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December 28, 2012Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer prepares his Bulldog basketball team for the grueling SEC slate as the team wraps non-conference play with two games in as many days at Humphrey Coliseum. MSU hosts Northwestern State at 7 p.m. Friday, then turns around and meets Troy in a 7 p.m. tip on Saturday.
Admission to each game is $5 for adults and free for youth high school age and younger.
Both contests will be broadcast on WKBB-FM 100.9 and WXWX-FM 96.3. Live video and audio streams for the games will be available to HailStateTV subscribers at www.hailstate.com/hstvlive.
"You have to play back-to-back days in the SEC Tournament. It's the way the schedule worked out for us, and it's what we have to do," Schaefer said. "Back-to-back games will be a challenge for us after having four days off. We're still getting back into game shape, and a lot of kids will have to play.
"Northwestern State and Troy are two well-coached, athletic basketball teams," Schaefer said. "Troy is averaging 79 points a game which leads the Sun Belt, but before them we have to play a Northwestern State team that is traditionally very good in the Southland Conference. They have a new coaching staff that has a Big 12 background, and I know that they will do a good job. They're going to be well-prepared for us."
The Bulldogs return from Christmas break with a 6-5 record. Schaefer's squad won its third-straight game with a 69-54 victory against Jacksonville State on Dec. 20.
Mississippi State has been outstanding at the Hump this season, winning five-straight contests en route to a 6-1 home mark.
Sophomore Shamia Robinson sparked the Bulldogs' win against Jacksonville State, compiling the first double-double of her career as she scored a career-best 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
Fellow sophomore Kendra Grant turned in another solid effort with 15 points against the Gamecocks. The Richland, Miss., product reached double figures for the seventh-straight game and the 10th time in 11 contests this season.
Grant leads Mississippi State in scoring with a 14.0 average that is 10th-highest in the SEC and second among league sophomores.
SEC Co-Freshman of the Week Sherise Williams added nine points against Jacksonville State. In the last five games, Williams has been the Bulldogs' top scorer, averaging 12.8 ppg on 65.9 percent shooting.
She also rates second on the squad in rebounding behind sophomore Martha Alwal, who is averaging an SEC second-most 9.2 rebounds per game.
Alwal, who is scoring at an 11.4 per-game clip this season, is also second in the conference in blocked shots with 2.5 per game.
Mississippi State leads the series with Northwestern State 2-0. This year's Lady Demons squad comes to campus with a 4-5 record after dropping their fourth-straight decision, an 81-40 setback at Arkansas on Dec. 21.
Jasmine Upchurch leads the Lady Demons in scoring and rebounding at 11.1 ppg and 5.8 rpg, respectively.
The Bulldogs hold a 10-2 edge against Troy, with all 10 victories coming in Starkville. The Trojans come to campus Saturday with a 3-8 overall record and 0-3 Sun Belt Conference mark.
Troy closed the pre-Christmas slate with a tough 81-80 home setback to Florida Atlantic. That narrow defeat came on the heels of a thrilling 88-83 overtime win at Jacksonville.
Britney McCloud paces Troy in scoring with 14.3 ppg. Ashley Beverly-Kelley is also averaging double figures with 12.2 ppg.
Kourtney Coleman paces the Trojans on the glass with 6.6 rebounds per contest.
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