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January 7th, 2012
The offensive woes of the Starkville Academy boys' basketball team continued Saturday night.
Lamar School out-dueled the Volunteers 41-33 at the Starkville Academy Gymnasium.
The Volunteers were coming off a 19-point performance against Hilcrest on Friday night.
SA boys coach Mark Alexander wishes his offense stepped up a bit more.
"We played OK," Alexander said. "We were dismal on offense and just dismal. We couldn't hit a shot. Same thing last night. We had 19 points last night and (33) tonight. You do the math. Eight quarters of basketball and you add that up that's not very good. We can't buy a basket."
Coach Rick Stansbury enters his 14th Southeastern Conference opener tonight as his 15th-ranked Bulldogs square off against Arkansas.
State carries a 13-2 record into the outing looking for its fourth opening conference win against the 11-3 Razorbacks.
Recent history shows the Bulldogs have learned how to win in Fayetteville, Ark. as the Bulldogs have won three of their last four trips to the Natural State.
However, Stansbury knows that has nothing to do with this yearâ€™s matchup.
â€śEvery year's different," Stansbury said. "We take a different team up there; they've got a different team. There's no question, they're better in a lot of ways than they've been, because they've got so many guards that can play.
April is very important for the Rutgers women's basketball program right now.
The Scarlet Knights want to be competing for a national championship in April and they are looking to former East Oktibbeha player April Sykes to get them there.
In her preseason basketball press conference, Rutgers women's coach C. Vivan Stringer made no secret about what the goals were for her team.
"We want to win a national championship," Stringer said. "We say it. We profess it. It's the highest level so why wouldn't we. All things have to be right, but we're not trying to hide. We would like to do that.
The Hillcrest Christian Lady Cougars got off to a good start against the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers by hitting the first basket of the game Friday night.
After that point, the SA defense only allowed 40 more points to visiting Hillcrest Christian.
The Lady Vols kept the the Lady Cougars in check during a 60-42 victory at home.
Starkville Academy girls coach Glenn Schmidt was happy to see her squad contest shots.
"(Hillcrest) made some shots after five or six passes and we stopped a couple of things they wanted to do," Schmidt said.
CRAWFORD â€“ The East Oktibbeha Titans were able to show their might in the second half Friday night.
Even though Ethel held its own for the first half in boys basketball action against East Oktibbeha, the Titans dominated in the second half on their way to a 64-50 victory.
The Tigers took a 31-28 lead into the locker room at halftime and East Oktibbeha coach Barnett Robinson lit a fire under his squad during the intermission.
"I told them we just needed to do better than what we were doing," Robinson said. "We were playing very flat at halftime. I told them at halftime we just needed to pick it up, slow down and cut down on our mistakes. Do what we were supposed to do."
The Mississippi State Bulldogs will launch the Southeastern Conference portion of their schedule on Saturday.
MSU, which has started 13-2 this season, travels to Arkansas to face the 11-3 Razorbacks, and unlike the recent past, the Bulldogs have positioned themselves nicely heading into their so-called second season with room for improvement.
â€śI think there's a lot of room for improvement with this (team), probably a lot more than some of the other teams I've had going into this time,â€ť said Mississippi Stateâ€™s head coach Rick Stansbury. â€śSome other teams I've taken into this time of the year, you didn't have that level of improvement left.
The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs held LSU to its lowest point total ever in Starkville.
Unfortunately, the the Lady Bulldogs couldn't take advantage of the off night offensively by the Lady Tigers.
LSU out-scored MSU 14-2 down the stretch and earned a 53-48 victory at Humphrey Coliseum.
The Lady Bulldogs held the Lady Tigers to 32 percent shooting (20-of-62) from the field, but could only manage a little bit better at 35 percent (20-of-58).
"We were passive offensively," MSU coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. "We had a long talk that Diamber needs to drive more and make some things happen. We didn't attack."
Faster and stronger. That's how Mississippi State point guard Diamber Johnson describes women's basketball in the Southeastern Conference.
As the Lady Bulldogs open SEC play against the LSU Lady Tigers tonight at Humphrey Coliseum, Johnson has been trying to send a message to her younger teammates about how tough it's going to be.
"We're going to have to be mobile with it, more patient and get on the same page," Johnson said about what MSU needs to do to have success when it tips off against LSU at 7 p.m.
The Lady Bulldogs completed the non-conference slate with a 10-3 record and just finished a difficult road trip to close 2011.
After losing a decision to Oklahoma State in the Peppermill Classic in Reno, Nev., MSU women's coach Sharon Fanning-Otis watched her team rally against the host team Nevada to pull out a victory.
It didn't take long for Jennifer Minor to get adjusted to life at a small college.
No one should have expected the Southeastern Conference to go undefeated during the 2011-12 college football bowl season.