Lady Bulldogs try to keep WNIT run alive
Special to The Star
March 20, 2001
STARKVILLE Sharon Fanning's Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs host James Madison University of the Colonial Athletic Conference in a WNIT quarterfinal matchup tonight at 7 p.m.
MSU (17-13) advanced to the third round by defeating Georgia Tech at home, 77-73, and Illinois on the road, 86-77. JMU ousted Temple, 59-57, and Georgetown, 78-74, both on the Dukes' home floor.
In MSU's win over Illinois, LaToya Thomas led the Lady Bulldogs with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. Jennifer Fambrough added 21 points and seven rebounds as State shot a school-record 64 percent from the field. State shot 67 percent in the first half while racing to a 41-33 halftime lead. MSU shot 9-of-16 from behind the three-point line, with Meadow Overstreet shooting 4-of-6 from behind the arc.
Thomas continues to lead the SEC in scoring, averaging 24.4 points per game to go along with a team-best 8.6 rebounds per game. She was recently named as a District 3 Finalist for Kodak all-America honors. Fambrough is second on the team in scoring, pouring in 14.5 points per game and pulling down 5.9 rebounds per contest. Overstreet, who has averaged 11.7 points per outing in the last nine games, is shooting 41 percent (58-of-143) from behind the arc.
The Lady Bulldogs, who have won seven of their last nine games, are averaging 72 points per game while allowing 69. State is shooting 45 percent from the field while holding its opponents to 42 percent. MSU is shooting 34 percent from three-point range and 70.5 percent from the free-throw line.
James Madison is led by three players in double-figures. Nadine Morgan leads the team in scoring (13.1 ppg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg). Shanna Price is averaging nearly 12 points per game while pulling down five rebounds per contest. Allyson Keener is averaging 11.5 points per game.
The Dukes have won 15 of their last 18 games. JMU is averaging 69.5 points per game while giving up 64. They are shooting 42 percent from the floor while allowing their opponents to shoot 39 percent. They are outrebounding their opponents by nearly six boards per game.
This is the first meeting between the two schools, although Fanning is 0-1 against JMU having lost to the Dukes during her tenure at Kentucky.
This is the farthest Mississippi State has ever advanced in the WNIT. State was ousted by Baylor in the first round in 1998 after being sent out to Waco. In its only other appearance in the postseason tournament, MSU went 1-2 in Amarillo, Texas, at the end of the 1987-88 season. WNIT success is nothing new for Fanning as she won the championships title in 1990 while at Kentucky, and took her Chattanooga team to the finals in 1984.
The winner of tonight's contest will advance to the WNIT semifinals and meet the winner of the Ohio State-Western Kentucky match-up. The site will be determined at a later date.