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Another challenges awaits Lady Dogs against Lady Rebs

February 12, 2012

MSU women's coach Sharon Fanning-Otis, left, talks with her team during a timeout. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

Mississippi State women's coach Sharon Fanning-Otis believes her team is closer to being where it needs to be.

In Thursday's 53-49 loss at LSU, Fanning-Otis saw more energy from the Lady Bulldogs.

It's game day once again for Mississippi State in the Southeastern Conference as the Ole Miss Lady Rebels invade Humphrey Coliseum for a 2:30 p.m. game televised by SportsSouth.

Fanning-Otis said another challenge awaits and is anxious to find out if the Lady Bulldogs can build off the positives from Thursday.

"It's a real vision for this team in terms of some good things that can happen," Fanning-Otis said. "That has to be on game day and 40 minutes. You can't overlook or underestimate anybody. You've just got to play the game, believe in yourself and expect to win. I hope we can do that each and every game regardless of who it is."

It would be easy for MSU to take Ole Miss lightly.

The Lady Bulldogs defeated the Lady Rebels 51-46 in Oxford earlier this season and Ole Miss has struggled to records of 12-13 overall and 2-10 in the conference.

Fanning-Otis hopes her team isn't paying attention to the records and MSU gives the best effort in a rivalry situation. She knows the Lady Rebels will try to play their best game.

"Every day, you've got to be ready to play," Fanning-Otis said. "Teams are playing harder. There is so much parity in our game. You look up and down our league and see that somebody beat somebody. That's just the way it is. It's (about) game day, it's focus and a work ethic."

MSU (13-11, 3-8 SEC) is looking to end a five-game losing streak.

Fanning-Otis sees playing at home as an advantage and will take any edge to get the Lady Bulldogs something positive to build upon.

"Hopefully, we can get back on track here and you are in the Hump," Fanning-Otis said. "You've been real close and in a position to win some games, but we need to take better care of the basketball and make better decisions.

"We are learning each other better and learning how to win. That's part of the game."

MSU senior guard Diamber Johnson, who is the newest member of the school's 1,000-point club, averages 16.3 points per game.

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