Arkansas-Fort Smith preview

Dominique Dillingham averaged 8.8 points per game as a freshman last season.  (AP Photo/Jason Getz)

Dominique Dillingham averaged 8.8 points per game as a freshman last season. (AP Photo/Jason Getz)

STARKVILLE – Hail State Hoops is back!

Mississippi State women’s basketball takes the court for the first time in 2014-15 Sunday, hosting Arkansas-Fort Smith in a 2 p.m. exhibition contest at Humphrey Coliseum.

Admission is free, and the contest will be broadcast live online and via the WatchESPN app on SEC Network +.

The contest is the final tune-up before MSU’s Nov. 14 opener against Mercer in the first round of the Preseason WNIT. That contest at the Hump tips at 8 p.m. as the second half of a doubleheader with the Mississippi State men’s squad.

Season tickets are still on sale for the MSU home slate. Reserved seats cost $90, while general admission tickets are $30.

Fans can go to and get a $20 discount on reserved season tickets by using promo code TIPOFF70. The discount expires Sunday at midnight.

Vic Schaefer’s third Bulldog edition enters the campaign with tremendous excitement following a thrilling 22-14 campaign that ended in the quarterfinals of the WNIT.

“The season is here, and our kids have been working extremely hard,” Schaefer said. “I’m proud of our returnees and how they have come back ready to go. I’m very pleased with our freshman class and their competitiveness.

“Arkansas-Fort Smith is coached by a dear friend of mine in Louis Whorton. He is a tremendous coach who has had great success. His teams are well-coached, disciplined and athletic.”

Five players who started 15 or more games off that team return for MSU this year, including leading scorer and first-team All-SEC selection Martha Alwal.

Alwal averaged 14.9 ppg while topping the squad with 8.8 rpg. The Worthington, Minn., native also paced the SEC with 2.7 blocks per contest.

Alwal is part of a veteran senior class that includes Kendra GrantSavannah Carter and Jerica James.

The Dawgs also return Freshman All-SEC selection Breanna Richardson. The Georgia product scored at a 9.5 clip, just ahead of teammate Dominique Dillingham’s 8.8 average.

State’s front court depth also includes junior Sherise  Williams and sophomore Ketara Chapel.

Sunday’s contest also sees the debut of the Bulldogs’ heralded Top 20 signing class. The class features a pair of in-state standouts in Parade All-American Victoria Vivians and all-state guard Blair Schaefer.

Birmingham News Player of the Year Morgan William will handle point duties along with James.

Texas all-state guard Kayla Nevitt and Florida forward LaKaris Salter will also see their first action along with sophomore Chinwe Okorie.

Sunday’s meeting will be the second against Arkansas-Fort Smith. MSU opened the 2011-12 slate with an 84-48 win against the Lady Lions.

UAFS, an NCAA Division II member, returns three starters from last year’s squad that went 9-17. The Lady Lions opened the season with an 81-52 win against Evangel, with newcomer Jasmine Brainard’s 20 points leading the way.

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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