By DANNY P. SMITH
Any minutes junior post player Danielle Rector can give the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs this season will be good minutes.
Despite not having fully recovered from surgeries to correct a respiratory problem, Rector has been on the court to provide any leadership that she can to help the younger Lady Bulldogs.
"I can definitely bring experience and just help the younger girls understand what they are doing," Rector said. "I am able to see different things out on the floor and help the other girls as much as I can."
Mississippi State (1-0) plays its first road game of the season tonight when it takes on Tulane. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and the contest will be broadcasted by WFCA-FM (107.9).
Rector played 15 minutes in the 87-53 victory the Lady Bulldogs handed South Carolina Upstate last Friday. She contributed seven points and five rebounds to the cause.
MSU women's coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said it may be January or February before Rector recovers fully from her surgeries, but any minutes she provides right now is a plus.
"Danielle is someone who understands the game," Fanning-Otis said. "She needs to work on blocking out and rebounding some, but we all do. She brings a great deal of leadership to this team."
Rector knows she's not 100 percent healthy, but plans to work as hard as she can to get back to where she was before the surgeries.
"It's just going to be a work in progress getting back into great shape," Rector said. "The better shape I can be in, the more minutes I'll be able to play."
In the season-opening win against USC-Upstate, Rector helped the Lady Bulldogs establish a 49-45 edge in rebounding. MSU had 13 assists and 10 turnovers, while holding USC-Upstate to six assists and forcing 24 turnovers.
Fanning-Otis was pleased to see the assist-turnover ratio go in the favor of the Lady Bulldogs, but didn't like the fact they fouled 21 times which led to 14 free throws made on 22 attempts by the opponent.
"We gave up way too many free throws," Fanning-Otis said. "We can't have (a team) shooting 22 free throws while we only shoot 16. We have to keep improving and just practice harder."
MSU doesn't have room for many mistakes tonight when it takes on the defending Conference-USA regular season and tournament champion Lady Green Wave. Tulane opened its season with a 72-62 victory against South Alabama.
"We have the ultimate test on the road," Fanning-Otis said. "We have to go play an NCAA (tournament) team and deal with all of the traveling. It will be a big road game for us and it will tell us a lot about who we are."