Mississippi State - Tennessee Preview

The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (11-4) face the No. 4 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols (13-1) Sunday afternoon on the campus of MSU. Tipoff time from Humphrey Coliseum is set for 1 p.m. CT. The game can be heard online on Mississippi State's Maroon to the Max, heard on radio station WFCA-FM 107.9 located in French Camp, MS and on seen on television on the SEC Network.

Mississippi State- Tennessee Preview:
  • Series Record: Tennessee leads 30-0
  • Location: Starkville, MS
  • Coverage: Maroon to the Max, WFCA-FM 107.9 French Camp, MS, SEC Network
  • Sunday's game is deemed the True Maroon Game and is sponsored by the Mississippi State Student Association. All fans 17-years old and under will be admitted free.

    Tennessee Lady Volunteers:

  • Coach: Pat Summit
  • Team Record: 13-1 (1-0, SEC)

    About the Lady Volunteers:
    Pat Summit has turned the Lady Volunteers into one of the most storied college basketball programs in NCAA history. Summit, during her 36 years at the helm of the Tennessee program, has amassed over 1,000 wins and is the all-time wins leader among coaches - men and women - in college basketball history. The Lady Volunteers during this time span have managed to win eight national championships. And the Lady Vols seem well on their way to competing for a 9th national title this season. They have created an impressive RPI for themselves in non-conference by defeating opponents like Baylor, Texas, Rutgers, and Oklahoma with their lone loss of the season to Stanford. The Lady Volunteers continue to show why they are always among the nation's elite.

    Projected Starting Lineup:

  • C- Kelley Cain SO. (6'6) 8.5 pts. 7.2 reb. 2.9 blks.
  • PF- Allyssia Brewer SO. (6'3) 8.0 pts. 4.7 reb.
  • SF- Taber Spani FR. (6'0) 7.3 pts. 3.9 reb.
  • SG- Angie Bjorklund JR. (6'0) 16.5 pts. . 490 3p.
  • PG- Shekimma Strickland SO. (6'2) 14.0 pts. 4.2 apg. 6.6 reb. .922.
  • Top Reserves: Glory Johnson SO. (6'3) 12.7 pts. 8.0 reb. 1.6 stls., Alicia Manning SO. (6'1) 4.8 pts. 4.1 reb., Briana Bass SO. (5'2) 14.2 min.

    Injury Report:
    Vicki Baugh JR. (6'4) Knee(Out for the Season)

    Team Leaders:

  • Scoring- 16.5 Bjorkland
  • Rebounds- 8.0 Johnson
  • Assists- 4.2 Strickland
  • Blocks- 2.9 blks.
  • Steals- 1.6 stls.

    Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs:

  • Coach: Sharon Fanning-Otis
  • Team Record: 11-4 (2-0, SEC)

    About the Lady Bulldogs:
    The Lady Bulldogs are off to a great start in the conference schedule, defeating Auburn and upsetting 17th ranked Vanderbilt Thursday. The most impressive part is that they have accomplished this without starting senior power forward Tysheka Grimes who is nursing an injured foot. Alexis Rack picked up the slack against Vanderbilt, not only scoring 31, but becoming more vocal on the court. The way things stand at the moment the Lady Bulldogs are in good shape to earn their second straight NCAA tournament berth.

    Projected Starting Lineup:

  • C- Chanel Mokango SR. ( 6'5) 9.1 pts. 6.6 reb. 1.9 blks
  • PF- Rima Kalonda SR. ( 6'3) 2.7 pts. 3.8 reb.
  • SF- Mary Kathryn Govero JR. (5'11) 11.3 pts. 4.9 reb. 1.6 stls.
  • SG- Alexis Rack SR. ( 5'7) 20.4 pts. 4.5 apg. 2.5 stls.
  • PG- Armelie Lumanu SR. (5'9) 14.0 pts. 6.3 reb. 3.8 apg. 2.5 stls.
  • Top Reserves: Diamber Johnson SO.(5'7) 22.5 min. 4.7 pts., Bethany Washington SR. (5'8) 5.9 min.

    Injury Report:

  • Marneshia Richard SR. and (5'8), Ashlie Billinslea JR. (5'6). Both out for Season, Tysheka Grimes SR. (6'0) (Foot) Indefinite

    Team Leaders:

  • Scoring: 20.4 Rack
  • Rebounds: 7.0 Grimes
  • Blocks: 1.9 Mokango
  • Assists: 4.5 Rack
  • Steals: 2.5 Rack and Lumanu

    Stat Comparison:

  • Scoring: MSU 78.4, TEN 79.6
  • Scoring Defense: MSU 58.9, TEN 57.2
  • FG Shooting: MSU .432, TEN .470
  • FG Defense: MSU .391, TEN .341
  • 3pt. Shooting: MSU .324, TEN .383
  • Rebounding: MSU 41.0, TEN 44.1
  • Rebound Margin: MSU +3.1, TEN 8.8
  • Blocks: MSU 3.7, TEN 6.3
  • Free Throw Shooting: MSU .668, TEN .698
  • Steals Per Game: MSU 11.1, TEN 7.5
  • Turnovers: MSU 15.6, TEN 14.1

    Star Watch:
    Mississippi State - Senior guard Alexis Rack, who is 5'5, is the player to watch for the Lady Bulldogs although this game is a tough matchup for her due to Tennessee's guards both standing over 6'0. Rack had a great game in the upset of Vanderbilt, scoring 31 points, pulling down 6 rebounds, and dishing out 5 assist. The Lady Bulldogs will need another big day from Rack if they hope to defeat Tennessee for the first time in school history.
    Tennessee - Shekimma Strickland is the player to watch for the Lady Volunteers as she is their best all around player, averaging 14 points, 4.2 assist, 6.6 rebounds and even connecting on 92 percent of her free throw attempts. Strickland plays the point guard spot but is not a traditional one-guard, standing 6'2 which makes her a matchup nightmare for the Lady Bulldogs. And I'm sure Coach Summit will look to take advantage of that during the game.

    The Match-Up:
    There is no reason to play around with this Tennessee team. Tennessee will be the toughest opponent the Lady Bulldogs will face all season. The Lady Volunteers possess great size with all their starters standing over 6'0, making the matchup even more difficult for the Lady Bulldogs. The first thing the Lady Bulldogs must not do, if they want to have a chance to win, is not get intimidated by the Lady Volunteers' size. Once they jump that first obstacle they must put pressure on the ball because the Lady Volunteers only have one true ball-handler in Briana Bass. And she only plays a little over 14 minutes a game. The Lady 'Dogs will need a good performance from an unsung player, possibly Ashley Jones or Channa Campbell because beating the Lady Volunteers will be a tall task, literally and figuratively. We will find out Sunday if they are up for the challenge of pulling the biggest upset in Mississippi State women's basketball history.

    Jeremiah Short is a columnist who covers various Mississippi State sports for GenesPage.com. He can be reached by email at moot2005@yahoo.com

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