By DANNY P. SMITH
Another day, another opportunity for the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs on the basketball court.
Disappointed by the way Southeastern Conference play started with a 65-44 loss to Vanderbilt, Mississippi State hosts its first league game today against the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks. Even with the forecast of winter weather for the area, the tipoff is still set for 3:30 p.m. at Humphrey Coliseum.
The Lady Bulldogs take their 8-5 overall record into the bounce-back situation.
"Every day, you've got to get better and find a way to win ballgames," MSU women's coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. "You evaluate what you've just done, learn from it and get ready to play hard.
"We have to play our best basketball. That's what I'm expecting from this team (today) at 3:30."
Fanning-Otis has watched as SEC teams have grown and matured, including Arkansas (13-1, 1-1).
"They know each other better," Fanning-Otis said. "You have four juniors that have played together for a while and there's good experience. There's quickness, depth and they have length. They have transition game and they guard you hard in a halfcourt game. I think the biggest thing is how hard they play."
The Lady Razorbacks are led in the scoring department by Lyndsey Harris with 13.6 points per game, while C'eira Ricketts averages 13 points per outing and Sarah Watkins scores 12.4 points per contest.
Arkansas has already had to bounce back from an SEC loss, a 64-53 decision to Florida, by knocking off 10th-ranked Kentucky 78-67 Thursday night.
"The thing I see in this league is it's wide open and in every game, you have to be prepared and you have to play hard," Fanning-Otis said. "There's a lot of quickness in the league and a lot of players who have played before. Some of the younger teams in the past have matured."
Junior guard Diamber Johnson scores 11.5 points per game to lead the Lady Bulldogs and Mary Kathryn Govero follows closely at 11.2 points per outing.