STARKVILLE -- Kendra Grant is accustomed to be a target. When you're a "shooter" it's difficult to blend into a game or sneak through the lane or rub off a screen to get an open shot. But Grant learned how to outfox the toughest scouting reports in a standout career at Richland High School. Nineteen games into her first season as a member of the Mississippi State University women's basketball team, Grant is learning every day and is showing she is just as capable of being a "shooter" in one of the nation's top Division I conferences.
SCOOBA -- East Mississippi Community College sophomore guard Deon Bedford has quite a collection of rings. "We've won the past two region championships, and I am proud of both of those rings," Bedford said. "The goal this year is to get a third. The pressure has been us on all year as two-time defending champions. We relish that pressure, and look forward to the challenge every time we play."
OXFORD -- The University of Mississippi men's basketball team isn't very good at shooting 3-pointers and even worse at the free-throw line, serious flaws that have made scoring points a struggle during stretches this season. But the Rebels do have some muscle -- and they like to flex it. That's been enough to keep Ole Miss (13-6, 3-2) in the top half of the Southeastern Conference entering a home game at 6 tonight (ESPN2) against the No. 14 University of Florida (15-4, 4-1).
STARKVILLE -- One week ago, Mississippi State men's basketball coach Rick Stansbury knocked the table with his fist twice and looked to the sky when asked about his team dodging injuries during the 2011-12 season. It was almost as if the 14-year veteran knew he had sealed the Bulldogs' fate.
STARKVILLE -- Jalen Steele has had a lot of people tell him he can't do something. Between his hometown university not wanting him, the coach he initially signed with getting fired, and the tear of the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee, the 6-foot-3 guard has overcome some bumps along the way.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State freshman point guard DeVille Smith has checked into a Jackson area hospital for the second time this season after suffering from symptoms of headaches and dizziness. Mississippi State basketball team spokesperson Gregg Ellis confirmed Monday that the 5-foot-10 guard entered the hospital Friday and Bulldogs head coach Rick Stansbury said Smith will "absolutely" not participate in either of MSU's contests this week (vs. LSU Wednesday and at Florida Saturday).
STARKVILLE -- Actions, not talk, dictate success. So when the Mississippi State University women's basketball team's starting five crouched in a defensive stance and slapped the Humphrey Coliseum floor with the palms of their hands 21 seconds into their game Sunday against Auburn University, you had to believe the Lady Bulldogs were prepared to deliver a focused effort.
STARKVILLE -- North Pike High School defensive end A.J. Jefferson pledged his services to Mississippi State University late Saturday night. This news was first reported by the 247Sports.com site that covers the MSU program on Sunday.
STARKVILLE -- The look in Diamber Johnson's eyes said it all. Trailing by 15 points in an otherwise lackluster first-half performance by her team, the Mississippi State University senior point guard had seen enough. MSU had just turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions and looked like it was going to fall deeper into a hole. That trajectory changed with one jump shot.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Rick Stansbury drew up a play in the huddle, something his Mississippi State University men's basketball team hadn't used this season. He saw Vanderbilt overplaying Dee Bost, and his senior guard made it work. Bost scored on a layup with 51.8 seconds left in overtime and No. 18 Mississippi State edged Vanderbilt University 78-77 Saturday night, snapping the Commodores' eight-game winning streak.
The next two games will go a long way in determining the fate of the Mississippi State women's basketball team. While MSU (12-6, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) may have lost an opportunity to earn a key victory in a home loss to LSU on Jan. 5, it can take a big step toward redemption at 2 p.m. today against Auburn (10-9, 2-4).
ATHENS, Ga. -- Terrance Henry can't really say why the University of Mississippi men's basketball team struggles so badly at the free-throw line. As long as the Rebels win, however, Henry believes his team will be just fine. "We're used to it," Henry said. "That's our M.O. We grind it out on defense, take what we can get on offense. It wasn't new to us, so we were used to a game like that." Henry scored 24 points, Nick Williams and Murphy Holloway added 12 and Mississippi held off a late surge from Georgia for a 66-63 victory on Saturday.
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Trevor Releford slashed between three University of Kentucky defenders, hit a floater and slid into the front row. No matter how hard the University of Alabama guard tried, the Wildcats always had an answer for him and the rest of the Crimson Tide. Releford scored all 17 of his points in the second half, but No. 2 Kentucky hit its final eight free throws in the closing minute in the Wildcats' 77-71 victory over Alabama on Saturday.
Two college basketball teams headed in opposite directions will meet in Nashville today. Unfortunately for Mississippi State, it isn't the squad on the positive end of that equation.
OXFORD -- Porsha Porter, Diamber Johnson, and the rest of the Mississippi State women's basketball team picked the right time Thursday night to play through mistakes quickly. With their lead being tested in the final five minutes, Porter delivered a five-point spurt that provided a cushion and Johnson added the dagger to lead MSU to a 51-46 victory against the University of Mississippi before a crowd of 1,294 at Tad Smith Coliseum.
OXFORD -- The plan didn't include an effort like this, especially in a rivalry game. But University of Mississippi coach Renee Ladner found herself in the awkward position of trying to energize her team Thursday night in its home game against arch-rival Mississippi State. Ladner and Ole Miss never found that spark.
Porsha Porsha has been one of the most consistent performers for the Mississippi State women's basketball team this season. Whether it has been darting to the basket, draining 3-pointers, or ballhawking opponents, the senior guard has helped anchor the backcourt with classmate Diamber Johnson. But MSU may need Porter to do more if it is going to realize a goal she still believes is attainable.
OXFORD -- Mississippi State University men's basketball coach Rick Stansbury played the percentages Wednesday night and came out on the wrong end. For the first time this season, the Bulldogs' 14th-year head coach decided to use a 2-3 zone defense. The philosophy was clear, MSU was going to make the University of Mississippi, which entered the game shooting 29.6 percent from 3-point range, to shoot over the top of them to win.
OXFORD -- The University of Mississippi men's basketball team had No. 18 Mississippi State University right where it wanted it Wednesday night. This time, the Rebels closed the deal. Playing perhaps its most complete game of the year, Ole Miss built an early lead and held on for a 75-68 win at the Tad Smith Coliseum.
OXFORD -- After further review, it's still incredibly difficult to win Southeastern Conference road games. That's at least true for the Mississippi State University men's basketball team. For the first time in four years, MSU players walked away from Tad Smith Coliseum with a sour look on their face after playing the University of Mississippi.