IntraState Battle

Two teams off to impressive starts meet today in the second Southeastern Conference game of the season when Ole Miss plays at Mississippi State at 2 p.m.

The Bulldogs won their first 11 games but have lost three of their last four including an 80-66 setback in the SEC opener in Gainesville Thursday night.

Ole Miss, meanwhile, was on that same night improving to 12-4 overall and to 1-0 to start league play with a 62-54 win over Georgia in Oxford.

Today Ole Miss not only looks to improve to 2-0 in the SEC and continue its quest to get back to the NCAA Tournament after a year's absence, the Rebels are searching for win No. 700 all-time. They would become only the fifth SEC women's basketball program to reach that milestone.

"We're going into The Hump on Sunday, where they're running a program to pack the place, and playing a team that was undefeated much of this season," Ole Miss Coach Renee Ladner said. "They run a high-octane offense. They have five players that can score. They have about six more that can come in. It will be fast-break basketball at its best. We will have to be at our best."

Much like they were against Georgia. Since it's a road game, perhaps even more.

"Anytime you play on someone else's homecourt, there is always an advantage (for the home team)," said the second-year UM head coach. "Our team will face a lot of adversity, some of which they have not seen yet. There is nothing greater than an instate rivalry like Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Last year there were five technicals called in the game here. Then we put them out of the SEC Tournament later in the season. They will be ready. We wear the red and blue, and they wear the maroon and white."

Against Georgia, junior Bianca Thomas led the way for Ole Miss, scoring a game-high 19 points, which included four 3-pointers.

Mississippi State enters the weekend having lost two straight and three of its last four games. Junior guard Alexis Rack leads the Bulldogs on the offensive end as she averages 13.8 points per game to go along with 38 three-pointers made. Armelie Lumanu is second on the team with 13.1 points per game and first on the team with 6.2 rebounds per game. Junior Chanel Mokango is the third Bulldog in double figures as she pours in 11.7 points per game to go along with 5.6 boards per game. Mokango also leads the SEC in blocked shots with 3.1 rejections per game.

As a team, Mississippi State averages 75.3 points per game and limits its opponents to just 54.9 points per game. The Bulldogs rank second in the SEC with a +20.4 scoring margin. MSU also leads the league in blocked shots (7.0 bpg), assists (16.5 apg) and steals (12.9 spg).

Ole Miss and Mississippi State are playing for the 76th time. The Rebels own a dominating 60-15 edge in the all-time series that dates back to the 1974-75 season.

Ole Miss has won three of the last four meetings, including two of three last season. Each team won on its own home court last season, while Ole Miss captured a 54-49 victory over the Lady Bulldogs in the first round of the 2008 SEC Tournament in Nashville.

Ole Miss leads the all-time series in games played in Starkville by a 25-8 margin.


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