STARKVILLE —Bethany Washington is used to the ritual. The heating pads start from the end of the Mississippi State bench and work their way from trainer to manager to teammate to her knees. The size of the pads vary from gym to gym, but Washington has pads she brings with her when she travels, just in case, so she can be ready. Once the pads find their home, Washington can stretch out and receive the warmth she needs to keep her joints loose.
It’s time for the University of Mississippi women’s basketball to take care of business. The message from coach Renee Ladner can’t be any clearer as her team prepares to tip off Southeastern Conference play at 2 p.m. today at No. 18 Vanderbilt. The players have compiled a scouting report for today’s game, the coaches have discussed what the Rebels (9-4) will have to accomplish in the 16-game SEC schedule, and now they have to invest the time and effort it will take to help realize the goal of returning to the NCAA tournament.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The numbers will mean a little more to Southeastern Conference women’s basketball coaches this season. Today, all 12 teams will play the first games in their 16-game SEC schedules. This is the first season the SEC, which started women’s basketball play in the 1982-83 season, will feature a 16-game schedule. The decision evoked mixed feelings from SEC coaches last year when they were asked about it at the league’s annual media days gathering in Birmingham, Ala.
Now that junior college quarterback Cam Newton has decided to play at Auburn, Mississippi State’s football team looks to move forward with the signal callers it already has on the roster. Newton, who led Blinn (Texas) College to the junior college national championship, signed with Auburn on Thursday. MSU was in the running for Newton’s services all the way up to New Year’s Eve, but Auburn came through the back door in the final days of the year to snatch him. Newton visited Auburn right before Christmas.
One statistic really bothers Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Stansbury. When a Stansbury-coached team gets outrebounded like it did Monday night against Mississippi Valley State (45-44), it concerns him.
STARKVILLE — The contact would have knocked a lesser guard to the ground. But not much stops Armelie Lumanu when she is in her element.
Four days and counting. That’s how long before the Mississippi State women’s basketball team has before it begins the next part of its testing. At 7 tonight, MSU (8-4) will take on Alcorn State (0-8) at Humphrey Coliseum in its final tune-up before it kicks off its 16-game Southeastern Conference schedule at 2 p.m. Sunday at Auburn.
Darian Donald has taken the next step in his college basketball career. Now, the former Caledonia High School and East Mississippi Community College player is ready to make an impact at Mississippi Valley State University.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury has no problem with what Phil Turner provides off the bench. Although there were some anxious moments in the post Monday night when senior center Jarvis Varnado got into foul trouble and had to come out of the first half against Mississippi Valley State. Freshmen Wendell Lewis and John Riek pieced together what they could and helped the Bulldogs beat Mississippi Valley 73-45 in front of 5,421 at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE — There’s nothing Baxter Price would like more than to see Mississippi State’s basketball team get a big lead against Centenary tonight. As a walk-on with the Bulldogs, that scenario might be the only way Price will get to play and have a chance to score points in front of family and friends at Mississippi Coliseum. The freshman from Brandon, who attended Northwest Rankin High School, said it would be special if he was to receive playing time at 7 tonight when MSU plays in the capital city.
The Mississippi State women’s basketball has discovered this season what it’s like to get an opponent’s best game. When the opposition has been Texas, Rutgers, Southern California, or Xavier, the result has been less than positive for the Lady Bulldogs. MSU put itself in that position coming off a 23-11 season in which it advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. With four starters and 11 letterwinners returning, optimism entering the season was at an all-time high.
Kevin McGuff and Sharon Fanning-Otis sound like there teams are at similar points in the season. On Wednesday, Fanning-Otis said the Lady Bulldogs are “nowhere near where we need to be to win a conference championship or to compete for a conference championship.” She made that comment after a 35-point victory against Mississippi Valley State. McGuff can empathize with Fanning-Otis’ feelings. The No. 12 Xavier women’s basketball team lost to Michigan 72-71 on Monday. The loss was the second in a row for the Musketeers (7-2).
It’s never too early to start looking at numbers. When you start the season with dreams of 64 and 16, those numbers can be pretty important, even though the season is only 11 games old. But the Mississippi State women’s basketball team’s body of work deserves examination as it prepares for its next-to-last non-conference game against No. 12 Xavier at 1 p.m. today.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State’s men’s basketball team knows there will be times it doesn’t shoot well from beyond the 3-point line. Even though the Bulldogs enjoy shooting a Southeastern Conference-best 42 percent (104 of 248) from 3-point range, they understand it will be difficult to keep up that pace.
Members of the East Mississippi Community College football team are reaping the rewards from a record-breaking season. Sophomores Pat Shed (University of Alabama at Birmingham), John Rice (Western Michigan), Alvin Ellis and Gabe Poe (West Alabama) signed scholarships earlier this week to continue their football careers.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen took the first step to rebuilding a depleted backfield Wednesday by signing Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College running back Vick Ballard. The Bulldogs also added Ballard’s Mississippi Gulf Coast teammate James Carmon, a 6-foot-7, 370-pound defensive tackle, Wednesday, the first day that junior college players could sign with four-year schools.
STARKVILLE — Barry Stewart has a continuous motor. It was in high gear Wednesday night for the Mississippi State men’s basketball team. Not only did Stewart have to chase Wright State guard Troy Tabler around the court, but he also saved enough energy to lead the Bulldogs with a season-high 21 points in an 80-69 victory in front of a crowd of 4,721 at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE — On one hand, the Mississippi State women’s basketball team will offer its first five games. Included in those victories was a 29-point drubbing of perennial power Maryland. On the other hand, the Lady Bulldogs would like to forget a three-game winless streak last month in the Virgin Islands. The three-day trip saw MSU lose to Texas, Rutgers, and Southern California, teams that will mirror the level of competition it will face in the Southeastern Conference starting Jan. 3. On Wednesday, coach Sharon Fanning-Otis’ team was somewhere in the middle.
Cam Newton is keeping his options open. The quarterback from Blinn (Junior) College in Texas has decided to delay his decision until early next week about where he’ll play his last two years of college football. Newton had scheduled a press conference for Tuesday to announce which four-year school he planned to attend, but those plans changed.
STARKVILLE — John Riek’s heavy accent can make him a little difficult to understand. But Mississippi State’s 7-foot-1 freshman center from Khartoum, Sudan, hopes his play on the basketball court tonight speaks clearly.
1. Ole Miss gearing up for improved LSU COLLEGE SPORTS
2. No. 1 MSU begins preparations for Kentucky COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Alabama shines with looser mind-set COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Ole Miss will rely on defense COLLEGE SPORTS
5. MSU's Alwal hopes new habits will pay dividends COLLEGE SPORTS