STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State faces in-state for Southern Mississippi Saturday night at 7 as part of Starkville Schools Night in Humphrey Coliseum.
Admission to the contest is $5 for adults and free for youth high school age and under.
Starkville students received flyers that included a schedule card. Students who bring that flyer to the marketing table prior to the game will receive a free Hail State decal and temporary MSU face tattoo.
Families can come early and enjoy games, inflatables and more as part of Bully’s Kidz Kourt, which begins an hour prior to each Bulldog home game. Youth who come to Bully’s Kidz Kourt also have the opportunity to form the high-five line during the MSU starting lineup introduction.
Free pizza will also be available to students while supplies last.
Saturday’s contest will be broadcast in the Golden Triangle and surrounding areas on WKBB-FM 100.9 and in Tupelo on WXWX-FM 96.3. HailStateTV subscribers can access the live video and audio streams at www.hailstate.com/hstvlive.
Head coach Vic Schaefer’s squad brings a 9-1 mark, the best start since the 2008-09 season, into Saturday’s in-state battle.
The Bulldogs have three players averaging double figures this season. Junior Martha Alwal leads the way with 14.8 points per game, while fellow junior Kendra Grant and freshman Dominique Dillingham follow at 13.7 and 10.3, respectively.
Alwal also tops Mississippi State with 8.5 rebounds per game, and the MSU career blocks leader’s 2.9 swats per game tops the SEC.
Grant, a starter in all 70 games in her career, added a game-high 16 points in State’s last action, a 75-49 win against Alabama State on Dec. 4. The Richland, Miss., native has scored double digits in 10 of her last 13 games going to back to last season.
Dillingham has been the spark for MSU the last two games, averaging a team-high 16 points. The Spring, Texas, native is second on the squad with 30 offensive boards and 22 steals.
The Bulldogs enter Saturday third in the SEC in field-goal percentage, limiting foes to 32.3 percent from the floor.
State will need another solid defensive outing against a USM squad that is 6-1 overall and shooting at a 45.2-percent clip.
Newcomer Tamara Jones paces the Golden Eagles with 19 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Jamierra Faulkner tops the nation with 10.6 assists per game while averaging 15.7 points.Southern Miss leads the overall series 22-17 after taking a 61-59 win in the final seconds in Hattiesburg last season. Mississippi State owns a 10-9 edge in games played in Starkville.