STARKVILLE — Defense has been the calling card for the Mississippi State women’s basketball team in the NCAA tournament. The Lady Bulldogs used a 13-0 run in the final four-plus minutes to rally past Middle Tennessee State in the first round. MSU had 14 steals and forced 24 turnovers Tuesday against second-seeded Ohio State in an 87-67 upset that secured the program’s first trip to the Sweet 16.
STARKVILLE — With Greg Byrne’s recent decision to resign his athletic director post at Mississippi State, the facilities upgrades and plans he initiated to push the program forward will be paramount in building the MSU brand. Byrne’s two-year reign at MSU saw the fan experience improve, Bulldog Club membership grow, and the ability of athletes to train at the highest level become a reality. The ideas Byrne brought to the table weren’t radical as the high-spending world of college athletics required MSU to find ways to boost the athletic department’s image and to enhance game-day atmosphere.
STARKVILLE — Until Friday, no one knew just how tough a decision Greg Byrne was faced with in his choice to leave Mississippi State for the University of Arizona. In his first meeting with the media since announcing Monday that he’d end his two-year run as MSU’s athetic director, Byrne talked about much of what he’d released in a prepared statement earlier in the week. But as the questions rained down about how hard it was for him to leave MSU after initiating a progressive atmosphere and change in the athletic department, Byrne shed tears and struggled with words to describe the last two years and how comfortable the Starkville community has made he and his family.
STARKVILLE — The third day of Mississippi State’s spring practices on Saturday gave the coaches and players the first opportunity to have live contact. As MSU coach Dan Mullen expected, the crispness was lacking. Mullen described the workout as “sloppy,” but he admitted he anticipated it with the players’ excitement over the first day of pads and the team installing its base offense.
STARKVILLE — A rocky fourth inning and a lack of pop at the plate sent Mississippi State to its fourth Southeastern Conference loss after a late comeback bid fell short Saturday in a 7-4 setback to Georgia. Mississippi State (13-10, 1-4 SEC) gave up a five-run fourth inning and struggled to string together timely hits, but didn’t cunt on freshman starter Chris Stratton making it to just the fourth inning. Stratton (2-3) was the losing pitcher, giving up four earned runs on three hits in three innings. He struck out eight batters, but Georgia (9-14, 1-4) took advantage of his location issues and scored two runs off walks in the fourth inning.
STARKVILLE — Dogged by heavy gusts of wind, coach Dan Mullen was pleased with the second day of the Mississippi State football team’s spring practice.
STARKVILLE — The “experts” have spoken. On Thursday, ESPN.com contributors Charlie Creme, Graham Hays, and Mechelle Voepel turned in their predictions for the Sweet 16 pairings in the women’s NCAA tournament.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State baseball team’s goal this weekend against the University of Georgia will be to guard against the letdown. Georgia (8-13, 0-3 Southeastern Conference) is at the bottom of the league standings and is in the middle of a six-game losing streak after falling Wednesday to Furman.
M.C. Miller’s move Harrison Central High School in Lyman will come with challenges. For a program that has had one winning season since 2004-05, the Red Rebels have been known as the school with the state’s largest enrollment but mediocre football team.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State baseball team has a thing for the comeback. For the ninth time this season, MSU overcame a deficit for a victory, this time rallying from a four-run deficit to beat the University of Memphis 7-6 on Wednesday night.
PITTSBURGH — Sharon Fanning-Otis said all of the right things Tuesday night. Faced with the emotion of a stirring 87-67 victory against Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA tournament at the Petersen Events Center, Fanning-Otis stuck to a script she has repeated this season like a Broadway performer.
Wow. That was the reaction many people had Nov. 22, 2009, when the Mississippi State women’s basketball team rolled past the University of Maryland 84-55 at Humphrey Coliseum.
PITTSBURGH — Connected toughness has never been sweeter. The seventh-seeded Mississippi State women’s basketball team delivered a 40-minute dose of the catch-phrase that has come to be the key to its success on Tuesday night to earn a historic victory. Alexis Rack scored 30 points to lead four players in double figures and help MSU secure its first trip to the Sweet 16 with an 87-67 victory against second-seeded Ohio State in a second-round NCAA tournament game at the Petersen Events Center.
PITTSBURGH — Debbie Antonelli has known Sharon Fanning-Otis for a long time. The veteran college basketball analyst developed a friendship with Fanning, as she was then known, in 1988 when she was the women’s basketball coach at the University of Kentucky. Through the years, Antonelli has worked as an analyst on numerous games in which Fanning-Otis has coached. She couldn’t have been any prouder Tuesday night as she watched seventh-seeded Mississippi State defeat second-seeded Ohio State 87-67 in the second round of the NCAA tournament at the Petersen Events Center.
PITTSBURGH — The Ohio State women’s basketball players didn’t know what hit them. On paper, the second-seeded Lady Buckeyes had all of the statistical advantages entering their game Tuesday night against seventh-seeded Mississippi State in the second round of the NCAA tournament at the Petersen Events Center. But Ohio State’s accuracy from 3-point range (nation-best 39.5 percent), the dominance of three-time Big Ten Conference Player of the Year Jantel Lavender, and the steadiness of sophomore point guard Samantha Prahalis were lost in a wave of MSU momentum.
To East Mississippi Community College baseball coach Tony Montgomery, a .350 batting average and .400 on-base percentage are ideal numbers for the second hitter in the batting order. But Montgomery is getting much more production this season than that from sophomore right fielder Alex Lummus in the second slot. Lummus, a 2008 graduate of Oak Hill Academy in West Point, is the Lions’ second-leading hitter with a .443 batting average and he leads the team with a .495 on-base percentage going into a doubleheader with Itawamba Community College today.
The Starkville High School baseball team didn’t need many hits to win its Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A, Dvision 2, District 4 opener. Starkville just needed a few timely connections and some help from the Columbus Falcons on Tuesday night. Starkville managed just three hits in the district opener for both teams, but it was more than enough for a 7-1 win.
Mississippi State University Athletic Director Greg Byrne, who announced Monday he’ll be leaving the school for University of Arizona, will be on board in Starkville until late April as MSU begins a search for his replacement.
PITTSBURGH — The NCAA tournament brings out the best in everyone. For the second consecutive game, Mississippi State senior center Chanel Mokango will have the opportunity to match up against one of the best post players in the nation. More than two days after defending Middle Tennessee State’s Alysha Clark, the nation’s leading scorer, Mokango likely will match up in the post against junior center Jantel Lavender when seventh-seeded MSU (20-12) takes on second-seeded Ohio State (31-4) at 6:11 tonight (ESPN2) in the second round of the NCAA tournament at the Petersen Events Center.
PITTSBURGH — This time, the Mississippi State women’s basketball team wants to finish the deal. A year ago, 11th-seeded MSU led third-seeded Ohio State 58-54 with 6 minutes, 43 seconds remaining in their second-round NCAA tournament game in Columbus, Ohio. Unfortunately, the Lady Buckeyes shut out the Lady Bulldogs the rest of the way en route to a 64-58 victory.
1. MSU vs. Southern Mississippi: Five Things to Watch COLLEGE SPORTS
2. MSU defense ready to face opponent COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Noxubee County packs focus for long road trip to Texas HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Oak HIll Academy looks to stop skid in series with Heritage Academy HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS