STARKVILLE — The Los Angeles Dodgers’ loss is the Mississippi State baseball team’s gain. Most draft eligible juniors who are selected in the 11th round or higher of the Major League Baseball amateur draft take the money and turn pro. That wasn’t the case for Connor Powers, who turned down a chance to work his way through the Dodgers minor league system and a shot at the big time to return to Year 2 of John Cohen’s building plan at Mississippi State.
STARKVILLE — There’s no doubt Cara Capuano and Robin Muller love sports. Capuano grew up the daughter of a sports fan. Some of her earliest memories involve sports — watching pitcher Fernando Valenzuela with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981 and attending the AFC Championship Game between the Los Angeles Raiders and the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 8, 1984, in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with her father when she was 10 years old.
STARKVILLE — With so much at stake Thursday night, the Mississippi State Bulldogs picked a good time to snap out of a funk. After losing four-straight games on the road, the Bulldogs got 18 points from guard Ravern Johnson and held the Ole Miss Rebels to 38 percent shooting from the field to post a 71-63 Southeastern Conference win at Humphrey Coliseum. Mississippi State (17-7, 5-4 SEC) moved into second place behind Arkansas in the SEC Western Division with the victory.
STARKVILLE — Just one week away from opening day, Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen is anxious to see how his team takes shape. With a recruiting class ranked eighth-best in the nation by Baseball America, Cohen and his staff reeled in some of the best pitching prospects in hopes of shoring up the biggest weak spot of the Bulldogs’ 25-29 campaign in 2009. Cohen spoke at length about the new look of his team during a preseason press conference Thursday. Words like “exciting” and “potential” were used to describe the squad he’ll send out next Friday in the season-opener against Rhode Island.
STARKVILLE — Building on last year’s success, Al Schmidt and the Mississippi State track teams have seen immediate results on the recruiting trail. MSU’s men added another top-notch sprinter this week with the signing of Alabama prep sprinter James Harris. Harris won the open 400-meter event at the 2009 Junior Olympics and chose MSU over Texas A&M and LSU. MSU also added seven distance runners to the fold Wednesday, including Alabama Gatorade Cross Country Athlete of the Year Nathan Lewis, who won three state titles in his prep career.
STARKVILLE — Back home after playing four of its past five games on the road, the Mississippi State men’s basketball team faces desperate times. During that span MSU (16-7, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) has lost four games — all on the road — ahead of a tip at 8 tonight against the University of Mississippi (17-6, 5-4) at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE — Misty Flesher doesn’t like to sit still. She also doesn’t like to do nothing, so imagine her predicament when she encountered more pain in her shoulder at the start of the 2009 season and ultimately was forced to shut it down after only appearing in four games.
STARKVILLE — Now is the time for separation. Eleven years ago, the Mississippi State women’s basketball was 4-5 and right in the middle of the Southeastern Conference pack with five league games remaining.
A season ago, the Southeastern Conference had three teams make the men’s NCAA tournament. A stacked SEC East may change that this season. With Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt all ranked in the top 25 of the ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press polls, the East is in decent shape to send three, maybe more, to the tournament. The disparity between the East and West this season is glaring, as the East holds a 17-4 edge against West opponents this season. Plus, all of the SEC’s ranked teams are in the East.
STARKVILLE — Tysheka Grimes nearly returned to the lineup in style Sunday afternoon. After missing the past 10 games with a plantar fasciitis tear in her right foot, the senior guard/forward drained a 3-pointer with 33 seconds remaining in the first overtime against the University of Florida. The trey gave the Lady Bulldogs a 69-68 lead, only to see Florida’s Lonnika Thompson answer with a 3-pointer of her own. MSU’s Alexis Rack made two free throws with seven seconds left to play to help send the game to a second overtime, where Florida eventually outlasted the Lady Bulldogs 82-80.
For much of the season, April Sykes’ shooting has been as cold as the frigid and snowy weather in Piscataway, N.J. The 6-foot sophomore guard/forward on the Rutgers University women’s basketball team is shooting just 29 percent entering a home game tonight against Seton Hall. Sykes, a 2008 graduate of East Oktibbeha High School in Crawford, has struggled of late, making 1 of 5 shots against South Florida on Saturday and missing all 10 of her attempts the previous game against Notre Dame.
Building Mississippi State University football never stops for Dan Mullen, not even thousands of feet in the air.
STARKVILLE — Another Rick Stansbury media gathering went by Monday with the Mississippi State University men’s basketball coach feeling pretty much the same about his team’s progression and the tools he has to work with.
STARKVILLE — Rima Kalonda isn’t as smooth as Armelie Lumanu. Kalonda also doesn’t have the silky shooting touch or the shot-blocker’s reach of Chanel Mokango. But just because Kalonda has different strengths than her Mississippi State women’s basketball teammates doesn’t mean she isn’t playing a key role in the team’s success.
STARKVILLE — The numbers are staggering. For three seasons, Chelsea Bramlett has laid waste to Mississippi State softball records. As a junior last season, Bramlett established new single-season marks for batting average (.486) and stolen bases (54). In the process, she became the school’s career leader in each category (.438, 146) to add to the fact she already is MSU’s leader in stolen bases percentage (.913), stolen bases per game (0.82), and runs per game (0.92). It’s scary to think even more marks — including NCAA records — could fall this year.
STARKVILLE –– With Friday’s revelation that Mississippi State will petition for Renardo Sidney’s reinstatement instead of appealing the NCAA’s findings on the freshman forward’s amateur status, all that’s left now is for the NCAA to decide what Sidney’s punishment will be. First reported by The Clarion Ledger on Friday, Don Jackson said MSU has moved forward by petitioning the NCAA to reinstate its McDonald’s High School All-American. Mississippi State associate athletic director for compliance Bracky Brett declined comment Saturday.
STARKVILLE — Some folks might differ about the talent in the state of Mississippi, but that suits Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen just fine. Even though rival Ole Miss and MSU virtually split the state’s top 10 recruits, Mullen stepped to the podium Wednesday at the Bryan Athletic Building and repeated what he said at this time last year. “For the second year in a row we’ve recruited 16 high school players from the state of Mississippi, which is more than Southern Miss and the school up north (Ole Miss) combined this year,” Mullen said. “That’s the foundation of our program, recruiting high school players from the state of Mississippi.”
STARKVILLE –– The next step in the Renardo Sidney case is in Mississippi State’s court. Thursday, Sidney attorney Don Jackson forwarded the AMA’s analysis of the NCAA’s Fact Finding Committee’s conclusion. Though most of the findings resulted in what Jackson estimated to be “less than $1,000,” his concern over his client being pegged with a violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.1-(d) was evident when reached Thursday for comment.
STARKVILLE — Some nights you just have to try something else. As shooters go, Alexis Rack has the right mind-set. She takes the court with a swagger and hands at ready to launch daggers from any spot on the court. Usually, the Mississippi State senior prefers to fire away from 3-point range, and those attempts often spark the Lady Bulldogs. But nights like Thursday — when even the easiest look at the basket proves frustrating — have come few and far between this season.
A chance to make history was too much to pass up for Khiry Karriem. That’s why the Itawamba Community College standout decided Wednesday to sign a National Letter of Intent to play football for Georgia State. The Panthers, under the leadership of former University of Alabama, Georgia Tech, and Kentucky coach and ESPN analyst Bill Curry, will kick off their inaugural season later this year. The team will play its home games in the Georgia Dome, the home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
1. SEC Roundup: Florida survives Kentucky in triple overtime COLLEGE SPORTS
2. MSU moves to 3-0 with rout of South Alabama COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Columbus Christian outlasted by New Site HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Prep Roundup: Starkville Academy moves to 4-0 HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Victory Christian wins big over Tabernacle HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS