The Mississippi State women’s basketball team passed its first true test of the season Sunday afternoon with an 84-55 victory against Maryland. A crowd of 3,042 at Humphrey Coliseum watched as the Lady Bulldogs used a hot shooting day from senior guard Alexis Rack (career-high 43 points), stout defense, and their experience to overwhelm the younger Terrapins.
STARKVILLE — The smile on Phil Turner’s face says it all. The junior guard isn’t fixated on whether he is a starter or if he is coming off the bench. He is focused on working hard, having a good time, and doing whatever he needs to do to help the Mississippi State men’s basketball team have a successful season.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury doesn’t expect freshman forward Renardo Sidney to be available later this week when the Bulldogs travel to the San Padre Island Invitational in Texas.
STARKVILLE — Alexis Rack was in attack mode from the opening minute. Layups, 3-pointers, jump shots, free throws — the points came from everywhere and anywhere so quickly that the University of Maryland women’s basketball team didn’t have time to react. The result was a career-high 43-point effort from Rack that helped propel No. 25 Mississippi State to an 84-55 victory against Maryland before a crowd of 3,042 at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE — It was fitting Mississippi State’s all-time leading scorer was on hand Sunday to watch one of the best scoring performances in school history. LaToya Thomas, the school’s all-time leading scorer (2,981 points) and its only four-time Kodak All-American, had a front row seat for Alexis Rack’s 43-point effort that sparked No. 25 MSU’s 84-55 victory against Maryland. “I haven’t been back since (former All-American) Tan’s (White) senior year,” Thomas said. “I have been talking a little bit with coach (Sharon) Fanning-Otis and I thought this would be a great game to come to. I wanted to surprise the girls and give them a little bit of inspiration.”
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen will get to experience the Egg Bowl for the first time Saturday. Mullen has watched the annual rivalry game between MSU and Ole Miss as a neutral party in the past. Once he became MSU’s coach less than a year ago, Mullen had to learn more about the Egg Bowl. MSU and Ole Miss meet for the 106th time at 11:21 a.m. Saturday (WCBI).
RIDGELAND — Maybe now the haters will believe. All week, the New Hope High School football team heard how its season was going to end Friday at Ridgeland. The talk was that the Trojans weren’t going to be able to stop the Titans’ high-powered offense. Some people probably wondered whether New Hope should even make the two-and-a-half hour trip south to suffer such a disheartening loss.
WEST POINT — For the first time in weeks, it looked like the West Point High School football team would have had a game on its hands. Zach McKee’s 1-yard touchdown run on Pearl’s first possession Friday night helped give the Pirates a 7-0 lead. The lead didn’t last long. West Point responded by steamrolling Pearl 34-7 in their Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North Half State playoff game at Hamblin Stadium.
FULTON — Noxubee County High School football player Vincent Sanders was hurting Friday night. It had a little bit to do with the pain from a sore hamstring, but more to do with his performance on the field. While playing quarterback for the Tigers, Sanders was 3 of 7 for 49 yards with an interception against Itawamba Agricultural High School. He carried the football once for a loss of 5 yards and didn’t have a catch.
ABERDEEN — The expression “revenge is a dish best served cold” suggests that if something bad happens, it is better if the payback comes at a later date, and might be more satisfying if it is not inflicted immediately. That would be the case for the Charleston High School Tigers, who still have bitter memories of a 33-20 season-ending setback at Tiger Stadium last November in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A playoffs in which Aberdeen racked up almost 400 yards passing.
MABEN — Shawn Stricklin overcame three first-half fumbles with a 9-yard touchdown run in the closing minute Friday night to lead the Ackerman High School football team to a 14-12 victory against East Webster in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A North Half State playoffs. The victory helped Ackerman (13-0) earn a spot in the North Half State championship game against top-ranked West Bolivar, who defeated defending state champion Baldwyn 13-12, next week.
VERNON, Ala. — Eric “Turbo” Hudson knew it when he saw it. Ider High School quarterback James Blevins’ pass was off and Hudson knew he was in the right spot to get the interception and take the football 78 yards for the touchdown. Hudson’s interception return for a score was just one of the big plays the Lamar County defense made in the fourth quarter Friday night to help it earn a 35-13 victory in the quarterfinals of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A playoffs at George Bell Stadium.
LEROY, Ala. –– The Pickens County football team did something Friday night that no other team had accomplished since 2000. Pickens County handed Leroy its first home playoff loss in nine years by dethroning the defending three-time state champion with a 19-12 victory in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A state playoffs. Pickens County (12-1) advances to play at Reeltown in the semifinals, while Leroy (10-3) had its season end with a loss for just the second time in the past five years.
Rachel Hollivay scored 12 points Saturday night to lead the New Hope High School girls basketball team past Aliceville 59-36. Kelli Petty scored nine points for New Hope (2-2). New Hope plays Tishomingo County at 7 p.m. Monday in the Tishomingo County Classic
STARKVILLE — Jarvis Varnado will get a rest from questions about records and blocked shots — at least for a while. The Mississippi State senior center had four blocked shots Saturday night to become the Southeastern Conference’s all-time leader in that category. Varnado also tied for team-high scoring honors with 10 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 67-51 victory against Bethune-Cookman before a crowd of 3,721 at Humphrey Coliseum.
Brenda Frese knows what it’s like to mix and match to find the right rotation. But while Mississippi State women’s basketball coach Sharon Fanning-Otis is juggling lineups with experienced players, Frese is working from the opposite end. Frese, who is in her eighth season as coach at the University of Maryland, has one of the youngest lineups in Division I. Nine of the 11 players on the Terrapins’ roster are freshmen or sophomores, so Frese said it could take her a little time to find the best mix.
The New Hope High School football team has 11 players in it to win it on defense. Other teams might have faster players or better individual talent, but the Trojans would argue their team chemistry and camaraderie on defense has helped them have one of the best seasons in school history. Seniors Anthony Nelson and Marquise Coleman are two examples of the kind of mentality New Hope has on defense.
Things get tougher for the Noxubee County football team each time it faces Itawamba Agricultural High School. The Tigers’ job gets tougher because each victory extends the team’s streak. Noxubee County has eliminated Itawamba AHS from the playoffs the past two seasons and has won the last four meetings, dating back to 1994.
Heath Hutchins usually visits Arkansas each winter for a time of fun and fellowship with friends. Saturday’s trip to Arkansas will be about business for the Mississippi State junior punter. Mississippi State (4-6, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) needs a victory against the University of Arkansas (11:21 a.m., WCBI) to keep its bowl hopes alive.
STARKVILLE — Two points, two rebounds, two steals, and one assist doesn’t look impressive in a boxscore. But that production is more than enough for Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Stansbury when it comes from junior guard Riley Benock. Benock made those “tremendous” contributions Thursday night in 15 minutes off the bench on a sore foot in an 82-67 victory against the University of Southeastern Louisiana at Humphrey Coliseum.
1. MSU offense gearing up for showdown with Texas A&M COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Ole Miss overlooks hype, readies for No. 1 Alabama COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Bulldogs ready to forget past, focus on Texas A&M COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Unbeaten MSU receives high marks on defense COLLEGE SPORTS