Mississippi State figures to hear its name called March 16 when the 64-team field for the NCAA Division I women's basketball tournament is announced on ESPN.
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State women's basketball team will face its biggest test of the season tonight.
No. 2 South Carolina (26-1, 14-0 Southeastern Conference) will present only one of the obstacles No. 11 MSU will have to overcome at 6 tonight (Fox Sports Net) when the teams meet at Colonial Life Arena.
Wendell Rieves wants to get back to the "Big House."
Last season, Rieves was a junior on the West Lowndes High School boys basketball team that advanced to play in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 1A State tournament at Mississippi Coliseum. A disappointing loss to Shaw left a bad taste in the mouths of all of the West Lowndes players and provided ample motivation for the 2014-15 season.
MABEN -- Danny Crawford had a feeling about his West Oktibbeha County High School boys basketball team.
Even though the Timberwolves only have eight players, Crawford knew his team's size on the front line would serve it well as it made a playoff push in the second half of the season.
There are no more reprieves.
There also are no more third-place games to help teams extend their seasons.
Starting tonight, area boys and girls basketball teams will have to win or they will have to go home.
The New Hope (Class 5A), Aberdeen (Class 3A), West Oktibbeha and West Lowndes (Class 1A) high school boys basketball teams will play host to Mississippi High School Activities Associations games tonight, while Columbus (Class 6A), West Point (Class 5A), East Oktibbeha and Hamilton (Class 1A) will go on the road to try to extend their seasons.
One choice didn't force Daniel Merchant to turn his back on his alma mater.
Instead, when Merchant learned in January that the head football coach position at Sulligent High School was open again, the 2004 graduate of the school re-applied for the position.
WEST POINT -- The New Hope High School boys basketball team nearly made everyone forget its slow start.
Somehow after scoring only four points in the first quarter and trailing by 16 points, New Hope found itself in the lead, 55-54, following a steal by Jaylon Bardley and a thunderous dunk by Shemar Johnson with 1 minute, 49 seconds remaining against Oxford in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A, Region 2 title game at West Point High.
But that would be the only lead the Trojans would taste.
STARKVILLE -- Chemistry has been a key ingredient in the success of the Mississippi State women's basketball team this season.
Coaches never know how the personalities on each team will mix, but MSU coach Vic Schaefer hasn't had to worry about that dilemma. The only problem that has plagued Schaefer has been trying to find playing time for 14 talented players.
Thanks to the willingness of those players to coexist and to challenge each other, MSU has secured a spot in both national polls (No. 14 in The Associated Press, No. 16 in USA Today) and has matched a program record for wins in a season with three regular-season games to go.
Roosevelt Bridges knows the road back to Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson isn't going to be easy.
Vic Schaefer knew he could win at Mississippi State.
STARKVILLE -- Breanna Richardson did a great job Sunday hiding tired legs.
On a day the Mississippi State women's basketball team matched a single-season record for wins, Richardson showed why she is so important to the Bulldogs' success. The 6-foot-1 sophomore forward tied for game-high scoring honors with 16 points, grabbed six rebounds, and had three assists to lead then-No. 13 MSU to a 75-62 victory against Florida before a season-high crowd of 5,183 at Humphrey Coliseum.
STEENS -- Defense is a source of confidence for Alec Vasquez.
It's not that the Columbus Christian Academy junior doesn't like to score. It's just that Vasquez believes his team has plenty of other players who can fuel the offense, so his efforts on defense help balance things. But if the Rams need Vasquez to pitch in and contribute on offense, he is more than willing to step in and lend a hand.
STARKVILLE -- The statute of limitations for members of the Mississippi State women's basketball team to think about "moral" victories no longer exists.
STARKVILLE -- You name it, D'Antae Bush can do it.
Oh, the possibilities.
It's easy to get lost in the numbers when you consider the ramifications of the No. 13 Mississippi State women's basketball team's game at 6 tonight (SEC Network) against No. 10 Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.
New Hope High School no longer is a name associated only with baseball, softball, basketball, football, and girls golf.
In the past six years, the New Hope High girls soccer team has made a steady climb up the ladder of respectability. In 2010, the program made its first playoff appearance. New Hope earned what coach Mary Nagy believes was its first playoff victory a year later (against Oxford). The team won first-round playoff matches the next two seasons as it matured, but it couldn't get past Ridgeland in the second round. Last season, New Hope beat Oxford to clear that hurdle against Oxford and then defeated Lewisburg to advance to its first state title match, where it lost to West Jones 2-0.
South Detroit is a long way from Starkville.
But the cell phones that lit up Humphrey Coliseum on Sunday afternoon showed that all it takes is one classic song to bridge more than 800 miles.
STARKVILLE -- First things first, Savannah Carter tried to call timeout with the Mississippi State women's basketball team nursing a one-point lead against Texas A&M in overtime Sunday.
But you never know when you're going to have an equipment malfunction, or when your mouthpiece is going to get stuck in your mouth and render it impossible for you to say the word -- TIMEOUT -- everyone wants you to deliver before you commit a turnover with the game on the line.
STARKVILLE -- Welcome to the NCAA tournament, Mississippi State.
Gary Blair isn't on the NCAA tournament selection committee, but the Texas A&M women's basketball coach took the liberty Sunday to dispel any notion MSU will suffer any drama as March Madness approaches.
No. 17 MSU can thank Victoria Vivians for helping it punch its proverbial ticket because it was her 3-pointer from the left corner with 55 seconds remaining that propelled it to a 63-61 overtime victory against No. 14 Texas A&M before a crowd of 4,651 at Humphrey Coliseum.
Matt Sykes admits baseball was one of the first things he thought of when he received an email from one of the William Carey University men's soccer coaches.
Sykes, who played baseball at Heritage Academy in Columbus, knew William Carey was strong in the sport, but he didn't know very much about its men's soccer program or about the school, which is in Hattiesburg.
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