North Dakota State preview

Senior guard Kendra Grant has appeared in two games since returning from injury.  (AP Photo/Jason Getz)

Senior guard Kendra Grant has appeared in two games since returning from injury. (AP Photo/Jason Getz)

After passing its first road test of the season last Saturday, Mississippi State moved up to No. 23 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll on the eve of hosting North Dakota State Tuesday at 7 p.m.

A week after earning the team’s first ranking since Nov. 23, 2009, the Bulldogs advanced two spots after starting 6-0 for the second-straight year.

“We are excited to be back home. Our first road trip to New Orleans was good. I was pleased with how we came out in the second half and played,” head coach Vic Schaefer said. “We played pretty well to start the first half and then kind of hit a lull, but I really liked how we came out to start the second half.

“We are glad to be home. This is a team that gave us fits a year ago up there. They are a hard team to deal with. They have a tremendous point guard, and they have all those players back a year older and wiser and with a new coaching staff. We expect a tremendous game here in the Hump.”

Tuesday’s contest will be broadcast online and via the WatchESPN app on SEC Network +. Radio will be available on WKBB-FM 100.9 and WXWX-FM 96.3 as well HailStatePLUS.

Tickets to see the 23rd-ranked Bulldogs are $5 for adults and free for youth high school age and under. Fans can arrive early and enjoy games and inflatables at Bully’s Kidz Kourt, and students can enjoy free pizza while supplies last.

MSU will look to go 2-0 against North Dakota State after claiming a 72-62 win in the inaugural meeting last season in Fargo.

Martha Alwal matched a career high with 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in that contest. The senior and preseason All-SEC selection saw her first action of the year in Saturday’s 85-45 victory against New Orleans.

Freshman Victoria Vivians scored 16 points against New Orleans, giving her double figures in five of the team’s six games this season. Vivians’ 16.3 scoring average this season rates eighth in both the SEC and among freshmen nationally.

Fellow rookie Morgan William follows Vivians with 14.0 ppg. They are the second-highest freshman scoring duo in the nation behind Binghamton’s Imani Watkins and Jasmine Sina.

The duo has helped MSU to an 86.2 scoring average that is tops in the SEC and 11th in the NCAA Division I ranks.

State faces an NDSU squad that improved to 3-2 overall after defeating Northeastern and NJIT to win the FAU Thanksgiving Tournament title.

Brooke LeMar averaged 17.5 points in the two games to raise her season tally to 18.6 ppg. LeMar had 21 points, 19 in the second half, in the 60-48 win against NJIT in the championship game, with 19 coming in the second half.

Marena Whittle, who joined LeMar on the all-tournament team, averages a double-double with 11.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.

Mississippi State hosts its second Hail State Hoops Luncheon Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. in Mize Pavilion before continuing a three-game homestand Dec. 7 against Southeastern Louisiana. The Bulldogs close the three-game home set against Louisiana Tech on Dec. 11.

(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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