STARKVILLE — Diamber Johnson was ready for a different role this season. After playing a larger than expected role as a freshman last season, Johnson knew the return of senior guard Marneshia Richard was going to change things. Johnson realized she probably was going to see fewer minutes, but Richard’s return also was going to give her a chance to earn some valuable on-the-job training in practice against an experienced guard. But point guards always have to be ready because circumstances can change in an instant.
STARKVILLE –– Mississippi State tailback Anthony Dixon might want to consider wearing extra padding Saturday. It’s not because he will face the University of Alabama defense, but it’s because of teammate Patrick Hanrahan. Dixon could find running against the No. 3 Crimson Tide to be tough at 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN) when the teams meet in a Southeastern Conference Western Division game. He also better be ready to face a pumped up Hanrahan during the game.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury hopes junior forward Kodi Augustus stays hungry. Augustus started the first nine games last season before hitting a stretch where he didn’t play in 11 games due to a coaching decision. During that time, Stansbury was trying to get Augustus to understand the importance of defense. Augustus started to grasp what Stansbury wanted and his playing time increased late in the season. He averaged 9.8 points and three rebounds per game and hit 6 of 12 3-pointers to help the Bulldogs win the Southeastern Conference tournament. He then had nine points and eight rebounds in a loss to the University of Washington in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State women’s basketball coach Sharon Fanning-Otis hopes to see a lot of smiles from Rima Kalonda this season. If that’s the case, Fanning-Otis and the Lady Bulldogs will know the senior is feeling fine and is doing her best to contribute. The 6-foot-3 senior center got off to a good start Sunday when she had 15 points, seven rebounds, and six blocked shots in a 106-34 victory against Division II Arkansas-Monticello in an exhibition game at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State freshman guard Shaun Smith continues to have problems with a sore hip and won’t be available when the men’s basketball team opens its season at 8 p.m. Friday against Rider University.
Kendall Jackson is getting a second chance to play basketball. . Jackson is a freshman on the men’s basketball team at East Central Community College in Decatur after missing his senior season at Columbus High School due to an injury. Jackson suffered a stress fracture in his leg while competing in the triple jump at the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State Track Meet as a junior at Columbus High. He vividly remembers suffering the injury Sept. 25, 2008, because it was his mother’s birthday.
SCOOBA — The helmet is far from pristine. The red outline of a Lion on the side is intact, but the gouges on the top of the white helmet cry out for a paint job — or a break from the action. But there aren’t any breaks when it comes to protecting a quarterback like Randall Mackey.
STARKVILLE –– Attack mode is the right way to go for Mary Kathryn Govero, Tysheka Grimes, and the rest of the Mississippi State women's basketball team.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State senior linebacker Jamar Chaney has a “must-win” mentality entering the final month of the regular season. The Bulldogs (4-5, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) will play host to Alabama at 6 p.m. Saturday, travel to the University of Arkansas on Nov. 21, and play host to the University of Mississippi on Nov. 28.
SCOOBA — One more drive, one more stop. The East Mississippi Community delivered on both counts Saturday to make history. Randall Mackey connected with Lance Lewis on his seventh touchdown pass of the game, and Anthony Hines’ interception with less than a minute to play sealed EMCC’s 75-71 victory against Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges title game at Sullivan-Windham Field.
STARKVILLE — Corey Broomfield is ready to make history. As the Mississippi State freshman defensive back walks through the team room, he observes the photos on the wall of former Bulldog greats Walt Harris, Pig Prather, and Fred Smoot. Broomfield believes the current secondary that includes freshman Johnthan Banks, of East Webster High School in Maben, and sophomore Charles Mitchell can make names for themselves before their careers are done at MSU.
Just the mention of “Mississippi State” causes Brandon Hill to smile. Hill, a linebacker and defensive lineman on the West Lowndes High School football team, is as sure as he ever has been about his commitment to play football for the Bulldogs. Even though the possibility exists MSU (4-5, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) won’t have a winning season or play in a bowl game this season, Hill believes the Bulldogs have what it takes to reach the postseason.
STARKVILLE — The 2009-10 season will be all about change for Tysheka Grimes. One minute, you likely will see Grimes in the backcourt. The next, she could be at the small forward position, draining 3-pointers from the wing. The added wrinkle this season will be the Mississippi State women’s basketball team’s desire to use Grimes as a power forward. At 6-foot, Grimes doesn’t fit the traditional definition of a player who usually is a low-post presence.
Anthony Hines can’t wait to play in his first championship game. The former Starkville High School product is thankful he will have full use of both of his hands to make the most of the opportunity. The sophomore defensive back will lead the No. 7 East Mississippi Community College football team against two-time defending state champion and No. 3 Mississippi Gulf Coast (9-1) in the Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges (MACJC) state championship at 2 p.m. Saturday at EMCC’s Sullivan-Windham Field.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Renee Ladner wants to make sure her players finish what they start this season. A year ago, the University of Mississippi women’s basketball team lost eight games by nine points or less. Six of those games, including a one-point loss to perennial power Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., came against Southeastern Conference opponents.
The Mississippi State women’s basketball team is back in a familiar place. Unfortunately, it’s a situation Marneshia Richard would have liked to have avoided. But on Oct. 22 the senior point guard, who missed all of last season recovering from a knee injury, suffered what could be another season-ending knee injury.
Attorney Donald Jackson has noticed progress in the case of his client, Renardo Sidney, a Mississippi State freshman basketball player. Jackson held a meeting in his Montgomery, Ala., office Friday with MSU and NCAA representatives, and believes it could be an important step in getting Sidney eligible for the Bulldogs very soon. The NCAA has been investigating Sidney’s status as an amateur athlete since MSU signed him in April.
For the second year in a row, the Mississippi College women’s soccer team has earned a berth in the American Southwest Conference tournament. Sophomore Elizabeth Sanford has played a key role in helping the Lady Choctaws accomplish that feat. Sanford, a 2008 graduate of Starkville High School, has contributed at midfielder and helped Mississippi College make it to the tournament at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.
STARKVILLE — Anthony Dixon still has some unfinished business. Even after the Mississippi State senior running back had become the school’s all-time leading rusher and then rushed for a new single-game record 252 yards Saturday in a 31-24 victory against the University of Kentucky, there’s more on his mind. Dixon, who has 3,604 rushing yards, wants to help the Bulldogs make it to a postseason bowl. To do that, MSU (4-5, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) has to win two of its last three regular-season games, and Dixon wants to win all three.
SCOOBA — The No. 7 East Mississippi Community College football team secured its first trip to the MACJC state football championship game with a 26-16 semifinal-round victory against No. 19 Jones County on Saturday afternoon at Sullivan-Windham Field. EMCC (9-1) will try to avenge its only loss of the season when it plays host to No. 5 Mississippi Gulf Coast at 2 p.m. next week in Scooba. MGCCC defeated Coahoma 58-21 in the other semifinal. The Bulldogs beat the Lions 43-26 on Sept. 17.
1. Bulldogs land commitment from McLaurin at Collins LOCAL SPORTS