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Mississippi State fall sports roundup: Week of Nov. 29

Catching you up on non-football Bulldogs sports news.

Anastasia Hayes defends Madi Williams
Ty Russell/OU Sports

Enjoy this recap of fall Mississippi State University sports updates:

Volleyball: Aloha to a special season

The No. 23 Mississippi State volleyball team faced off against tournament veteran Hawai’i in Friday’s NCAA opener at Seattle. The Bulldogs hung tough with the Rainbow Wahine, but ultimately fell three sets to two (25-17, 14-25, 13-25, 25-21, 11-15). MSU ended the 2021 season with a 25-6 mark, a program record for wins in a single season.

The Bulldogs built an early 5-1 lead in the first set off kills from senior Gabby Waden and junior Lauren Myrick. The Rainbow Wahine were not able to close the margin to fewer than two points for the rest of the set, and MSU won 25-17. Hawai’i dominated play in the second set, establishing a 10-6 advantage with half of the Bulldog points given on service errors. The Bulldogs would draw no closer than a four-point deficit through the end of the set, although both teams put together 5-0 runs. Hawai’i closed with a 4-0 run to top the Bulldogs in the set 25-14 and even the match at 1-1.

The Rainbow Wahine brought their momentum to the third set, sprinting to a 9-2 advantage. MSU could bring the lead to no closer than five points for the remainder of the set, and Hawai’i clamed a 25-13 set victory to go up 2-1.

Faced with elimination, the Bulldogs stood firm in the fourth set. A nip-and-tuck affair showed MSU with an 8-7 lead at the midway point of the set. At that point, five different Bulldogs contributed kills in short order to increase the MSU advantage to 14-10. After the Bulldogs extended the lead to 24-17, the Rainbow Wahine clung struck back with four straight points. Myrick closed the door on Hawai’i with a kill to win the set 25-21 and even the match at 2-2.

The fifth and deciding set found the teams locked at a 5-5 tilt. Hawai’i then reeled off three straight points for a lead their team would not relinquish. The Rainbow Wahine took the set 15-11 and the match 3-2. The Bulldogs hit .196 compared to a .289 rate for Hawai’i. The Rainbow Wahine held a 13-5 advantage in blocks and a 61-55 advantage in kills. Waden led the Bulldogs with 20 kills, while sophomore Lilly Gunter led the team with 15 digs.

For Alex Gomez’s perspectives on the impact of this remarkable MSU volleyball season, see Dear Julie Darty: and Dear @HailStateVB:.

On Wednesday, the Bulldog volleyball program received notice of another league award. Sophomore Rebecca Walk was named to the 2021 Southeastern Conference Community Service Team. This award follows the previous week’s announcements that head coach Julie Darty Dennis was named the 2021 SEC coach of the year and Waden was named All-SEC for the second consecutive season.

Congratulations to the MSU volleyball team on a great season!

Hardwood and Hoops: hot and cold week

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The MSU men’s basketball team split two games over the week, defeating Lamar 75-60 on Thursday and losing to Minnesota 76-81 on Sunday in an SEC-Big Ten matchup. The Bulldogs have a 6-2 (0-0 SEC) record.

Next up: The Bulldogs will travel to Fort Worth, Texas, to play the Colorado State Rams Saturday at 1 p.m. CT in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic. The Rams won the only previous meeting between the teams, in 1999. The game will be televised by ESPNU.

STARKVILLE, Miss., NORMAN, Okla. — The MSU women’s basketball team ran hot and cold this week, dominating McNeese State 102-55 at Humphrey Coliseum but falling to Oklahoma 94-63 in Norman on Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

In Saturday’s game, the Sooners got hot early on 3-pointers, establishing a 27-21 advantage after one quarter. Oklahoma also employed a tough zone defense that the Bulldogs struggled to score against. An 11-0 run for Oklahoma in second quarter contributed to MSU being down 55-33 at the half.

MSU competed in the second half but could not narrow the deficit. At the final buzzer, the Sooners won 94-63. Oklahoma shot 50.8% for the game and 40.0% on 3-pointers, while MSU shot 36.8% for the game and a horrid 22.9% (8-for-35) on 3-pointers.

The Bulldogs were uncharacteristically careless with the ball, giving up a season-high 23 turnovers for a 29-15 game deficit in points off turnovers. The MSU bench played limited minutes, which resulted in three Bulldogs (6-2, 0-0 SEC) scoring in double-digit points.

Redshirt senior guard Anastasia Hayes scored 21, junior forward Rickea Jackson had 14 and sophomore guard Jerkaila Jordan finished with 12. Jackson ranks sixth in the country with 21.9 points per game.

Four Sooners (7-1, 0-0 Big 12) scored in double digits. The 31-point loss is the largest margin of defeat for MSU since a 60-point loss to Connecticut in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Oklahoma’s 88 points scored per game ranks second in the country.

Next up: MSU women’s basketball travels to Martin, Tennessee, to take on the UT Martin Skyhawks (3-5, 0-0 Ohio Valley) at 2 p.m. CT on Sunday. The Bulldogs own a 6-0 all-time series advantage against the Skyhawks, with the last meeting held in 2019. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Hope you enjoyed catching up on these other fall sports. Hail State!