STARKVILLE — Alexis Rack was in attack mode from the opening minute. Layups, 3-pointers, jump shots, free throws — the points came from everywhere and anywhere so quickly that the University of Maryland women’s basketball team didn’t have time to react. The result was a career-high 43-point effort from Rack that helped propel No. 25 Mississippi State to an 84-55 victory against Maryland before a crowd of 3,042 at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE — It was fitting Mississippi State’s all-time leading scorer was on hand Sunday to watch one of the best scoring performances in school history. LaToya Thomas, the school’s all-time leading scorer (2,981 points) and its only four-time Kodak All-American, had a front row seat for Alexis Rack’s 43-point effort that sparked No. 25 MSU’s 84-55 victory against Maryland. “I haven’t been back since (former All-American) Tan’s (White) senior year,” Thomas said. “I have been talking a little bit with coach (Sharon) Fanning-Otis and I thought this would be a great game to come to. I wanted to surprise the girls and give them a little bit of inspiration.”
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen will get to experience the Egg Bowl for the first time Saturday. Mullen has watched the annual rivalry game between MSU and Ole Miss as a neutral party in the past. Once he became MSU’s coach less than a year ago, Mullen had to learn more about the Egg Bowl. MSU and Ole Miss meet for the 106th time at 11:21 a.m. Saturday (WCBI).
STARKVILLE — Jarvis Varnado will get a rest from questions about records and blocked shots — at least for a while. The Mississippi State senior center had four blocked shots Saturday night to become the Southeastern Conference’s all-time leader in that category. Varnado also tied for team-high scoring honors with 10 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 67-51 victory against Bethune-Cookman before a crowd of 3,721 at Humphrey Coliseum.
Brenda Frese knows what it’s like to mix and match to find the right rotation. But while Mississippi State women’s basketball coach Sharon Fanning-Otis is juggling lineups with experienced players, Frese is working from the opposite end. Frese, who is in her eighth season as coach at the University of Maryland, has one of the youngest lineups in Division I. Nine of the 11 players on the Terrapins’ roster are freshmen or sophomores, so Frese said it could take her a little time to find the best mix.
Heath Hutchins usually visits Arkansas each winter for a time of fun and fellowship with friends. Saturday’s trip to Arkansas will be about business for the Mississippi State junior punter. Mississippi State (4-6, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) needs a victory against the University of Arkansas (11:21 a.m., WCBI) to keep its bowl hopes alive.
STARKVILLE — Two points, two rebounds, two steals, and one assist doesn’t look impressive in a boxscore. But that production is more than enough for Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Stansbury when it comes from junior guard Riley Benock. Benock made those “tremendous” contributions Thursday night in 15 minutes off the bench on a sore foot in an 82-67 victory against the University of Southeastern Louisiana at Humphrey Coliseum.
The status of Mississippi State freshman forward Renardo Sidney changed Thursday, but it wasn’t good enough to get him off the bench against the University of Southeastern Louisiana. The NCAA Eligibility Center issued a statement saying the Sidney case went from Not Certified due to Non-Response to Under Review. This change allowed the Eligibility Center staff to restart the process of determining whether Sidney meets NCAA requirements for initial eligibility. Sidney’s attorney Donald Jackson has called the change “insignificant.” He continues to insist this process drags on unnecessarily and the NCAA has failed to come up with a violation.
STARKVILLE — Armelie Lumanu is the perfect player for the 2009-10 Mississippi State women’s basketball team. The senior from Kinshasa, Congo, is adept at slashing to the basket from the wing or rolling off screens to create opportunities for her teammates. The 5-foot-9 guard/forward is equally proficient posting guards up on the block and twisting and turning to get a shot off. Most importantly, Lumanu is comfortable with the basketball in her hands and directing the Lady Bulldogs’ offense.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State women’s basketball team received a passing grade from nearly everyone in its first game as a ranked team in six seasons. The only person who wasn’t overwhelmed by No. 25 MSU’s 81-35 victory against Utah Valley University before a crowd of 639 at Humphrey Coliseum was coach Sharon Fanning-Otis.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State men’s basketball could have more players in street clothes tonight than dressed out in basketball jerseys. Dee Bost, Elgin Bailey, Shaun Smith, Twany Beckham, and Riley Benock are out or doubtful because of injuries for MSU’s game against Southeastern Louisiana at 7 tonight at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State junior forward Kodi Augustus made a public apology Tuesday afternoon for comments he made following Saturday’s season-opening 88-74 loss to Rider University. After the game, Augustus voiced his displeasure about lack of playing time and criticized MSU coach Rick Stansbury by saying, “I talked to my dad. He said we got out-coached. I don’t know.” Augustus said that statement was made out of frustration and was sorry for his choice of words.
SCOOBA – The East Mississippi Community College football team has accepted an invitation to play Arizona Western College in the Mississippi Bowl. The second-annual contest will be played Dec. 6 in Biloxi. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at 6,000-seat Biloxi Indian Stadium. General admission tickets are available for $8 per ticket by ordering online at www.mississippibowl.com or by calling the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Foundation Office at 601- 928-6344. Tickets will be $10 at the gate on the day of the game.
Cathy Nixon knows about transitions. While it’s common for NCAA Division II programs to make the jump to Division I, a junior college never had tried to leap from the NJCAA ranks to Division I competition. So when Utah Valley University women’s basketball coach Cathy Nixon uses words like “amazing” and “remarkable” to describe the school’s journey, they don’t come close to illustrating what she and the program have overcome to reach the highest level of NCAA play.
Surframe Gilleylan had waited patiently for an opportunity. The senior linebacker on the University of West Alabama footballl team got an opportunity Saturday and made the most of it. Gilleylan had a season-high and team-leading seven tackles to help West Alabama beat Albany State 24-22 in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
STARKVILLE — Linebacker Jamar Chaney and wide receiver Brian McRae wanted the same thing for their senior season at Mississippi State. After seeing their junior seasons end due to injuries, they returned hoping to win a Southeastern Conference championship. It didn’t happen.
STARKVILLE — The pieces continue to come together for the Mississippi State women’s basketball team. An unexpected one was added to the mix Monday when MSU landed at No. 25 in the first Associated Press Top 25 ranking of the regular season.
STARKVILLE — The University of Alabama offense chose to change its approach during an open date earlier this season. Coach Nick Saban thought his offense showed balance, but was looking forward to the day when it could open things up. That time came Saturday night in a 31-3 victory against Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium. Wide receiver Darius Hanks started it for the Crimson Tide with a 45-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Greg McElroy in the second quarter.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State football team endured its most lopsided loss of the season Saturday night in a 31-3 loss to No. 3 Alabama. The Bulldogs (4-6) will need to put that disappointment out of their minds quickly if they want to qualify for a postseason bowl. To do that, MSU must win its final two games. MSU coach Dan Mullen wants to get that accomplished for the seniors.
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.
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