MSU News & Notes | Monday, February 17, 2014

Mississippi State University | Bill Simmonds

It was a big weekend for MSU sports as baseball, tennis, and women's basketball all secured big wins.

As we told you this morning, MSU baseball capped off a big weekend series by taking a Sunday 7-2 decision over the Western Carolina Catamounts.  That wasn't the only thing that went on in the world of MSU sports this weekend though, as other sports registered big victories both at home in Starkville and out on the road.  Let's take a quick look at this weekend's happenings in today's news and notes.

  • In one of the bigger victories of the weekend, the MSU women's basketball team took down #16 Vanderbilt at home yesterday 64-62 behind Martha Alwal's last second layup.  The win improved the Lady Dogs' season record to 17-9, 4-8 in SEC play.  In women's basketball, wins against teams named Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Georgia always seem hard to come by, so credit to Vic Schaefer's women for getting it done.  Schaefer doesn't get the credit he deserves because women's basketball isn't as much in the spotlight as men's, but this team definitely deserves attention.  The program is slowly getting better, and with the addition of All-American Victoria Vivians next year, they could really be good.  Keep an eye on the Lady Dogs in the future.
  • In men's tennis, it was the maroon and white Bulldogs taking down the red and black Bulldogs of Georgia on Sunday in a big match win.  The win was MSU's first over UGA since 2005, and their first over a top-five team since 2011 when they took down Tennessee.  This victory did come with a bit of an asterisk, as UGA had to forfeit two match points due to illness and suspension, so technically MSU started with a 2-0 advantage before play began.  Still, all the credit goes to Per Nilsson and his team for seizing the opportunity and grabbing the big win over #4 Georgia.  The win capped off MSU's play at the ITA National Team Indoors this weekend.  State also took on #11 California and #16 Notre Dame at the tournament, dropping the matches 3-4 and 1-4, respectively.
  • The softball Bulldogs continued their winning ways over the weekend as a suicide squeeze in the bottom of the 11th gave MSU the win over LIU-Brooklyn at the FAU Strikeout For Cancer Tournament in Boca Raton, Florida.  The win pushed MSU's record to a perfect 10-0, placing them in a tie for best record to open a season in school softball history with the 2006 and 2008 squads.  Coach Stuedeman's ladies hit the field again this week for matchups with Central Arkansas and Iowa, all at home.  Definitely go check them out if you're in town.
  • In men's basketball, the news is not as rosy as the Bulldogs dropped a 92-82 decision to Auburn.  The loss was State's seventh in a row.  Honestly, we all knew this would be the toughest stretch of the schedule, but I don't think anyone expected MSU's record to take a dive quite like this.  Not only has MSU lost its last few games, it has lost them decisively, and with the team's effort draining late in the games.  Are Rick Ray's Bulldogs simply tiring late in the season?  Or are they just tired of losing period?  It's hard to tell, and honestly I just feel sorry for the guys at this point.  Earlier in the year there seemed to be a lot of promise and growth for this team following last year, but now it's hard to tell where they've gone.  I will say that I have not given up on State yet, and I still have a great deal of hope that with more bodies and shooters next year they will take a big leap forward.  As for this year, MSU will need to win three out of its next six games to remain above .500 for the regular season.
  • In women's golf, the Lady Dogs had a strong Sunday showing to finish sixth at the Florida State Match-Up.  MSU All-American Ally McDonald knocked in eight birdies on the final day to finish with a share of third place individually in the tournament.
  • Elsewhere in ladies sports, the MSU women's tennis team did not fare as well as the men did, as they dropped a 5-2 decision to Houston over the weekend.  The women's team currently sits at 4-2 on the season.
  • And finally from the weekend, the MSU Track and Field team had a strong showing over the weekend at the Tyson Invitational, including the women's distance medley relay team breaking an 11-year old school record on Saturday.  On the men's side, MSU All-American Marcus Jackson won the high jump championship at the event with a 7-05.25 clearing.

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