Mississippi State jumped two spots to No. 20 in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll as it embarks on a three-game roadtrip Wednesday at Louisiana-Lafayette.
Tip at the Cajundome is set for 11 a.m. The contest can be heard in the Golden Triangle and surrounding areas on WKBB-FM 100.9. Fans in Tupelo can listen to the call from Jason Crowder and Charlie Winfield on WXWX-FM 96.3. HailStatePLUS subscribers can access a live audio stream of the contest.
Tuesday’s ranking marks the Bulldogs’ first appearance in the Top 20 since 2009. The two-spot jump comes a day after they vaulted one place to No. 21 in the Associated Press Top 25.
Mississippi State hits the road looking to match the 2004-05 squad for the longest win streak in school history at 12. Vic Schaefer’s squad equaled the best start in program records as it improved to 11-0 with a 104-41 win against Mississippi Valley State at Humphrey Coliseum.
That win came a day after the squad snagged a dominant 73-46 road win against Southern Mississippi.
Despite being the SEC’s top-scoring team at 89.2 ppg, the Bulldogs have turned up the defensive pressure the last two games, holding USM and MVSU to 14 of 48 (29.2 percent) each from the field and forcing 69 turnovers.
After forcing USM into 32 miscues, the Dawgs turned the Delta Devilettes over a season-high 37 times. The two stellar defensive efforts raised MSU’s season turnover margin to +10.6, the best in the SEC and third-highest nationally.
Offensively, six players reached double figures Monday as MSU jumped to fifth nationally in scoring this season.
Freshman Blair Schaefer led the way, making 4 of 5 from 3-point range for a season-high 12 points.
Classmate Victoria Vivians was one of four Bulldogs with 11 points against MVSU. Vivians averages 16.3 ppg in her inaugural campaign, a mark that is tied for second in the SEC and the third-highest among freshmen in the NCAA Division I ranks.
Sophomore Chinwe Okorie, senior Kendra Grant and freshman LaKaris Salter also added 11 points Monday while junior Sherise Williams contributed 10.
Grant’s season high came a day after she became the 21st Bulldog player to join the 1,000-point club.
Mississippi State seeks to match the program’s top win streak against a 6-0 Louisiana-Lafayette squad that is vying for its best start in school history.
Wednesday’s contest will be a battle between a potent MSU offense and a Ragin’ Cajun defense that is tied for 21st nationally allowing 53.5 ppg.
ULL, who is wrapping a three-game homestand, knocked off Southern-New Orleans 58-52 on Saturday.
Louisiana-Lafayette averages 66.0 ppg, paced by Jaylyn Gordon’s 14.4 average. Simone Fields, who scores at an 8.5 clip, leads ULL with 6.0 rebounds.
Following Wednesday’s contest, MSU heads to the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic, where it faces Illinois-Chicago at 9:30 p.m. Saturday and Miami (Ohio) at 6 p.m. Sunday.
(From MSU Media Relations)