STARKVILLE, Miss. - Santa Claus will make a special appearance at Humphrey Coliseum Thursday night as the Mississippi State women's basketball team hosts Jacksonville State at 7 p.m.
Fans can bring their cameras and have pictures made with Santa beginning at 6 p.m. until the start of the game. Tickets for the contest are $5 for adults and free to kids high school age and younger.
Thursday's contest will be broadcast on WKBB-FM 100.9 and WXWX-FM 96.3. HailState TV subscribers can watch the live video stream or listen to the audio at www.hailstate.com/hstvlive.
State will be looking to continue its success at the Hump in Thursday's contest. MSU won its fourth-straight game at home and improved to 5-5 on the season with a 67-57 win against Florida A&M on Sunday.
"I'm really proud of our improvement on the court, but I'm most proud of the fact that we improved nearly an entire grade point in the classroom from the spring semester," head coach Vic Schaefer said. "I'm excited about our team's progress and their work ethic.
"Jacksonville State is a team that is well-coached and plays hard. They'll come in with their ears pinned back wanting to beat an SEC team. We'll have to do a good job defending the home court," Schaefer said. "I'm looking for us to get better. When the lights come on, I just want to see us get better every game."
Freshman Sherise Williams earned SEC Co-Freshman of the Week laurels after pacing Mississippi State with 21 points in the contest.
The St. Louis native has been the Bulldogs' top scorer the last four games, averaging 13.8 points on 65.7-percent shooting.
Williams' hot stretch improved her season scoring average to 8.1. She is also hauling in 6.5 rebounds, the second-highest average by a freshman in the SEC this season. Williams also blocked three shots against FAMU, moving her to fourth in the league with 1.8 per game.
Sophomore Kendra Grant continued her stellar play with 12 points in the win against Florida A&M. The Richland, Miss., native enters Thursday's game having scored double figures in six-straight games and nine of the team's 10 contests.
Grant paces MSU in scoring this season with a 13.9 average that is 10th overall and second among league sophomores.
Sophomore Martha Alwal is also averaging double-digit points on the season with a 12.5 tally. She has recorded 10-plus rebounds in three-straight games to bring her average for the year to an SEC-best 9.8.
Against Florida A&M, Alwal blocked the 109th shot of her young career, matching LaToya Thomas for third in school history. Her 2.7 blocks per game this season are the second-most in the conference.
State will be seeking its fourth-straight win against Jacksonville State.
The Bulldogs won last season's contest 78-41 behind 30 points from Diamber Johnson and four points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks by Alwal in her MSU debut.
The Gamecocks enter this season's contest 0-11 on the year following a pair of setbacks last weekend to host North Florida and Campbell in the Oceanfront Holiday Classic.
Briana Morrow leads JSU in scoring and rebounding with 9.4 and 8.6 averages, respectively.