Ole Miss preview

STARKVILLE, Miss. - An in-state rivalry renews itself on Valentine's Day as the Mississippi State women's basketball team travels to Oxford for a rematch with archrival Ole Miss.
Thursday's tip is set for 7 p.m. at Tad Smith Coliseum. The game will be broadcast on WKBB-FM 100.9 and WXWX-FM 96.3, and live audio for HailStateTV subscribers will be available at
Coach Vic Schaefer's squad is coming off its second-straight win, a 61-56 victory at Missouri on Sunday. MSU has won three of its last four games to improve 11-12 overall and 3-7 in conference play.
"I'm anxious to see how our team handles a little success having won three of four," Schaefer said. "I know how we've handled some adversity, and I'm pleased with how we handled that. Now I'm anxious to see how we handle a little prosperity.
"I think you saw a mentality change in the game at Missouri. I don't think we were ready to win that type of game when we played Florida. We would love to have that Florida game back, but we just weren't ready to win that game," Schaefer said of his team's growth. "We beat a good Arkansas team at home and a good Missouri team on the road, so we've taken some taken some steps to get better and matured a little bit. I'm excited to go play another road game in an environment that will be tough for us, and I'm anxious to see how we respond."
Ole Miss returns home 8-15 overall and 1-9 in the league following a 97-68 loss at Tennessee.
State will be seeking its seventh-straight win against the Rebels after claiming a 72-57 victory at Humphrey Coliseum on Jan. 27.
In the season's first meeting, sophomore Martha Alwal tallied a career-high 23 points while classmate Kendra Grant added 20.
Alwal is the SEC's lone player averaging a double-double this season, pacing the Maroon and White with 12.5 points and an SEC-best 10.0 rebounds per contest.
Alwal recorded her 12th double-double of the year with 14 points and 15 boards at Missouri. Her league-leading tally is the most by an MSU player in a season since former All-American LaToya Thomas tallied 12 during the 2002-03 campaign.
Grant is right behind Alwal in the scoring column with a 12.3 per-game average. The Richland, Miss., native tops MSU with a 39.5 3-point percentage.
Katia May also had a big outing against Ole Miss, scoring 15 points. That total was a career high until she bettered the mark with a game-high 16 points at Missouri. May tops the Bulldogs in assists with 3.6 per game.
Tia Faleru leads the Rebels with 12.0 points per game. Courtney Marbra leads the team with a 5.7 average on the boards.
Defense could once again be the key to victory for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs posted a season-best defensive effort in the previous meeting against Ole Miss, holding UM to just 27.3 percent from the field.
On Sunday, MSU held Missouri to three made 3-pointers and 15 percent from beyond the arc, the second-lowest tallies for the Tigers this season.
Following Thursday's contest, the Bulldogs return home Sunday to host LSU in the annual "Think Pink" game.
SportSouth will televise the 12:30 p.m. tilt at Humphrey Coliseum, and the first 750 fans will receive free "Think Pink" T-shirts courtesy of Oktibbeha County Hospital.