So, you may have heard this, but Mississippi State’s women’s basketball team is pretty good. As a way to help the interested MSU fans who would like to hop on the bandwagon but don’t know much about the team, we’ve put together five lists of five things to help you get to know one of the best teams in the country.
- MSU is 22-2, the best start to a season in school history.
- Of those two losses, MSU avenged one of them last night by beating Vanderbilt.
- MSU has an interesting mix of youth and experience, featuring five freshmen, four sophomores, one junior and four seniors.
- The Bulldogs lead the SEC in turnover margin (+8.0) and are second in scoring (77.4 points per game), blocks (4.91 per game) and three-pointers made (133). They are holding opponents to 54.3 points per game.
- State is currently ranked 18th in both Top 25 polls, but had reached as high as 14th during the undefeated start to the season.
Five Names to Know
- Vic Schaefer – MSU’s third-year head coach had to be pried away from his longtime job as an assistant at Texas A&M, but Scott Stricklin was able to get him after the Aggies won a National Championship. He builds his team around defense and is renowned as a recruiter, as evidenced by his current roster.
- Martha Alwal – the senior forward is MSU’s all-time leading shot blocker (a title she earned long ago) and has been in and out of the lineup this season due to injuries and other happenings, having appeared in 18 games but only started in three. When healthy, she’s an All-SEC forward able to block, rebound, score and run the floor.
- Morgan William – Victoria Vivians (more below) got all the hype coming out of high school, but the freshman William might be the most exciting player to watch. As Schaefer said, “If there’s anybody quicker than Morgan William, I’d like to see them.” Coming off the bench, William (a point guard) is actually MSU’s second-leading scorer with 9.4 points per game and leads the team with 3.7 assists per game. She might be most famous now for her game-winning shot against Ole Miss in Oxford last week.
- Dominique Dillingham – the sophomore guard from Texas was impressive as a freshman last year, and this year she’s blown up. Pound-for pound, she likely has more impact on the game than anyone for MSU, doing a little bit of everything. She’s top three on the team in rebounds, steals, blocks, minutes played and assists, and she’s one of only three players to start all 24 games.
- Victoria Vivians – you’ve likely heard of the freshman phenom who leads all SEC freshmen in scoring. She’s already got her own display in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame for her incredible high school career. Like Dillingham, she’s a guard at or near the top of just about every statistical category MSU has. It would be an upset if she doesn’t finish her career with a handful of records.
- Vic Schaefer ends every interview by saying “Praise the Lord and go Dawgs.” That’s how you know A) when he’s done talking to you and B) where his passions lie.
- The team has a lot of fun. That’s a cliché, but a very true one. They dance, they sing, they joke and they generally act like [lovable] goofballs whenever they get the chance. They even got Amy Tuck to rap the first verse of Rapper’s Delight a couple weeks ago.
- As loose as they are, they have the ability to flip the switch almost immediately when practice or a game starts.
- With all of the coaches combined, there are six National Championship rings sitting on the bench of every game. It’s a staff of people who have put in a lot of time.
- They’re all very attached to their fans. Meet and greets, luncheons, autograph and picture sessions – the coaches and players interact with fans every chance they get and know many of them by name.
Five Statistical Leaders
- Minutes per game: Dominique Dillingham, 28.6
- Points per game: Victoria Vivians, 14.5
- Blocks: Martha Alwal, 48
- Rebounds: Breanna Richardson, 142
- Steals: Dominique Dillingham, 50
Five Ways to Be Involved
- MSU has remaining home games on February 8th (Texas A&M), February 15th (Florida) and March 1st (Ole Miss).
- Before games, MSU hosts Bully’s Kidz Court in the Mize practice pavilion.
- After games, the team sets up for autographs and pictures on the court.
- The program hosts luncheons for fans and the team, with two more scheduled for February 5th and 24th at 11:30 a.m. and the cost is 12 dollars, getting you a full meal, drink as Schaefer and some players speak.
- Their booster club is called Courtside Fanatics which has a heavy involvement with the team.
- Tell your friends, loved ones and strangers in line at Taco Bell about Mississippi State basketball.