About the Lady Gators :
The Lady Gators, as their coach stated in her press conference after the first Mississippi State-Florida match-up, is a team that likes to win ugly. Their record doesn't reflect it but they have come close to beating some solid teams including a Tennessee that they lost to by two points. They also beat Ole Miss by three. Offensively, they are only scoring 66.4 points per game which ranks 10th in the SEC. Defensively, they are middle of the pack, allowing 61 points per game.
Projected Starting Line-Up:
About the Lady Bulldogs:
The Lady Bulldogs took care of business Thursday night defeating Alabama 77-44 in a rout. They didn't play to the intensity many expected but they did come away with the win. Tysheka Grimes was expected to return against Alabama but Coach Fanning-Otis decided to hold her out. Although Fanning-Otis stated that she is a little further along from playing I feel she will play versus Florida. The Lady Bulldogs need a good run in the final stretch of SEC season to make the NCAA tournament.
Projected Starting Line-Up :
Mississippi State - Armelie Lumanu is my player to watch. She has played well during the conference, collecting her 4th double-double of the season against Alabama. For the season, she is 2nd in scoring, 1st in rebounds, 1st in steals, and second in assists for the Lady Bulldogs. She will need to perform big for Mississippi State to avoid another disappointing loss versus Florida.
Florida - Azania Stewart, who is averaging 1.7 blocks per game, might be the key for the Lady Gators. The Lady Bulldogs have not shot well from three-point range so they may have to rely on penetration against Florida. If they do, then she could wind up being a force in the paint. If she is a force Florida has a good chance of winning the game.
The last time these two teams met Florida came away with a surprising victory which shocked even me. The Lady Gators, who have no player averaging 10 or more points, do not have that one dominant player. They do play well together and play with great effort which makes them a tough team to beat. Mississippi State tends to look a little prettier but play with the live-by-the-three, die-by-the-three mantra which can be very dangerous. That type play cost them the victory the last game between the two teams. But I don't expect Mississippi State to lose this team due to have badly they need it to stay in NCAA tournament contention.
Jeremiah Short is a columnist who covers various Mississippi State sports for GenesPage.com. He can be reached by email at email@example.com