The Mississippi State women’s basketball team begins their quest for an NCAA title tonight as they host Southeast Missouri State at Humphrey Coliseum.
The Bulldogs were a heartbreaking loss to Notre Dame away from their first National Championship, but with everyone back 0-0, it’s a new season in Starkville. The Bulldogs lost a few starters, including leading scorer Victoria Vivians along with Blair Schaefer and Morgan William. Despite the losses, MSU brings back senior C Teaira McCowan, who led the nation in rebounding last season.
With the departures, McCowan will clearly serve as the leader of this Bulldog team, and head coach Vic Schaefer knows that the team will run through the 6’7 senior.
“This year, I probably need to make sure she is getting plenty of touches. We need to have her get plenty of touches every night, and [we need] to give her a chance to do what she can do. She is one of the elite players in the country, by far. She can affect the game on both ends. Getting her to continue to compete and play at that level is a challenge as a coaching staff—night-in-night-out and day-in-and-day-out. She’s a senior, and she’s coming off being an all-American. It’s time to live that every day.”
As for where the remainder of the production will come from, Schaefer is excited about the freshman talent that has arrived.
“I really love my freshmen. I love Jessika [Carter] and Xaria [Wiggins] and what they bring to the table. They are great kids, and they work extremely hard. Obviously, Myah [Taylor] having the redshirt year, being in the program a year, she is able to come in and play this year with Jazzmun [Holmes.] We have a really good chance at having really good point-guard play,” Schaefer said.
The Bulldogs will also get a boost from Texas A&M transfer Anriel Howard, who was 3rd in the SEC in rebounding last season despite being just 5’11. With Howard and McCowan on the boards, it will be difficult for anyone to match up with them down low.
Before the season, MSU was projected to repeat as SEC champs after claiming their first conference title last season. This year, MSU hopes to get over the final hurdle and hoist the trophy at the end of the season.
Tonight’s game likely won’t be much of competition as Southeast Missouri comes to town. The Redhawks played one top-10 opponent last season (Louisville) and lost 80-40.
Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.