October 6, 2010 6:49:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Following a program-best NCAA Sweet 16 appearance last season, the Mississippi State women''s basketball program announced its 2010-11 schedule on Tuesday.
With a 28-game slate, the Lady Bulldogs will play 14 opponents at Humphrey Coliseum and seven games that will be televised.
Following an exhibition contest against Montevallo on Nov. 7, Mississippi State will open its season Friday, Nov. 12, against South Carolina Upstate as part of a doubleheader with MSU''s men''s basketball team. The Lady Bulldogs will then play their first road games of the season Nov. 16 when they head to Tulane, followed by a game Nov. 23 at South Alabama.
The Lady Bulldogs will look completely different from the team that finished 21-13 and advanced to the program''s first Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament last season.
Guards Mary Kathryn Govero, a senior, and Diamber Johnson, a junior, will be the most experienced returning players.
MSU will try to find replacements for All-Southeastern Conference performers Alexis Rack, Armelie Lumanu, and Chanel Mokango. The Lady Bulldogs also will have to find players to take the places of Tysheka Grimes, Rima Kalonda, Bethany Washington, and Channa Campbell. Marneshia Richard, who missed the past two seasons due to injury, also has left the program.
High schoolers Brittany Young, of Birmingham, Ala., Katia May, of York, Ala., Carnecia Williams, of Memphis, and Jenisha Jackson, of North Panola High, signed with MSU in the fall.
The Lady Bulldogs also will add an impressive group of junior college players, which includes Judith Tabala, of Odessa College (Texas), Elyseia Dunn, Porsha Porter, and Ashley Brown, of Jefferson College (Mo.), and Darriel Gaynor, of Trinity Valley Community College (Texas).
To close the month of November and to open December, MSU will host Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Nov. 28), Louisiana Tech (Dec. 1), North Texas (Nov. 4) and Mountain West member Utah (Dec. 11).
The Lady Bulldogs will play four of its final five non-conference games away from home. MSU will travel Dec. 15 to Southern Mississippi before playing Xavier University on Dec. 17 in Cincinnati, Ohio. After its final non-conference home game Dec. 20 against Mississippi Valley State, MSU will join Buffalo, Lehigh, and Rider at the Christmas City Classic Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 in Bethlehem, Pa.
MSU will stay on the road to open conference play Jan. 6 against Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn. After televised home games against Arkansas and LSU on Jan. 9 and Jan. 13, the Lady Bulldogs will play Jan. 16 at Kentucky. MSU will close its January slate against Auburn at home, with trips to Georgia and Tennessee, and a home game Jan. 30 against Florida.
In February, MSU will play host to Alabama before going to Auburn and the University of Mississippi. Home games against South Carolina and Vanderbilt will follow before trips to Florida and Alabama. The Lady Bulldogs will conclude their regular season Feb. 27 with a home game against Ole Miss.
The 2011 SEC Tournament will be March 3-6 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.