About the Lady Rebels:
The Lady Rebels are a struggling team that has lost four of their last five games, including a 61-58 heartbreaker against Tennessee in their last outing. They are led by the SEC leading scorer Bianca Thomas who is averaging 21.1 points a game. She leads a high powered offensive attack which places them 2nd in the SEC in scoring. They aren't a bad defensive team either, ranking 4th in scoring defense in the SEC. Despite their team stats, they are a team that needs a good RPI win to get them back into consideration for the NCAA tournament.
Projected Starting Line-Up:
About the Lady Bulldogs:
The Lady Bulldogs are coming off a big 55-53 win over South Carolina. The win versus the Lady Gamecocks have the Lady Bulldogs positioned as a top four team in the conference. The Lady Bulldogs are led by Alexis Rack, who, despite a shooting slump of late, is still averaging 19.0 points a game. Rack is not the only Lady Bulldog in scoring in double figures, though. Armelie Lumanu and the returning TySheka Grimes are scoring 12.4 and 11.3, while Mary Kathryn Govero is averaging 11.1 and Chanel Mokango scores 10.7 points per game. They all have helped the Lady Bulldogs to an SEC 4th ranked place in scoring offense. They also played well defensively being 5th in the SEC in defense. The Lady Bulldogs, if they finish strong, should be punching a ticket to the big dance in March.
Projected Starting Line-Up :
Mississippi State - Senior power forward Chanel Mokango is my player to watch for Mississippi State. Mokango has become more a part of the offense as of late, including a career high 22 points versus Florida this past Sunday. She has increased her scoring average to 10.7 points a game. Mokango also averages 2.5 blocks and partly due to that is an intimidating presence inside. Mokango will be the key in the Lady Bulldogs being able to beat the Lady Rebels.
Ole Miss - Bianca Thomas, who is averaging 21.1 points, is the player to watch for Ole Miss. Thomas, the SEC's leading scorer, gives opposing teams fits trying to guard her. She is also averaging 5.6 rebounds a game while also hitting .338 percent of her threes on the season. If Thomas is allowed to have free reign then it could be a long day for the Lady Bulldogs.
This game, like the first game between Ole Miss and Mississippi State, pits two evenly matched teams. The Lady Bulldogs, with the return of TySheka Grimes who scored 10 points against Florida last Sunday, will have an additional piece to work. Both teams have the ability to score, ranking 2nd and 4th in points scored in the SEC. The last game wasn't high on scoring but this game should be a little higher scoring. The addition of Grimes gives Coach Fanning-Otis the ability to match up better with the Lady Rebels four-guard lineup. The Lady Bulldogs will start off with Rima Kalonda in the lineup, which should give my player to watch Chanel Mokango a chance to operate against a smaller player. Both teams, as I have described, give the other team match-up difficulties, which should provide for an interesting coaching face-off between Fanning-Otis and Ladnor. But I expect the Lady Bulldogs to win this one feeding off the solid inside play of Mokango.
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