Lady Bulldogs: A Very Sweet Moment

I’m still searching for the video – and I know it exists – but I have confirmed through multiple sources that Sharon Fanning-Otis cut a rug following MSU’s win over No. 2 Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA women’s tournament Tuesday night. Senior Tysheka Grimes started the dance-off, and most everyone got in on the act, including MSU’s 15th-year coach.

“I would say that it would not win any award, whatever it was,” Fanning-Otis said.

Senior point guard Alexis Rack disagrees. “She can dance a little bit. You have to see it to believe it.”

It was a moment worth celebrating. With the win, the No. 7 seed Lady Bulldogs (21-12) earned their first-ever trip into the Sweet 16 round, where they will play No. 3 seed Florida State Seminoles at 1:32 p.m. Sunday in Dayton, Ohio.

It was MSU’s fourth trip into the second round under Fanning-Otis, but she said she didn’t feel any sort of burden lifted after getting over the hump.

“If you don’t keep it in the right perspective,” she said, “there’s a lot of times when you can worry about things that are out of your control, and what you do – what I do – is you pray it up, prepare the best you can, you work as hard as you can, and try to do things the right way and do them consistently, then everything else will fall into place. I’ve tried to approach life that way, I’ve tried to approach my profession that way.”

Rack said her coach, who’s not the demonstrative sort from what I can tell, didn’t act much differently than normal after the OSU win. “She really wasn’t different. She was just real excited.”

I’m doing a profile on Fanning-Otis for this weekend, and one thing that’s helped her maintain a right perspective is her husband, Larry Otis, formerly the mayor of Tupelo. They were wed in November of 2008. Their love story is a touching one, and I’ll take a closer look at that in the print edition.

“He has helped keep a perspective of life in general,” Fanning-Otis said, “and his encouragement and support are so important to me.”