MSU Hosts Kentucky in Sharon Fanning-Otis’ Home Finale


Mississippi State hopes to make Sunday’s regular-season finale memorable for its six Seniors and Head Coach Sharon Fanning-Otis, as the Lady Bulldogs try to knock off 10th-ranked Kentucky in a 12:30 p.m. tip at Humphrey Coliseum.

The contest will be televised by ESPNU, and it will be one of the network’s Campus Connection games, with a number of Mississippi State students assisting on the broadcast. Sunday’s game can also be heard on WKBB-FM 100.9 & WXWX-FM 96.3.

Prior to the contest, Mississippi State will honor Senior players Catina Bett, Ashley Brown, Diamber Johnson, Porsha Porter, Danielle Rector and Judith Tabala.

Immediately following the contest, MSU will recognize Fanning-Otis’ 17-year career in the Maroon & White.

Fanning-Otis has taken Mississippi State to new heights in women’s basketball, guiding the Lady Bulldogs to six NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 berth. Before her arrival, State had never enjoyed a 20-win season, but MSU’s all-time wins leader accomplished the feat four times in her 17 seasons in Starkville.

This year’s Lady Bulldog squad brings a 14-14 overall record and 4-11 SEC mark into Sunday’s contest. MSU has lost three straight decisions, including a 79-45 setback at Florida, on Thursday.

Porter and Johnson pace the Mississippi State offensive attack that will be looking to bounce back from an 88-40 loss at Kentucky on Jan. 8.

Johnson scored 16 points in that contest, but she has struggled getting the shots to drop, down the stretch, averaging 6.5 ppg in her last four outings.

The Pontotoc, Miss., native continues to top the Lady Bulldog scoring list with an SEC fourth-best 14.9 average. She also rates fifth in the SEC in assists, with 3.9 per contest.

Porter has held the hot hand for MSU, of late. She tallied 17 points against Florida, and in her last four contests, the Chicago native is averaging a team-high 14.8 ppg.

Mississippi State faces a Kentucky team that leads the league in steals, but Porter is the top individual, when it comes to swiping the basketball. She averages 3.1 steals per game, and she has collected nearly three a game in the last three contests.

Porter hopes to lead MSU to victory, after she missed the season’s first showdown in Lexington, with an illness.

The Lady Wildcats snapped a three-game losing streak Thursday night, with a 53-50 win against South Carolina. UK improved to 23-5 overall and 12-3 in the conference, while picking up a share of the league title.

In addition to topping the SEC in steals (12.5), Kentucky’s potent defense also tops the conference in turnover margin (+11.0). In addition to her solid defense, A’dia Mathies paces UK in scoring with a 15.4 average. Samarie Walker tops the Lady Cats on the boards with 2.7 per game.

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