Ohio State, Mississippi State set for rematch
By Dave Mackall
Published: Tuesday, March 23, 2010
No. 8 Ohio State and Mississippi State are familiar Women's NCAA Tournament opponents.
But both are a different version of last year's teams, which met in a second-round game on Ohio State's floor, won when the Buckeyes closed the game on a 10-0 run to erase a four-point deficit.
That doesn't mean it won't be another closely contested game in their second-round rematch tonight at Petersen Events Center.
"When you take a look at Mississippi State now, from another dimension, they're more of a four-guard team with one post player," Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. "They're a little bit different with their physicality and their presence."
Chanel Mokango, a 6-foot-5 All-SEC defensive team member, was impressive in guarding Middle Tennessee star Alysha Clark, the national scoring leader, in Mississippi State's come-from-behind first-round victory.
Mokango, who held the 5-10 Clark to 17 points (more than 11 below her season average), will be asked to front Ohio State All-American Jantel Lavender, a 6-4 junior who averages double figures in scoring (21.5 ppg.) and rebounding (10.4 rpg.).
"It's going to be tough," Mokango said. "Overall, we just need to play good team defense. It's going to take a team effort to successfully achieve our game plan."
Lavender, who scored 20 points in Ohio State's 68-64 victory over Mississippi State last season, is coming off a double-double (23 points, 16 rebounds) in the Buckeye's 93-59 first-round win over St. Francis (Pa.).
Ohio State (31-4), the second-seeded team in the Dayton Region, won't have a homecourt advantage this time. That doesn't matter to Mississippi State coach Sharon Fanning-Otis, who said the Buckeyes are imposing.
But Fanning-Otis likes her team's chances. Mississippi State (20-12) is led by point guard Alexis Rack, who scored 21 points against Middle Tennessee.
"People have been saying all of this hype about a rematch, but we both are two different teams, two improved teams from last year," Fanning-Otis said. "Last year, being in Columbus, Ohio State felt at home. But as I tell the team, you have to be ready to play anyone, anywhere, anytime."
Seventh-seeded Mississippi State had to fight its way back Sunday from 15 points down to beat Middle Tennessee, 68-64, in an emotional first-round game.
Expect another tough game for Mississippi State tonight.
"We have to play a lot better defense than we did," Rack said.
And Ohio State knows it had better shift out of cruise control from Sunday's first-round rout.
"I expect them to come out with a lot of fire and a feeling of getting revenge on us," Lavender said. "They're going to come in with the thought they can contend with us. They're going to be really juiced up and wanting to go to the Sweet 16 this year because it's the same game, the same situation as last year."
With 176 career blocks, Mokango is Mississippi State's all-time leader.
She set a school record last season with 97 and has recorded 79 blocks this season.
Rack became Mississippi State's third all-time leading scorer with 1,713 career points and fellow senior Tysheka Grimes, who scored eight against Middle Tennessee, moved into 16th place with 1,064.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley
- Pirates notebook: Martin finding power stroke
- Kovacevic: Big Ben’s contract clock ticking
- Fear of building collapse closes Tarentum road
- Talented center Sutter is proving to be ‘pretty important’ for Penguins
- Jailed Egyptian activists allege abuse by prison guards
- Primanti’s manager admits stealing $30,000 from restaurants
- Van der Sloot to be extradited to U.S. in 2038
- Analysis: Kesler still on Pens’ radar as Shero aims to bring back ‘Big 3’
- Israelis kill Jordanian judge at border checkpoint
- Autopsy details sicken Pistorius