STARVILLE — Chanel Mokango doesn’t know how many times she has heard the word tough in her short time in Mississippi. How effectively the senior center plays with that kind of spirit, though, likely will have a huge impact on the Mississippi State women’s basketball’s 2009-10 season. So far, the 6-foot-5 center is still working to find the right balance to her game. Mokango and MSU (5-3) will try to take another step closer to their comfort zone at 7 p.m. Saturday when it plays against Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La.
Kayla Melson is making the best of a difficult situation. In the preseason, the University of Mississippi women’s basketball team lost junior guard Alliesha Easley to a season-ending knee injury. The loss of an experienced and versatile player like Easley would have crippled many other teams, but Melson is helping the Rebels make the best out of a trying predicament. Melson, a 5-foot-8 junior guard, is second on the tam in scoring at 11.8 points per game. She also is averaging 4.8 rebounds per game and is second on the team with 40 assists and tied for second with 12 steals.
STARKVILLE — Ravern Johnson understands the importance of playing defense. The Mississippi State junior guard never has been afraid to shoot the basketball, but defense hasn’t always come as easily for him. Even though the benefits don’t always show up in the boxscore, Johnson has learned concentrating on defense can make a difference.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen appeared surprised his name surfaced last week in connection with the vacancy at the University of Kansas. Not long after Kansas announced the resignation of Mark Mangino, Mullen’s name surfaced as a possible replacement in an Associated Press story by Doug Tucker. Mullen quickly put those rumors to rest and said he hadn’t been in contact with anyone at Kansas. He said his family loves living in Mississippi.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State offensive coordinator Les Koenning realizes how important junior offensive tackle Derek Sherrod is for the Bulldogs. Other coaches from around the Southeastern Conference have learned how valuable Sherrod is to the Bulldogs as they picked him on the All-SEC second-team on a list released Tuesday. “I’m very proud of him,” Koenning said. “It’s a great honor for him and this football team. It was a reward and a good deal for him. I know he’s proud of it and he’s well deserving.”
STARKVILLE — The postseason recognition continues for Mississippi State senior running back Anthony Dixon. One week after taking home the Cellular South Conerly Trophy as Mississippi’s top college player, Dixon earned first-team honors on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference team.
STARKVILLE — This is an important week for the Mississippi State men’s basketball team. The Bulldogs go back on the road, but it’s not going to be an easy trip.
BILOXI ---The East Mississippi Community College football team’s historical season continued Sunday with a 27-24 win against Arizona Western College in the second-annual Mississippi Bowl at Biloxi Stadium. The win allowed the Lions, ranked No. 5, to cap off head coach Buddy Stephens second season with a school record 11 wins to go win one loss. EMCC, which won its first state championship last month by beating Gulf Coast 75-71, made the school’s first bowl appearance since a 1963 visit to the Hospitality Bowl in Gulfport.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State found playing St. Bonaventure to be a little bit easier this season. Last season, the Bulldogs had to score the final five points to beat the Bonnies 76-71. However, the rematch Saturday was never in doubt as MSU hit four 3-point field goals in the first 4 minutes, jumped out to a 16-2 lead and went on to a 105-53 win at Humphrey Coliseum. It ties for the largest margin of victory in the 12-year era of coach Rick Stansbury.
SCOOBA – Today’s Mississippi Bowl in Biloxi figures to be a formidable matchup of two of the nation’s rising junior college football programs. Paired together from opposite sides of the cournty, the No. 5 East Mississippi Community College Lions (10-1) will meet the sixth-ranked Matadors of Arizona Western College (9-1). Kickoff for the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s second-annual junior college bowl event is set for 2 p.m. at Biloxi Indian Stadium.
“Roll Tide, Redden.” Regardless of which college football team you love, those words have a familiar ring if you live in Columbus or in West Alabama. That’s because Alan Redden just might be the area’s biggest fan of the University of Alabama. He holds that title even though he drives a truck for his business, Redden Satellite, that has lettering outlined in blue and orange — the colors or archrival Auburn.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury knows St. Bonaventure center Andrew Nicholson will be a difficult matchup. The toughest thing for the Bulldogs about facing Nicholson is center Jarvis Varnado might have his shot-blocking hand taped up. Varnado dislocated two fingers on his left hand last week attempting to block a shot against Old Dominion. Stansbury isn’t sure how much he’ll be able to help against the Bonnies at 1 p.m. Saturday.
STARKVILLE — Incomplete. On paper, the statistics from the Mississippi State women’s basketball team’s 85-52 victory against Southern Miss reflect an impressive evening.
East Mississippi Community College women’s basketball coach Sharon Thompson is relying on freshmen in order for her team to have a successful season. Twelve of EMCC’s 15 players are freshmen. Of the team’s sophomores, only one — Martika Hull — is a returning starter, while the other — Eryn Gray — is a transfer from Meridian Community College. One player who is contributing in her first season with the Lady Lions (5-4) is guard Natalie Tate, of Columbus.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State women’s basketball will see at 7 tonight if has learned its lessons and is ready to move on. Coach Sharon Fanning-Otis hopes the Lady Bulldogs will be in that position when they take on Southern Miss (3-3) at Humphrey Coliseum. The game is the first for MSU (4-3) after it went 0-3 last weekend at the 10th annual Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. MSU, which entered the three-day tournament ranked No. 19 in the Associated Press Top 25, opened the tournament with a 73-55 loss to then-No. 13 Texas. MSU beat Texas 71-63 last season in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
STARKVILLE — One year ago, Mississippi State Athletic Director Greg Byrne was looking for a new football coach. After Sylvester Croom resigned following a 4-8 season and a 45-0 loss to the University of Mississippi, Byrne knew he had to find someone to help energize the program. He found Dan Mullen.
STARKVILLE -- Carl Torbush has been on both sides of the Egg Bowl rivalry between Mississippi State and Ole Miss. As the defensive coordinator at Ole Miss from 1983-86, Torbush didn’t lose to MSU. Now as the defensive coordinator at MSU, Torbush turned the tables on Ole Miss on Saturday as the Bulldogs won the Egg Bowl 41-27 at Davis Wade Stadium. It was a satisfying way for Torbush and MSU (5-7, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) to end the season.
STARKVILLE — It remains to be seen whether Chris Relf is the quarterback of the future for Mississippi State. On Saturday, Relf was more than adequate for the present. The sophomore rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns and threw for two more scores to help MSU upset No. 20 University of Mississippi 41-27 before a crowd of 55,365 at Davis Wade Stadium. MSU (5-7, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) ended Dan Mullen’s first season as coach on a good note and avenged a 45-0 loss to the Rebels last season.
STARKVILLE — Gashed. Shredded. Trampled. Any of those words — and probably a few more would describe the feeling of the University of Mississippi football team defense Saturday after a 41-27 loss to Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl at David Wade Stadium. Led by sophomore quarterback Chris Relf and senior running back Anthony Dixon, the Bulldogs (5-7, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) rushed for 317 yards against the Rebels (8-4, 4-4), who entered the game as the SEC’s fourth-best team against the run (124.3 yards per game).
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen couldn’t leave Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday afternoon without getting a microphone to address the crowd one more time this season. Mullen wanted to express his appreciation to the fans for helping set attendance records and energizing the football team this season. Even though the Bulldogs were only 2-5 at home this season, they closed their home schedule with a 41-27 victory against No. 20 University of Mississippi.
1. Insell family readies for father-son matchup in Oxford COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Ole Miss shut out at Arkansas COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Starkville Academy falls in state championship game HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. MSU Notebook: Holmes making habit of finding end zone COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Starkville defense swarms all over Southaven HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS