley Houts who is averaging 12.1 points a game. Junior Forward Angel Robinson is scoring 10.9 points a game while sophomore forward Porsha Phillips has a 10.0 point average.

Georgia leads the all-time series 22-10 and hold a 10-3 advantage in Athens. State's last win at Georgia came in 2002 when MSU defeated UGA 72-71.

Following Sunday's game, Mississippi State will return home for a pair of conference games beginning with a showdown against Vanderbilt on Thursday. Tip time against the Commodores is set for 7 p.m. at the Humphrey Coliseum.

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss., - Continuing on their impressive start to the 2009 season, the Mississippi State women's tennis team (3-0) picked up win number three on the year, ousting Louisiana-Monroe (1-1) 6-1 Saturday afternoon at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

"It was good to pick up a victory at home today. I expected us to play a little tight, and we did early on," said Head Coach Tracy Lane. "We are just looking for a little more consistency, but we are pleased with where we are right now."

The Lady Bulldogs started the day strong through doubles play. The rookie tandem of Natalia Mayuk and Olesya Tsigvintseva continued their excellent start to their Lady Bulldog careers, picking up the quick 8-0 victory at court No. 1 over ULM's duo of Ana Burjaili and Lena Satge. Clinching the doubles point for State, the senior pair of Elna de Villiers and Martina Banikova ousted ULM's Sharon Makhanya and Monica Winkel at position No. 2. The Lady Bulldog duo of Radka Ferancova and Daniela Juskova fell to the Warhwaks' Marion Lehmann and Claire Clark at the No. 3 position.

With a 1-0 lead after doubles, MSU set its sights on the singles courts. Junior Radka Ferancova picked up an early straight-set 6-0, 6-0 victory at court No. 3 to give the Lady Bulldogs their second point of the match. Following her lead, MSU then picked up three more straight-set victories on the day. Banikova defeated Burjaili of ULM 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 1 position.

The match-clinching victory came from freshman Tsigvintseva who posted another straight-set 6-0, 6-0 blanking of the Warhawk's Satge.

In other singles action, de Villiers powered past Makhanya of ULM for a straight-set 6-2, 6-2 win, while Mayuk gave State its final point in the match with a close 3-6, 6-2, (7) win over Lehmann of Louisiana-Monroe at the No. 5 position. Junior Valeriya Makarycheva posted MSU's lone loss in a 7-5, 6-3 loss to Clark of ULM at position No. 6.

The Lady Bulldogs will be back in action looking for their fourth win of the season when they host Troy next Saturday, Feb. 7 at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

Men's Tennis
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Mississippi State's men's tennis team registered a solid victory Saturday evening in their second match as part of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Kickoff Weekend, as the 56th-ranked Bulldogs shut out 49th-ranked St. Mary's 4-0 on the USC campus.

The Bulldogs (1-1) looked very impressive against the Gaels (1-3) in both doubles and and singles.

To start the match, State registered identical 8-2 wins at the No. 2 and 3 positions to claim the first point between the teams. At No. 2, MSU's Antonio Lastre and Daniel Sanchez downed the SMC duo of Steve Dawson-Roberts and Lucas Tirelli (SMC). On court 3, the rookie State tandem of Louis Cant and Artem Ilyushin bested Achim Christner and Andrea Zannoni. Bulldogs Chris Doerr and Tanner Stump were also just a game away from victory, leading 7-2 in their contest at the top spot, when play was suspended after the Bulldogs clinched the point.

MSU took little time in dispensing of the Gaels in singles either, posting straight-set triumphs at the bottom three positions in the lineup to sure up the team win.

Giving MSU a 2-0 lead was the freshman Cant, who dispatched St. Mary's Hamdy 6-0, 6-2 at the No. 4 spot. Following suit was the sophomore Lastre with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over SMC's Zannoni at No. 5.

The match clincher would be provided by the Bulldog junior Doerr who cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Yousse El Bouzkouri at No. 6. State held one-set leads on two of the remaining three courts when play was suspended at that point.

"It felt good to bounce back with a good win after losing our opener yesterday," MSU head coach Per Nilsson said. "As young as we are - with three true freshmen in the lineup - we just aren't quite there physically yet. But our guys are recognizing that and are ready to work to get better. This was a solid victory against a quality opponent."

The Bulldogs next meet arch-rival Ole Miss in the annual River Hills Cup in Jackson. The battle will take place at River Hills Club this Thursday, Feb. 5, at 5 p.m. CT.

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