Monday, February 8, 2016  SUBSCRIBE   
 
White-tailed deer have their own form of malaria
The white-tailed deer, maybe the best-studied wild animal in North America, turns out to carry a malaria parasite that science has overlooked for decades. What effects that bite has on the deer could have been overlooked, too, says Steve Demarais of the Mississippi State University Deer Lab. In male sage grouse, for example, no measurable effects show up in health exams, but the birds infected with avian malaria don't spend time on the breeding grounds as regularly or mate as early and as frequently as uninfected birds do. More information on deer malaria is already on the way. Another research group independently rediscovered malaria parasites in white-tailed deer, says group member Diana Outlaw, also of Mississippi State. She and her colleagues have submitted a paper to a journal and are continuing to check the 30,000 mosquitoes they've collected for signs of the parasite and the animals the mosquitoes have bitten.
 
Programs have success helping low-income students graduate
College completion rates have stagnated, and lower-income students in particular face long odds of getting to graduation. Two new studies, however, show that low-income students can graduate at high rates when they receive financial and academic supports from external groups. The research looked at success rates for students who were participants in the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and, separately, in the Dell Scholars program. Graduation rates were substantially better for both groups than for their peers. Phi Theta Kappa and two graduate student researchers from Mississippi State University conducted the study of high-achieving community college students.
 
Keenum keynote speaker for Boy Scouts of America Pushmataha Area Council dinner
Fellowship and recognition was the focus of the Boy Scouts of America Pushmataha Area Council dinner Saturday evening. The event spotlighted the 2015 Eagle Scout honorees. Also, the presentation of the Silver Beaver Award -- the council's highest honor -- was awarded. The Pushmataha Area Council was established in 1925. It provides character development and skills training to Boy Scout units in 10 north Mississippi counties. Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum was the keynote speaker.
 
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin part of lecture series at Mississippi State University
Buzz Aldrin, who along with Neil Armstrong was one of the first men to walk on the moon, will speak at Mississippi State University's Global Lecture Series Tuesday in Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium. The event, hosted by the Student Association, will begin at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. On July 20, 1969, Aldrin, Armstrong and Michael Collins made history with their historic Apollo 11 mission, witnessed by the largest worldwide television audience in history. Aldrin has retired from NASA, the Air Force and his position as commander of the Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base but continues to advance his commitment to venturing into space.
 
Area colleges celebrate Darwin
While widely accepted, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution still remains a hotly debated social issue between science and religion. This week at Mississippi State University, The W, and other schools are honoring the birthday of Darwin His 207th birthday is on Friday. As a part of a week of events, a MSU professor presented a program on research on slime molds, and how they fit into the big picture of evolution. "These are unseen organisms that really make up the bulk of biodiversity," said MSU professor of biological sciences Matt Brown.
 
Inclusion Sundays: How one church is stepping up for families of children with special needs
A house of worship is typically a place of respite. For parents of children with special needs, however, a Sunday at church is often another day of work and worry. That is why a church in Starkville has developed what it calls Inclusion Sundays. It's an innovative approach. Several years ago, two families with children who have special needs became part of the Trinity Presbyterian Church family. Church can be particularly difficult for families worried about a congregation accepting the different behavior of their children, said Alison Buehler, Trinity's Family Outreach coordinator. The church wanted to accomplish two primary goals: provide appropriate worship and educational experiences for all children, and give parents of children with special needs a much-needed break on Sunday mornings to refuel themselves. To help reach those objectives, Buehler partnered with Mississippi State University's Phi Mu sorority to recruit "shadows" who are paired with children throughout the Sunday morning programming.
 
Stansbury looks to jettison Oktibbeha County Lake lease
Former Mississippi State University basketball coach Rick Stansbury wants to jettison his Oktibbeha County Lake lease and sell Starkville Wet N Wild waterpark and its associated campground improvements to the county. Board members indicated they want an attorney general's opinion on whether the county could proceed with acquiring and operating the business, and supervisors also passed the matter along to the Golden Triangle Development LINK for an economic impact study. If a deal cannot be reached with the county, Stansbury is expected to put his proposal up for a public sale.
 
City to advertise for new airport operator
Starkville aldermen's Feb. 2 decision to end Kenneth Aasand's contract as fixed base operator at George M. Bryan Airport remains publicly unexplained. The board will now advertise for a new fixed base operator at the airport. An operator provides basic services at the airport like fueling, hangaring, parking, maintenance and flight instruction. No reason for the lease termination was given before or after the vote. Grassroots Aviation owner Kenneth Aasand said neither the aldermen nor the airport board notified him of the termination recommendation. "I did not know I was on the agenda to discuss terminating my contract until this afternoon," Aasand said at the Feb. 2 meeting. The airport board and aldermen could not comment on the matter as of Feb. 5, according to Mayor Parker Wiseman and Airport Board President Andy Fultz.
 
Economic development projects provide concern
While an incentive package, which included the state incurring $254 million in bond debt and providing multiple tax breaks, for two economic development projects overwhelmingly passed the Legislature on Thursday, some lawmakers still lamented the cost to the taxpayers. Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, questioned the wisdom of providing the litany of tax breaks, including the state returning 3.5 percent of the payroll taxes paid by the new manufacturers' employees to the company for 25 years. While Bryan ultimately voted for the incentives package, freshman Rep. Joel Bomgar, R-Madison, did not, questioning the wisdom of the companies receiving benefits that other Mississippi companies did not. Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Glenn McCullough of Tupelo countered with research that indicated the tire manufacturer and Gulf Coast shipyard being built by Louisiana-based Chouest, creating a combined 3,500 jobs, would be a net gain to the state general fund by 2024.
 
Screen saver, deer hunting, soggy land help land port project
Gov. Phil Bryant says a telephone screen saver, his penchant for deer hunting and soggy land around Fourchon, Louisiana, helped Mississippi land a deal for a new Gulfport shipyard that might stop the feds breathing down the state's neck over port jobs. Lawmakers on Thursday approved $11 million in state borrowing plus long-term tax breaks to help Edison Chouest build a shipyard at the State Port of Gulfport's "inland port" property it bought last year on the nearby Industrial Seaway. Bryant said Mississippi Development Authority caught wind that Edison Chouest, which makes service and supply vessels for offshore oil and gas rigs, was looking for a site for a new shipyard. He went to Port Fourchon to meet with Edison CEO Gary Chouest. "I get in a van with him, and his iPhone is laying on the center console," Bryant said. "He's got what looks to be a big red stag on his screen saver. We spent the next 30 minutes talking about deer and showing each other hunting pictures ... Me and Gary, we're partners by the time we get to lunch that day.
 
Bryant: 'Hinds County needed this plant'
It's not just that a $1.45 billion Continental Tire plant will bring 2,500 jobs to Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant said, but that it's coming to Hinds County, an area that has struggled to keep jobs. "Hinds County, Mississippi, needed this plant," Bryant said. "... We're offering jobs to people living in Jackson and Bolton and Vicksburg and Edwards that have not had an opportunity, not had a lot of places they can go and make $40,000 and still live in Bolton or Raymond or Clinton or Jackson." Mississippi Development Authority Director Glenn McCullough Jr. when asked said the plant is the biggest economic development news for Hinds County since -- "Ever." Bryant and McCullough sat down with The Clarion-Ledger on Thursday after the Legislature approved hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives for the Continental plant and a shipyard in Gulfport.
 
Mississippi bill would reward high-performing schools
A bill tying academic performance to school districts' funding may change the conversation at the Capitol from school choice and the Mississippi Adequate Education Program to another issue entirely. Rep. Hank Zuber, R-Ocean Springs, has authored a bill that would incorporate incentive funding into the current educational accountability model. If passed, school districts could receive up to $100 more per student for showing improvement on the previous year's tests, offering International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement courses, and the number of high-performing teachers serving as mentors for other teachers in their subject area, among other criteria. House Education Chairman John Moore, R-Brandon, said he's not sure whether this would be the year to pass incentive funding but it is time to start looking at it.
 
Turnover, low pay may undermine child care in state
In Mississippi, the minimum qualifications the state sets for child care workers are low -- as they are in many states across the country -- and pay is often minimum wage. At the same time, child care centers are under pressure to prepare children for school. The combination of a lack of support and increasing expectations puts centers in a difficult bind: How can they build and train a qualified workforce when they get so little help from the system? The average child care worker in Mississippi makes $18,310 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, less than half the state's median household income. Taking care of several small children with different but constant needs is a demanding job and many caregivers leave after a short while, which too often leads to a revolving door of workers.
 
Lawmakers, including Wicker, Cochran and Harper, push to expand Internet in rural areas
An agribusiness owner from Louise joined other witnesses at a congressional hearing Thursday in urging lawmakers to invest more money in reliable Internet services in rural and Native American communities. "Any policies that will promote more rural investment in broadband infrastructure, including where farming takes place, should be pursued,'' Darrington Seward, who manages Seward & Son Planting Company, told members of a Senate subcommittee. Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, chairman of the subcommittee, said Mississippi and other largely rural states need better Internet service. On Wednesday, Wicker, Republican Sen. Thad Cochran and Republican Rep. Gregg Harper joined other lawmakers at a press conference to urge support for the Connect for Health Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at expanding telehealth services to rural communities.
 
Presidential hopefuls collect $816,198 from Mississippi
Susan Carson of Jackson wanted to support a woman with her first presidential contribution, so she sent $250 last year to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. "I think she speaks to issues that women are concerned about, especially in the South, where generally women are not on an equal playing field," said Carson, an office manager at a law firm. Carson was among Mississippians who donated a combined $816,198 last year to presidential hopefuls. Republican candidates accounted for $669,095, and Democrats received $147,102, according to Federal Election Commission reports. Evelyn Gordon of Hattiesburg sent a total $135 to Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz. "He's a constitutionalist, and he's conservative," said Gordon, 44, an assistant professor in the University of Southern Mississippi's School of Kinesiology. "I have never been able to vote for a true conservative candidate because I missed out on (President Ronald) Reagan.''
 
Trent Lott: I'd have thrown out Cruz for 'liar' speech
Trent Lott (R-Miss.) says he would take a hard line with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) if he was still running the Senate. Cruz, a presidential candidate, assailed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a floor speech last year, accusing him of lying about a deal related to the Export-Import Bank. Lott, who served as Senate majority leader in 2002, suggested Cruz's speech was beyond the pale. "Having been majority leader, I've never had someone stand on the Senate floor and call me a liar," Lott said in an interview with The Hill's Molly K. Hooper. "In fact, if I had been in the Senate at that time I would have moved to have him removed from the Senate chamber physically."
 
FAA: Drone registration eclipses regular planes
More people have registered drones than all of the country's aircraft that carry people, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday. More than 325,000 people registered drones by Friday, which is more than the 320,000 occupied aircraft -- everything from a Cessna 172 to a Boeing 777 -- that are registered with the FAA, Administrator Michael Huerta told a drone conference at K&L Gates law firm. The number of remote-controlled aircraft is even greater because each registrant uses the same number for all of their drones, Huerta said. The average operator has 1.5 drones, he said. FAA has pursued hundreds of investigations into unsafe or illegal drone operation, and opened 24 cases, Huerta said. "We won't hesitate to take strong enforcement actions against anyone who flies unmanned aircraft in an unsafe or illegal manner.
 
Mississippi University for Women's Whitehead, Warner honored for excellence
Mississippi University for Women professor Dr. Kim Whitehead and student Brianna Warner were recognized at the Higher Education Appreciation Day, Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) Feb. 2. Whitehead is interim director of the Ina E. Gordy Honors College, associate professor of English and religious studies and director of religious studies. She also co-directs the annual International Series at The W and is 2016 conference chair of the Mississippi Philological Association. Whitehead was The W's Faculty Member of the Year last May and is a doctoral graduate of Emory University. Warner, a senior political science/women's studies double major from Gulfport, was a finalist for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship last academic year. Her leadership service includes interning with NEW Leadership Mississippi, and The W's Center for Women's Research and Public Policy.
 
UM students create campus safety group
A total of 160 active shooter incidents occurred in the United States between 2000 and 2013, according to an FBI study released in 2014. Increasing annual averages throughout the study indicate active shooter incidents are becoming more frequent, yet many students at Ole Miss have no idea what to do in such a situation. President of UPMe and junior Katie White and her colleagues noticed this problem one day, and they created UPMe as a way to combat it. UPMe is a program designed to inform Ole Miss students of the dangers they may face on campus and how to respond to them. By teaming with the University Police Department, they hope to improve safety on campus while promoting a better relationship between officers and students. When the students pitched the idea, UPD was more than happy to help make the program a reality. With the help of Jeff Kellum, the Crime Prevention Coordinator at UPD, they began to set a plan to achieve their goal.
 
Hill named assistant VP at East Mississippi Community College, Reynolds selected as new recruiter
Leia Hill has been named assistant vice president for Institutional Advancement at East Mississippi Community College. In addition to directing college-wide recruiting efforts, Hill will be responsible for overseeing the college's media, public information and marketing teams. Hill has worked at EMCC since February of 2015, when she was hired as the recruiter for the Scooba campus. She served as the staff sponsor for Student Ambassadors and the Student Government Association and helped with orientation programs like JourneyEAST. EMCC employee Megan Reynolds has been selected to fill Hill's former position as recruiter. Reynolds has been employed with the college since 2014, and most recently served as the administrative assistant to the vice president of the Scooba campus.
 
Copiah-Lincoln Community College named a top 150 in the country
Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America's community colleges, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program named Copiah-Lincoln Community College as one of the nation's top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million in prize funds, as well as Siemens Technical Scholars Program student scholarships. "I am very confident that this recognition is a result of the dedication of our faculty and staff to the success of our students," said Co-Lin President Ronnie Nettles. "Our focus and institutional commitment in recent years on advisement, retention, instruction and completion of our students is making a difference."
 
Phi Theta Kappa names Lynn Tincher-Ladner CEO
Phi Theta Kappa's Board of Directors has named Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner as President and CEO. Tincher-Ladner replaces Dr. Rod Risley, who retired in 2015 after serving as the Society's CEO for 31 years. She is the third CEO of Phi Theta Kappa in its 98 years. The late Dr. Margaret Mosal was the Society's first Executive Director. Prior to joining the staff at Phi Theta Kappa in 2012, Tincher-Ladner served more than 20 years in higher education in instruction and information technology and was the Director of Institutional Research and Planning at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Tincher-Ladner holds a Ph.D. in Education Leadership from Mississippi State University.
 
U. of Alabama researchers study rainforest recovery
A pair of researchers at the University of Alabama is among the co-authors of a paper in the latest edition of the journal "Nature" about the rate at which forests in Central and South America regrow after being cut down. Eben Broadbent and Angelica Almeyda Zambrano were among teams gathering data at 1,500 individual plots across 45 sites. The two worked in Bolivia in 2006, gathering information from more than 8,000 trees, shrubs and palms in 29 plots. The paper "Biomass Resilience of Neotropical Secondary Forests" was published online by "Nature" on Wednesday. As part of the research, the teams explored why it takes some secondary forests longer than others to recover.
 
Construction begins on nursing and pharmacy buildings in Health Science Sector at Auburn
When the deans of Auburn University's School of Nursing and Harrison School of Pharmacy first came to the Plains, students weren't familiar with their programs or where they were housed. Now, construction has begun on state-of-the-art facilities for both schools in the university's new Health Science Sector. "The Health Science Sector is a new campus district dedicated to instructional research and private partnerships that will support the current and evolving mission of Auburn University's health-related programs," Martha Koontz, with Auburn University Facilities Management, said. "The Auburn University Master Plan outlines plans for future expansion which may include research, clinical and parking facilities."
 
Gift benefits Auburn University poultry center, honors pioneer
A $2.5 million gift from Charles C. "Buddy" Miller III and wife Pinney Allen will memorialize an Auburn University alumnus and poultry industry innovator while furthering plans for a modern, multiphase research and education center for Auburn's College of Agriculture. The couple made the gift to honor Miller's parents, Virginia Doke Miller and Charles C. Miller Jr. -- a forward-thinking poultry industry pioneer. On Feb. 5, the Auburn University Board of Trustees approved naming the new center the Charles C. Miller Jr. Poultry Research & Education Center. The Miller Poultry Center will replace the College of Agriculture's existing Poultry Research Farm Unit, which was built more than 40 years ago off South College Street.
 
Maintenance at LSU severely lacks after years of budget slashing
When it rains outside Middleton Library on LSU's campus, it rains inside, too. A group of employees with offices in the basement know to bring their rain boots in heavy storms because the water creeps downward, penetrating the walls, dripping through the ceiling lights and pooling around their feet as they walk around their office space. Some shelves on the lower floor containing microfilm and old governmental texts are covered in plastic sheeting to protect them from the drips. Many shelves are empty because they are in a danger zone. Several decaying floor tiles have been replaced with plywood boards. They are conditions unbecoming of the state's flagship university's library, according to faculty and other educational officials who say the building should be a beacon of research and learning at the Baton Rouge campus. But it's also emblematic of the $510 million backlog of renovation and improvement projects that are needed to bring LSU's historic campus up to date.
 
New U. of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz Wants to Invest in Students
Joseph Steinmetz knows what he wants to do but hasn't figured out how he will do it. Steinmetz, 61, was named chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in October and moved into his new office in January. What Steinmetz wants to learn is where the money is and what it's spent on. "It's pretty simple for me what I want to do," said Steinmetz, who will be paid $700,000 annually. "We're calculating this, and I'm trying to figure it out right now. I want to know what the ratio is of what we actually spend on faculty and students and what do we spend on the rest to run this place. Then, whatever it is, I want to improve on it." Annual tuition and fees at the Fayetteville campus, the flagship of the University of Arkansas System, totaled $8,208 for in-state students and $20,299 for out-of-state students a year ago. Steinmetz said state funding is likely to remain static, and he doesn’t foresee a return to the days of significant tuition increases.
 
Eli Capilouto appoints task force on controversial mural at U. of Kentucky
University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto has formed a task force to advise him on what to do about a controversial mural in Memorial Hall. The committee will be co-chaired by Melynda Price, a professor of law and director of the African American and Africana Studies Program at UK, and Terry Allen, interim vice president for institutional diversity. In November, Capilouto ordered the mural -- a 1934 fresco depicting the history of Lexington -- to be shrouded after he met with a group of black students who said they found the scenes of black people, possibly slaves, working in fields to be offensive. Capilouto's decision to cover the mural provoked a wide-ranging campus decision about censorship and microaggressions on campus.
 
Texas A&M using wind chimes to help visually impaired students navigate campus
Sprawling across more than 5,200 acres, the Texas A&M campus is hardly easy to navigate, especially for Kaitlyn Kellermeyer, an A&M senior who has been blind since 2014. After noticing the lack of resources to help visually impaired students maneuver easily on campus, Kellermeyer said she was prompted to campaign for the passage of a bill that allowed wind chimes to be installed around the university to provide auditory signals for those in need of direction. In December, wind chimes were stationed in 10 locations around campus, and Kellermeyer said they are now seeking student organizations and community members to "adopt" each hanging ornament to make sure the program continues for years to come.
 
U. of Missouri curators seek to calm racial issues, legislative criticism
The University of Missouri is addressing its problems and answering critics the best way it knows how but will defy anyone who seeks to insult it and the students who brought issues of racial discrimination to the forefront, interim President Mike Middleton said Friday. In an address to the Board of Curators, Middleton described the steps that have been taken since the Nov. 9 resignation of Tim Wolfe to make the school a more welcoming place for all students. He also reported how the university is handling legislative criticism over student protests, the role of athletes in those actions and the system for granting faculty teaching waivers. And he asked critics to tone down the harshest rhetoric directed at the university.
 
Wildly Popular App Kik Offers Teenagers, and Predators, Anonymity
The allegations are beyond chilling: two Virginia Tech freshmen charged with the premeditated kidnapping and killing of a 13-year-old girl who, authorities say, communicated with her murderer online. But the way they chatted -- on a wildly popular messaging app called Kik -- has increasingly become a source of concern for law enforcement. The death of Nicole Madison Lovell, a liver transplant and cancer survivor from Blacksburg, Va., has put Kik -- widely used by American teenagers but not as well known to adults as Snapchat or Instagram -- in the spotlight at a time when law enforcement officials say it has been linked to a growing number of abuse cases. Law enforcement officials say Kik -- used by 40 percent of American teenagers, by the company's own estimate -- goes further than most widely used apps in shielding its users from view, often making it hard for investigators to know who is using it, or how.
 
Meningitis on three campuses leads to one outbreak and one death
In recent weeks, three different college campuses have seen instances of meningitis -- one which resulted in the death of a university employee -- but only one of those instances qualified as an outbreak prompting widespread vaccinations of the student body. Bacterial meningitis is a rare but dangerous infectious disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It can cause neurological damage, necessitate amputation or lead to death in some cases. It's relatively rare on college campuses, being more prone to affect adolescents, but there have been a number of outbreaks on campus in the last year, at the University of Oregon, for example, and Princeton University, and almost 30 reported infections on campuses between 2013 and 2015, according to data from the National Meningitis Association.
 
Democrats to count on Baria in the House
The Clarion-Ledger's Jimmie E. Gates writes: "Quietly last week, Democratic lawmakers selected their new minority leader in the House. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, is the new head of the House Democratic Caucus. He assumed the position that had been held by former state Rep. Bobby Moak, who was defeated for re-election in the November general election. Baria has been considered a rising star in the Democratic Party in recent years, even mentioned as a potential statewide candidate in 2019. ...Baria is known for asking intelligent questions on the floor of the House and seemingly has respect from the other side of the House aisle."
 
Reader says sales tax best for funding roads and bridges
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "'Sales tax is the only fair tax we have,' wrote a reader. 'Can you find out how long it would take for a two percent sales tax increase to fund restoration of our highways and bridges?' Hmmm. Let's quantify the issue. ...Simple arithmetic ($6.6 billion divided by $800 million) says it would take 8.25 years of the extra sales taxes to generate $6.6 billion. ...So, dear reader, it would take 8.25 years for a two percent general sales tax increase to provide the money needed (not counting inflation). However, even if the Legislature agreed with you that the sales tax is the fairest tax, it's not going to happen. But your idea was worth a look. ...Any more readers have ideas to share?"
 
Incentives are way of the world
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "State and local government incentives for big businesses are dumb as a sack of hammers. And they all said, amen. But unfortunately, incentives are the game afoot, the realpolitik and the way of the world for most states including Mississippi if they want to land big businesses and create large numbers of jobs. ...Incentives can work out well for taxpayers and the state economy, evidenced by the Nissan plant, a game changer for the state. The Toyota and Yokohama plants have the same potential. Or, they can flop, and cost taxpayers, see also: Twin Creeks Solar, KiOR biofuels, $28 million and $79 million down the drain, respectively."
 
Mississippi prison reform being emulated
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "A quick fact: Mississippi has a rate of incarceration that sees 1,120 inmates jailed per 100,000 of the state's 3 million residents. That dwarfs the U.S incarceration rate of 716 inmates jailed per 100,000 population, which is the highest rate of incarceration in the world. But while high, Mississippi's incarceration rate is lower than states like Oklahoma (1,310 per 100,000) and Louisiana (1,380 per 100,000). That's due to some relatively enlightened changes in recent years by the Mississippi Legislature and the Mississippi Department of Corrections that don't have as much to do with 'liberal' policies on crime and punishment as it does with fiscal responsibility."


SPORTS
 
No. 11 Bulldogs get defensive, avenge loss
It was a super Sunday for the No. 11 Mississippi State women's basketball team. The Bulldogs moved into sole possession of second place in the SEC standings thanks to a strong defensive effort in a 52-42 win over No. 21 Missouri at Humphrey Coliseum. With its fourth straight win, MSU (21-4, 8-3 SEC) avenged last month's 66-54 road loss and moved a half-game ahead of idle Florida. "Credit to the girls for playing some really great defense," MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. "On a day where we didn't play well, we were good on the defensive side. Missouri is such a tough, physical team and we really guarded them and made it tough. Forcing 27 turnovers is amazing." MSU returns to the road to face another ranked opponent, No. 12 Texas A&M on Thursday night.
 
No. 11 Mississippi State finds way to beat No. 21 Missouri
The Mississippi State women's basketball team continues to find a way to get things done. MSU coach Vic Schaefer will grant you the Bulldogs don't always earn aesthetic points, but he usually loves the defense and the intensity his players bring to the court every game. On Sunday, No. 11 MSU mixed defense and intensity with clutch plays by Victoria Vivians, Morgan William, and Dominique Dillingham to earn a 52-42 victory against No. 21 Missouri before a crowd of 4,521 at Humphrey Coliseum. "Mama said there'd be days like these," Schaefer said. "It wasn't pretty. That is all I can say, but as bad as we played I really got to give it to our kids for fighting and their resilience, especially defensively. As bad as we were playing and as bad as we were shooting the ball, we kept fighting and trying to make a play."
 
No. 11 Mississippi State women defeat No. 21 Missouri 52-42
Morgan William scored 17 points and Victoria Vivians 13, and the two guards made big plays late in No. 11 Mississippi State's 52-42 victory over No. 21 Missouri on Sunday. Mississippi State (21-4, 8-3 SEC) led 45-42 when William scored and Vivians followed with a steal and 3-point play for an eight-point lead with a minute left. William added two free throws with the duo combining for the Bulldogs' final 11 points. Both teams shot under 33 percent, combining to make only 3 of 22 3-pointers. But the Bulldogs made eight steals and turned 27 Missouri turnovers into 29 points in picking up their fourth straight win and splitting the season series.
 
Dillingham sparks Mississippi State's victory with key defensive plays
Jordan Frericks knows the tape doesn't lie, so she realizes the No. 11 Mississippi State women's basketball team likes to take charges. After playing MSU once earlier this season and watching more film of the Bulldogs for a refresher prior to Sunday's matchup, Frericks felt No. 21 Missouri had a good game plan. The key was to go in low and under control against the Bulldogs' aggressive defense. But Dominique Dillingham has found a way to defy scouting reports. It doesn't matter if you beat her off the dribble once because she is going to adjust and beat you to the spot next time and sacrifice her body to take the charge. Dillingham's defensive tenacity was on full display Sunday, as she helped draw five offensive fouls, including two charges in the final four minutes, to help No. 11 MSU pull away for a 52-42 victory against No. 21 Missouri before a crowd of 4,521 at Humphrey Coliseum.
 
Mississippi State's Gavin Collins transitions from catcher to third base
Gavin Collins doesn't care where he plays. He just wants to play. Collins arrived in Starkville as a catcher in the fall of 2013 and became the Mississippi State baseball team's first All-Southeastern Conference freshman. But Collins injured his left hand prior to the 2015 season and had hamate bone surgery that forced him to miss 13 games. Instead of coming back and taking more abuse to his non-throwing hand having to catch the likes of pitchers Dakota Hudson and Zac Houston, pitchers who constantly hit 95 mph, Collins had decided to move to third base for his junior season in an attempt to help No. 20 MSU put its best eight position players on the field. MSU will see how Collins and his healed left hand fare at third base Feb. 19 when MSU plays host to Florida Atlantic in its season opener at Dudy Noble Field.
 
Mississippi State's Dillon Day goes from undrafted to the Super Bowl
Nine months ago Dillon Day's football career nearly ended. He waited through seven rounds and 256 picks of the NFL Draft to hear his name. An NFL team never called his name. But it may have been the best thing to happen to the former Mississippi State offensive lineman, allowing him to instead sign as an undrafted free agent with any team. Two weeks ago, Day danced with teammates in celebration as confetti fell from the sky at Sports Authority Field in Denver. Day, a practice squad player for the Broncos, was headed to Super Bowl 50. This year's Super Bowl marks the Golden Anniversary of football's biggest game. A Mississippi State player will compete in it for the ninth straight season. "It's certainly a point of pride any time you have former students go on an achieve success really in any field," Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin said. "But the Super Bowl, obviously, is a big platform and a big stage."



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