About the Lady Razorbacks:
The Lady Razorbacks are led by Tom Collen who is in his 3rd year at the school after coming from Louisville. Collen has a fairly impressive resume having led three different teams to the NCAA tournament. The Lady Razorbacks are in rebuild mode this season and their 8-8 overall and 0-3 SEC record confirms that. There is some glimmer of hope as the Lady Razorbacks are very young with six underclassmen in their eight man rotation, including three freshmen - Sarah Watkins, Quistelle Williams, and Domoniqu Robinson, all of whom stand over 6'0. The future is bright but they are just trying to find an SEC win right now.
Projected Starting Lineup:
About the Lady Bulldogs:
The Lady Bulldogs are coming off the heels of a tough 27-point loss against 4th ranked Tennessee. Coach Fanning-Otis was visibly upset in the press conference following the match-up. And I'm sure practices this week were a bit more intense than normal. The Lady Bulldogs still are awaiting the return of their leading rebounder and starting power forward, Tysheka Grimes. Her status is still uncertain, so the Lady Bulldogs will have to push forward until Grimes returns.
Projected Starting Lineup:
Marneshia Richard SR. and (5'8), Ashlie Billinslea JR. (5'6), both out for Season; Tysheka Grimes SR. (6'0) (Foot) Indefinite
Mississippi State ... Senior Guard Alexis Rack didn't have the game she would have liked against the Lady Volunteers, only connecting on 7-of-22 from the field. Rack, the 2nd leading scorer in the SEC, will look to get back on track against the Lady Razorbacks, a team that doesn't have the size at the guard position to disrupt Rack like Tennessee did.
Arkansas ... The players to watch for the Lady Razorbacks are their freshmen trio of Watkins, Williams, Robinson, who all play significant minutes and average 18.8 points and 12.8 rebounds off the bench. If Coach Collen decides to employ a similar zone that the Lady Volunteers used with great success against MSU then the trio could be even more important.
This game on paper looks like an easy win for the Lady Bulldogs with the Lady Razorbacks having a down year. But I don't think it will be that easy partly due to the fact that the Razorbacks have five players in their eight person rotation who stand over 6'0, which is similar to Tennessee. They may not be Tennessee but after looking at film Coach Collen could decide to go big and try to clog the passing lanes with a zone. The Lady Razorbacks, while possessing good size, are still young and inexperienced and that shows in their turnovers per game, 20.3. The Lady Bulldogs have taken advantage of teams who turn the ball over this season. And I expect this game to be no different. While I expect the Lady 'Dogs to bring home a victory, this game may be closer than people think, so there may be some scary moments for the Lady Bulldogs.
Jeremiah Short is a columnist who covers various Mississippi State sports for GenesPage.com. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org