News, notes and quotes: Bibby’s out; Cougars back in state; baseball anyone?

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Kelly Donoho/MSU athletics

Chloe Bibby (55), a key player in Mississippi State’s 17-1 start, will miss the rest of the season with an injury to her left knee.

News, notes, quotes and an opinion or two…

No. 7 Mississippi State won a huge women’s basketball game Thursday night, but the Bulldogs lost a critical player in their 87-75 victory over South Carolina.

Vic Schaefer’s worst fear was realized early Friday when he learned Australian Chloe Bibby, the Bulldogs’ best outside shooter, is lost for the season with a knee injury. The nature of the injury to Bibby’s left knee hasn’t been disclosed but Schaefer said early Friday afternoon Bibby will undergo surgery in the near future.

“It breaks your heart because of how hard she’s worked and the player she has become,” Schaefer said of Bibby, who averaged 12.6 points per game for the 17-1 Bulldogs.

Rick Cleveland

Bibby led the team with 36 three-pointers, shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc. Forty percent is considered excellent for a 3-point shooter. State had lost its three leading 3-point shooters from last year’s team, which made it to the NCAA championship game for the second consecutive year.

Schaefer said “it’s yet to be determined” how the Bulldogs will deal with Bibby’s loss.

Bre’Amber Scott, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, immediately replaced Bibby Thursday night and provided 11 points off the bench. “I was proud of her,” Schaefer said of Scott. “She really played well in a big, big game.”

But if Scott moves into the lineup, who replaces her key minutes off the bench?

“We’re going to have to step up with some really young kids,” he said. “I don’t have a senior or even a junior ready to step in. We’re going to have to depend on some freshman and a transfer to step up. This will provide an opportunity for some young players. We’re going to be OK; we’ll figure it out.”

And Bibby?

“I saw her this morning,” Schaefer said. “She’s cried out. She told me, ‘Coach, I’m through crying. I’m ready to get this done and get on with rehab.’ If I know her, she will come back bigger, stronger and better than ever.”

It just won’t be this season.

•••

Pullman, Wash., and Washington State are 2,236 miles away from Brandon in Rankin Country. Nevertheless, the Washington State Cougars apparently are hoping that some Mississippi lightning can strike twice in the Pacific Northwest.

Just weeks after Brandon’s Gardner Minshew became the Cinderella story of college football in 2018, Washington State offered current Brandon quarterback Will Rogers for the Class of 2020.

Steve Spurrier, Jr., a Washington State offensive assistant coach, was in Brandon Thursday and made the offer, Brandon coach Tyler Peterson said.

Rogers, a 6-foot, 2-inch, 180 pound junior, threw for 3,009 yards last season, completing 60 percent of his passes for 23 touchdowns (versus 12 interceptions). He has been a two-year starter and hasn’t missed a play.

Peterson said Mississippi State, Southern Miss and Tulane are among more local schools currently recruiting Rogers.

•••

Pitchers and catchers report for Major League spring training Feb. 12-13, but the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum will jump-start Mississippi baseball talk on the evening of Jan. 24. Current and former Major League stars will be featured for a “Hot Stove League discussion” and a barbecue dinner as a fund-raiser for the museum.

Roy Oswalt, who will be inducted into the MSHOF in the Class of 2019, headlines a list of panelists that will also include Hall of Famer Jay Powell, Mississippi Braves manager Chris Maloney, former MLB pitching standout Paul Maholm, and current San Diego Padres standout Hunter Renfroe. Tickets to the event are $50 each and include the dinner, program, soft drinks, beer and wine.