News from MSU Media Relations--March 5

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Football, Women's Basketball, Softball and Baseball.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State university athletic department released the official logo, slogan and commercial of its annual Super Bulldog Weekend on Wednesday. Scheduled for April 17-19, the weekend will be presented by Regions Bank and feature various events around the Mississippi State campus and throughout Starkville.

With a theme of "Spread the Fun," a play on the varied offensive system of new head football coach Dan Mullen as well as the athletic department's efforts to encourage fans and alumni to bring as many friends as possible to enjoy the weekend's festivities, the department wants to highlight the "homecoming" nature of Super Bulldog Weekend.

"This really is a unique opportunity in the spring for the entire Mississippi State family to gather just like we do in the fall," Chad Thomas, athletics promotions coordinator. "It is a homecoming atmosphere, and with Coach Mullen and baseball coach John Cohen and the excitement around our athletic department and the university as a whole, we want to welcome all of our fans and alumni back for a great weekend."

A 30-second promotional television advertisement has been produced by the University Television Center and will begin airing on MetroCast Cable systems throughout the state. The ad, which highlights the diverse and exciting events happening around campus, can also be seen online at and on the athletic department's official facebook page.

Women's Basketballl
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The sixth-seeded Mississippi State women's basketball squad will open first-round play of the Southeastern Conference tournament when they face 11th-seeded South Carolina Thursday at 9 p.m. CT. The tournament will take place at the Alltel Arena in North Little Rock, Ark., and coverage of all games through the first three rounds can be seen on SEC-TV.

The Lady Bulldogs (21-8, 8-6 SEC), currently have the third best record in school history. State will be looking to match its school-best 24-8 record set by the 1999-00 team and the 2002-03 squad.

State ranks in the top half of the conference in both scoring offense and scoring defense this season. The Lady Bulldogs rank second in the conference in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 36.0 percent from the field.

First team All-SEC selection Alexis Rack continues to pace Mississippi State in scoring, averaging 14.7 points a game. Rack also leads MSU in assists and leads the SEC in three-point field goals a game and ranks third in free throw percentage, shooting 83.0 percent from the foul line. Juniors Chanel Mokango and Armelie Lumanu, who were named to the All-SEC defensive team on Tuesday, lead the Lady Bulldogs on defense. Mokango leads the conference in blocks and ranks eighth nationally, averaging 3.1 a game. Lumanu leads State in steals this season and ranks fourth in the conference, averaging 2.3 a game.

South Carolina enters Thursday's matchup with a 10-17 overall record and 2-12 in the league. Led by first year head coach Dawn Staley, the Gamecocks have seven of their last eight games. Freshman Lakeisha Sutton leads USC in scoring, averaging 11.1 points a game. Senior C.J. Pace is scoring 7.5 points a contest and leads the team in rebounds, pulling down 6.0 a game.

Mississippi State and South Carolina met on Feb. 26 during the regular season in Starkville, as the Lady Bulldogs pulled away in the second half in a 58-41 victory.

In 2003, MSU defeated South Carolina 79-75 in the only previous meeting between the two programs in the SEC Tournament.

The winner of Thursday night's first round game will advance to face third-seeded LSU on Friday at 9 p.m. CT. That game will also be carried by SEC-TV.

HONOLULU, Hawaii - The 25th-ranked Mississippi State softball team wraps up its pre-conference slate this weekend, venturing to Honolulu, Hawaii, for the Pepsi Malahini Kipa Aloha Tournament hosted by the University of Hawaii.

State (11-3) is making its inaugural trip to Hawaii. The Maroon and White will play six games beginning with a Thursday twin bill against Florida Gulf Coast (19-4) and Santa Clara (1-8) at 6 p.m. CST and 8 p.m. CST, respectively.

Head coach Jay Miller's squad will play another doubleheader on Friday, meeting Oregon State (10-10) at 7 p.m. CST before a face-off with the host Rainbow Wahine (6-11) at 9 p.m. CST. After a 3 p.m. CST meeting with Mount Saint Mary's (1-3) on Saturday, the Bulldogs will close the weekend with Radford (4-2) at 3 p.m. CST on Sunday.

Hawaii and Oregon State are the only teams in the field that State has faced before, with the Bulldogs falling short in the three previous meetings with each. The last meeting with OSU came in 2005, but all three of the team's encounters with UH have come since 2007. Two of those setbacks came last season, when Hawaii ended State's run in the NCAA Tempe (Ariz.) Regional.

The Bulldogs, who maintained their spot in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll for the second straight week, come into the weekend trying to rebound from a 7-0 loss to No. 16 Ohio State at last weekend's NFCA Leadoff Classic. The setback to the Buckeyes snapped an eight-game win streak that started Feb. 13 with a 3-2 win over Purdue at the Sunshine Classic in Tallahassee, Fla.

Junior Chelsea Bramlett continues to lead the team with a .512 batting average that ranks second in the Southeastern Conference. The Cordova, Tenn., native, who extended her hit streak to a season-long seven games, added four stolen bases against MVSU to extend her season total to a league-best 20 in 21 attempts.

Sophomore Ali Bainbridge leads the team in home runs with three on the year. The Vestavia Hills, Ala., native is hitting a team second-best .375 with 14 RBI. Bainbridge's RBI total sits one behind the team lead which is held by freshman Courtney Moore. In addition to her 15 RBI, the El Sobrante, Calif., native is hitting .357 and has collected a pair of doubles and a triple.

Senior Kelsey Nurnberg and freshman Lindsey Dunlap have seen most of the action in the circle so far this season. Nurnberg is out to a 6-0 start to her final collegiate campaign. The Ankeny, Iowa, native holds the lowest earned-run average on the team with a 1.35 mark after giving up 10 runs, seven earned, on 30 hits with 29 strikeouts over 36 1/3 innings.

Dunlap suffered her first loss of the year against the Buckeyes after winning an MSU freshman-best five straight decisions to start the season. The Hueytown, Ala., native has picked up all three of the team's saves on the year. She leads the squad in innings pitched (40 2/3) and strikeouts (35), and she has allowed nine runs on 28 hits for a 1.55 ERA.

HONOLULU, HI - Mississippi State opens its 20-game March schedule and a season-first road run Thursday in Honolulu, Hawaii when the Bulldogs (7-1) take on the Hawaii Rainbows (3-5) to open a four-game series at Les Murakami Stadium on the UH-Manoa campus. Thursday's series-opener is set for 10:35 p.m. (CST).

Junior lefty Tyler Whitney (0-0, 0.00) of Lakeland, Tenn., will open on the hill for State and work opposite UH senior right-hander Jayson Kramer (1-1, 3.65).

First-year Bulldog skipper John Cohen, who was a junior on the last Mississippi State team baseball team to play in Hawaii in 1989, sent the 30-player State squad through practices Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon in advance of the four-game series.

The Diamond Dogs joined nearly 150 MSU fans and Coach Jay Miller's Mississippi State softball team on a Wednesday morning tour of historic Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. State's softball team is also in Hawaii this week competing in the Pepsi Malahini Aloha Tournament at the Hawaii softball complex adjacent to Les Murakami Stadium.

State, which made its seasonal debut in the national rankings this week, enters the Hawaii series riding a five-game winning streak. The Bulldogs are ranked 26th in the college baseball ratings compiled by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

The series at Hawaii is the fourth for Mississippi State baseball. The Diamond Dogs played in Hawaii in 1979, 1985 and 1989, with the Rainbows owning a 6-5 all-time series lead.

Mississippi State hosts first-time opponent Valparaiso in the day/night doubleheader March 11 and then opens its 10-weekend, 30-game conference schedule this weekend (March 13-15) at Dudy Noble Field against SEC East for South Carolina.

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