Lady Bulldogs Host Ole Miss Sunday Looking for Season Sweep
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Sharon Fanning-Otis' Mississippi State women's basketball team goes for a season sweep of in-state rival Ole Miss Sunday afternoon when the two teams meet in a 2:30 p.m. tip at Humphrey Coliseum.
Sunday's tilt will be televised on SportSouth. The game can also be heard on WKBB-FM 100.9 and WXWX-FM 96.3.
Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the contest, as Mississippi State will be hosting its annual Think Pink Game presented by OCH.
The Lady Bulldogs (13-11, 3-8 SEC) have won four-straight and six of the last seven against Ole Miss following a 51-46 triumph in Oxford on Jan. 19.
Senior Diamber Johnson paced Mississippi State with 21 points in the contest. The Pontotoc, Miss., native has her sights set on a strong finish to her career against the Lady Rebels, as she has averaged 10.4 ppg in the rivalry.
Johnson returns to the Hump after joining the 1,000-point club with a 15-point effort in Thursday's 53-49 road setback to LSU. Johnson, who became the 19th player in school history to reach the milestone, rates second in the SEC in scoring (16.3 ppg) and fifth in assists (3.8 apg).
Fellow senior Porsha Porter has also had a sensational career against the Lady Rebels, averaging 11.0 ppg in three contests. The SEC leader in steals with 3.2 per game this season, Porter rates second on the squad in scoring with a 13.0 ppg average.
Junior Darriel Gaynor had a standout performance against LSU Thursday night, scoring a season-high nine points on a personal-best three three-point baskets.
In addition to Porter's league-best steals mark, freshman Martha Alwal has been a catalyst on the defensive end of the floor. The team leader with 7.6 rebounds per game, the Worthington, Minn., native tops the conference and rates 12th nationally in blocks with 3.0 per game.
State has tallied 136 blocks as a unit this season. The team's four-block performance at LSU moved it past the 2009-10 squad for second-most all-time.
Mississippi State's defense limited Ole Miss to 26.6-percent shooting in the first matchup, and it hopes for a repeat showing against a Lady Rebel team that has dropped seven-straight games to fall to 12-13 overall, 2-10 in league action.
Valencia McFarland raised her team-best scoring average to 13.2 ppg as she netted 12 in Ole Miss' 52-47 setback to Alabama on Thursday.
Nikki Byrd, who has averaged 12.6 points and 9.1 rebounds this season, played six minutes against the Crimson Tide after missing the team's previous two contests.