STARKVILLE -- On the heels of Mississippi State's punting game posting its best statistical season of the decade, sophomore punter Baker Swedenburg knows he needs to perform well. The Heritage Academy graduate sat behind Heath Hutchins in each of the past two seasons and watched him drop 24 punts inside the 20-yard line and finish 29th nationally in net punting last season. The Bulldogs allowed just 5.5 yards per punt return last season, which ranked third in the league. MSU's punting game and a ball-control offense often put its defense in favorable positions with long fields to defend.
REFORM, Ala. -- Russ Wallace delivered a much shorter message Friday in his return to Pickens County High School. The boys basketball coach admitted he was tired after spending a week in Birmingham, Ala., working with his team to win a second state title in a row. But that didn't mean Wallace was going to shy away from a challenge. In fact, he embraced the idea of his Tornadoes winning a third state championship in as many years.
The work has only started. That's the approach Sharon Fanning-Otis took a day after her Mississippi State women's basketball saw its season end Friday in a 69-55 loss to Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
OXFORD -- In a season characterized by inconsistency, the University of Mississippi men's basketball team appears to have gotten hot again at the right time. Chris Warren scored 24 points and handed out nine assists as the Rebels connected on 14 3-point shots to defeat the University of Arkansas 84-74 Saturday in the regular-season finale for both teams.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- JaMychal Green, Charvez Davis, and University of Alabama men's basketball team climbed out of a recent funk in a big way. Green had 19 points and nine rebounds, Davis scored 17 and the Crimson Tide hung on for a 65-57 win against Georgia on Saturday to rebound from a 27-point humbling at No. 14 Florida and boost its NCAA tournament hopes.
STARKVILLE -- James Carmon isn't afraid to say he has money on his mind. Most players entering their senior season are contemplating what they need to do to make it to the NFL. Most seniors aren't switching positions.
STARKVILLE -- Dan Mullen is all about keeping things fresh. The Mississippi State football coach doesn't want players to get complacent after the team went 9-4 and thrashed the University of Michigan in the Gator Bowl last season.
STARKVILLE -- Sometimes players have to take it upon themselves to elevate their play and be "the guy." Mississippi State men's golf coach Clay Homan is waiting for one of his golfers to grab the torch and to run with it.
STARKVILLE -- Just three days after their seniors came up big in the most important win of the season, the Mississippi State men's basketball team will honor the group at 1 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2) when it plays host to the University of South Carolina.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Diamber Johnson scored her team's final 11 points Thursday night to lead the 11th-seeded Mississippi State women's basketball team to a 49-47 victory against sixth-seeded Auburn in a Southeastern Conference Tournament opening-round game at Bridgestone Arena.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Pickens County High School boys basketball team can celebrate again. Deion Curry scored 22 points to lead four players in double figures Thursday night in Pickens County's 70-62 victory against Cedar Bluff in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 1A state title game at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.
There would be something wrong if D.J. Sanders didn't smile when she was on the softball field. Regardless of whether she is at shortstop or in the circle, the New Hope High School freshman plays the game with joy.
JACKSON -- The Starkville High School boys basketball team's Class 6A state tournament run ended in the semifinals Wednesday with a 72-43 loss to Meridian High. The Yellow Jackets (19-9) struggled to keep pace with the Wildcats, who received a game-high 27 points from forward Rodney Hood and 15 from guard Matthew Hurn.
The New Hope High School girls soccer team's success is attracting attention. Coming off the program's best season, goalkeeper Brandi Brantley, defender Anna Holley, and midfielder Bridget Tedford signed scholarships Wednesday to play soccer at the next level. Brantley and Tedford will continue their soccer careers at Hinds Community College, while Holley will play at Itawamba C.C.
STARKVILLE -- Injuries never are good news, especially for high school seniors. Those setbacks are even more upsetting when they come right before the start of your final sports season and make you wonder if you will get a chance to do what you love with your friends.
STARKVILLE -- The student turned teacher has left a model for her teammates to follow. At 9 tonight, Mary Kathryn Govero will try to extend her career at least one more game when she leads the 11th-seeded Mississippi State women's basketball team against sixth-seeded Auburn (15-14) in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament in Nashville, Tenn.
REFORM, Ala. -- The defense hasn't rested this season for the Pickens County High School boys basketball team. Whether it has been with steals or with pressure that forces opponents into mistakes, the Tornadoes have lived up their billing and created a whirlwind of destruction on both ends of the floor.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Ravern Johnson has little doubt the Mississippi State men's basketball team has talent on par with any other. The senior is doing his best to add a touch of consistency in an otherwise inconsistent season for the Bulldogs.
AUBURN, Ala. -- The Auburn University men's basketball team was halfway to another lopsided loss to the University of Mississippi. Their shots weren't falling while Dundrecous Nelson and the Rebels couldn't seem to miss. Then Kenny Gabriel scored 15 of his career-high 24 points in the second half and Chris Denson hit four straight free throws in the final 35 seconds Wednesday to help Auburn cap a 76-73 comeback.
HATTIESBURG -- After Preston Purifoy's 3-pointer rolled around the basket and fell through the hoop for what proved to be the game-winner, an understandably raucous celebration by the University of Alabama at Birmingham men's basketball team followed.