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January 10, 2013

Florida preview

Mississippi State returns to home SEC women's basketball action Thursday as it hosts Florida at 7 p.m. in a contest that will be televised by Fox Sports Florida.

Thursday's contest will also be broadcast on WKBB-FM 100.9 and WXWX-FM 96.3. Live audio and video streams will be available to HailStateTV subscribers at www.hailstate.com/hstvlive.

Head coach Vic Schaefer's squad returns to the Humphrey Coliseum court looking to bounce back from a tough 60-46 setback to No. 15 South Carolina that dropped MSU to 8-7 overall and 0-2 in the SEC.

"You have to realize that you have to bring it every night in this league," Schaefer said of his team building on Sunday's game. "For us, it's an understanding that when you put on the uniform you have to go to another level and play with a purpose."

Sophomores Kendra Grant and Jerica James paced the Bulldogs on Sunday. Grant scored a team-high 15 points, her 11th double-figure game of the season, while James netted a career-high 14 points against the Gamecocks.

Grant leads Mississippi State in scoring this season with a 12.5 average. The Richland, Miss., native is shooting 35.2 percent from the field, 42.1 percent from 3-point range and 68 percent from the free-throw line.

Fellow sophomore Martha Alwal is the Bulldogs' second-leading scorer at 11.6 ppg, and the team's top rebounder with a 9.4 average that is second in the SEC.

The Worthington, Minn., native has also been one of the league's best shot blockers, swatting attempts at a 2.3 clip that is third in the SEC and 25th nationally.

Florida comes to Starkville 12-4 overall and 1-1 in SEC play after a 77-72 win against LSU on Sunday.

"Florida is well-coached and very athletic. They are a young, talented team," Schaefer said. "Their post players run well in transition, and they have a great point guard in Jaterra Bonds. She does a great job running their team."

Like Mississippi State, the Gators have one of the SEC's top rebounders in Jennifer George.

George rates third in the conference with 9.3 rebounds per contest. She is also the top scorer for the Gators (12-4, 1-1 SEC) with a 14.6 average.

Jaterra Bonds has had the hot hand for Florida in the first two league games, averaging 20 points per contest.


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