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March 3, 2013
Coming off it's biggest win of the year, an upset of No. 11 Georgia, the Mississippi State women's basketball team wraps the regular season with a Sunday afternoon trek to Auburn.
Tip at Auburn Arena is set for 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on WKBB-FM 100.9 and WXWX-FM 96.3. Live audio will be available to HailStateTV subscribers at www.hailstate.com/hstvlive.
Sunday's contest is State's 49th meeting with Auburn. The Tigers lead the series 32-16, but Mississippi State has won the last three meetings, including a 62-57 win last season in Starkville.
Sunday's contest will be a big one in terms of seeding for next week's SEC Tournament in Duluth, Ga., as a win would place MSU in the No. 9 seed.
The Bulldogs will look to continue the momentum after improving to 13-15 overall, 5-10 in SEC play with Thursday night's 50-38 upset of 11th-ranked Georgia.
"Coming off a great win over a great team is new territory for us. They key for us is to stay grounded, focus on the scouting report and do what we do, which is go out and guard," head coach Vic Schaefer said. "We're not going to beat anyone 75-70. We have to keep the score in the 40s and 50s. No matter what you're doing or who you're playing against, you have to guard. For us tomorrow, it's going to start with ball pressure by our guards and keeping them from running what they want to run."
Sophomore Kendra Grant paced the upset with 13 points. The Richland, Miss., native is second on the squad with 11.8 ppg. She will be looking for another solid outing against Auburn after contributing 15 in last season's win.
Grant follows fellow sophomore Martha Alwal in the scoring column. Alwal improved her team-leading scoring average to 12.3 ppg with a 12-point, 14-rebound showing against Georgia. Thursday's effort was her SEC-leading 15th double-double of the season.
Alwal moved back atop the SEC rebounding lead with 9.9 rpg. She also rates second in the SEC and No. 17 nationally with 2.6 blocks per contest. Her 41 swats in league play top the conference.
Senior Darriel Gaynor will look to continue her solid production after scoring 11 points in the Senior Night victory against Georgia.
Gaynor and the Bulldogs will have to protect the basketball against an Auburn squad that is second in the SEC in steals with 152. The Tigers are 15-13 overall, 4-11 in SEC play following a 59-44 setback at Vanderbilt on Thursday.
The Tigers, however, have won their last two games at Auburn Arena, a 67-59 win against Missouri last Sunday and a 70-53 victory against Alabama on Feb. 17.
Hassina Muhammad paces Auburn with 13.8 points per game. Blanche Alverson tops the Tigers on the glass with 6.0 rebounds per contest.
Najat Ouardad is fourth in the SEC in assist with 5.3 per game and 5th in steals with 2.4 per contest.
Mississippi State NEWS