Mississippi State’s 4-0 women’s basketball team just won the preseason WNIT, and you might want to get on the bandwagon now. It’s gonna fill up quick.
Not only did MSU win the prestigious tournament, not only were they the first SEC team to do so since 1999, and not only did the Bulldogs have the WNIT MVP, but Vic Schaefer’s team won all four games by double-digits, racking up point totals of 97, 93, 74 and 88 along the way, winning the championship game against Western Kentucky 88-77 in front of the seventh-largest crowd in Humphrey Coliseum history.
“It is fun to coach this team,” Schaefer said with a smile after Sunday afternoon’s win.
And he doesn’t even have his full team, yet. Not even close. His Bulldogs are without All-SEC forward Martha Alwal, the school’s all-time leading shot blocker. Fellow seniors Kendra Grant and Savannah Carter – both starters and key players – are recovering from injury, as well.
But what he does have seems to be working pretty well. Freshman guard Victoria Vivians, one of the most high-profile signees in MSU history, was named tournament MVP after her double-double Sunday, a 16-point and 10-rebound effort in her first such performance. Through four games, Vivians leads the team with 19.3 points per game.
And right behind her is another freshman, Morgan William, who might be the most exciting to watch of the newcomers. The point guard is scoring at a clip of 16.8 points per contest, while her 18 assists and 14 steals both lead the team.
“If you can find somebody faster and quicker than her,” Schaefer said, “you need to let me know so I can go get her.”
MSU is currently unranked, but will almost assuredly enter the polls this week. Women’s basketball in the SEC, to use the seasonally-appropriate analogy, is tough sledding, but State seems like a team that’s only going to get better as the youth matures and the talented veterans return.
“This felt good, but we feel like we have a lot more to do,” Vivians said. “We are not satisfied. We know it’s a good start, but we can only get better.”
Said Schaefer, “It’s not what you want. It’s what you earn. That’s what you get in life.”