Louisiana-Monroe preview

Morgan Williams is averaging 16.8 points per game off the bench. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Morgan Williams is averaging 16.8 points per game off the bench. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Preseason WNIT champion Mississippi State moved into the Associated Press Top 25 poll on the eve of wrapping a five-game homestand against the University of Louisiana at Monroe Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs used a 74-61 upset of No. 16 West Virginia and an 88-77 win against a Western Kentucky squad that was receiving votes to move to No. 25, the program’s first ranking in the poll since Nov. 23, 2009.

“I’m happy for our kids. It’s well-deserved. I’m especially happy for Martha (Alwal), Kendra (Grant) and Jerica (James) who have been with us going on three years and have been through some lean times,” MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. “Our kids have earned it, and now the challenge is living up to it day to day.

“It’s not where you start but where you finish, but we are certainly excited people across the country are recognizing what we are doing here at Mississippi State and rewarding our players for their effort and work ethic.”

Mississippi State’s run to the WNIT title gave the Bulldogs a 4-0 start to the season, their first back-to-back 4-0 starts since the 2008-09 and 2009-10 campaigns.

Mississippi State’s first time on the court as a ranked team can be seen online and via the WatchESPN app on SEC Network +. The game can also be heard in the Golden Triangle and surrounding areas on WMXU-FM 106.1. HailStatePLUS subscribers can also access a free audio stream of the contest.

Tickets are $5 for adults and free for youth high school age and under. MSU students also get in free with a valid student ID. Free pizza will be available for students while supplies last.

Children can enjoy games and inflatables prior to the contest in Bully’s Kidz Kourt.

In Sunday’s WNIT championship game, last week’s SEC Freshman of the Week Morgan William and sophomore Ketara Chapel led MSU with 17 points each, while this week’s honoree Victoria Vivians recorded her first double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Vivians was named the tournament’s most valuable player after averaging 19.3 points and 5.8 rebounds in the four games.

Chapel also earned a spot on the all-tournament team after tallying 12.5 points and 6.8 boards.

ULM (1-1) fell 82-54 at Stephen F. Austin last Friday. Sharnice Brooks led the Warkhawks with 19 points and paces Jeff Dow’s squad with 16.0 ppg this season. Alayshia Hunter also averages double-figures with a 10.0 scoring clip.

The Bulldogs hold a 5-1 lead in the all-time series against ULM, with the last meeting coming in the form of an 81-50 MSU win in Starkville in 2004.

Following Tuesday’s clash, Mississippi State will hit the road for the first time this season when it travels to New Orleans on Saturday. Tip-off at UNO’s Lakefront Arena is set for 2 p.m.

(From MSU Media Relations)

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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