January 13, 2010 9:04:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- The news didn''t get any better for the Mississippi State women''s basketball team.
MSU coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said Tuesday that senior guard/forward Tysheka Grimes will be out a couple of more weeks as she tries to get over a foot injury.
Grimes has missed the Lady Bulldogs'' past three games. She is third on the team in scoring (11.5 points per game) and leads the team in rebounding (7-0).
Monday''s re-evaluation of Grimes'' status came a day after a 75-48 loss to No. 4 Tennessee, the team''s worst loss of the season.
As a result of the defeat, which Fanning-Otis said Monday was "ugly, ugly, and bad," the Lady Bulldogs are no longer in their newly refurbished locker room. Fanning-Otis didn''t know if the team was "scared" or if it didn''t have the "will to prepare and to win," but she said she decided Sunday a message needed to be sent.
"When you walk into that locker room, there has to be a sense of pride when you put on the uniform" Fanning-Otis said. "There has to be (a sense) that you''re representing. You have to get tougher."
Fanning-Otis hopes the move sends a message to the players that they have to change their habits. She said the Lady Bulldogs are staying in anther locker room in Humphrey Coliseum.
"When you''re building a program, you want to make sure everybody has a responsibility and a role, and our role is to represent and to work hard," Fanning-Otis said. "Those who wear the uniform and represent and going to do that. Whatever the score, we''re going to figure out how to do that. We''ll find the ones who want to be here to do that. Hopefully they will understand everything is not just handed to you, (and) you have to work for stuff."
MSU (11-5, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) shot a season-low 28.1 percent and showed little resistance against Tennessee. The result was an effort that helped snap its 10-game home winning streak and saw its all-time record against Tennessee run to 0-31.
As bad as the loss was, Fanning-Otis was upbeat Tuesday as her team prepared for its first practice since that game.
Fanning-Otis said drastic changes don''t need to be made, but she and her coaches intend to re-emphasize several points that the players needed to execute if they were going to put the loss behind them.
"Set goals higher, expect to be the best, be ready at the beginning, understand the cost, it begins with practice, to value each possession," Fanning-Otis said. "Don''t veer off from where you have been going, but it is over and what''s next."
MSU''s next challenge will be a road game Thursday at Arkansas (8-8, 0-3). The Lady Razorbacks shook off a slow start last season and came to Starkville on Jan. 25, 2009, and surprised the Lady Bulldogs 65-62. Fanning-Otis said Arkansas "outworked" MSU that day, and she hopes it won''t happen again.
"(Arkansas) made a statement that we''re going to win, and you have to learn from those lessons," Fanning-Otis said. "That is the importance of paying the price every second. When you pay the price along the way, you''re not going to surrender. That''s what we have to emphasize again -- where are we headed and what do you want to be."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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