Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic preview

Senior forward Savannah Carter has appeared in just four games this season due to injury.  (AP Photo/Jason Getz)

Senior forward Savannah Carter has appeared in just four games this season due to injury. (AP Photo/Jason Getz)

Fresh off claiming a 12-0 start, the best in school history, No. 20/21 Mississippi State looks to keep the momentum going this weekend as it heads to the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic at the South Point Hotel.

The Bulldogs open play against Illinois-Chicago at 9:30 p.m. CT Saturday. State wraps the pre-Christmas slate Sunday, taking on Miami (Ohio) in a 6 p.m. contest.

Both games can be heard in the Golden Triangle area on WKBB-FM 100.9 and in Tupelo on WXWX-FM 96.3. HailStatePLUS subscribers can access a live audio stream of the games.

Live video for the contest will be available at

Mississippi State makes the trek to Las Vegas following a thrilling 66-51 come-from-behind win at Louisiana-Lafayette to open the road trip.

The SEC’s top-scoring team at 87.2 ppg, Mississippi State turned up the defensive pressure on Wednesday, keeping ULL to 18.8 percent from the floor in the second half and 27.7 percent overall.

Offensively, freshman Morgan William paced the Bulldogs with 21 points. The effort raised her season average to 12.5 ppg, third-highest among freshmen in the SEC.

Fellow rookie Victoria Vivians continued the stellar start to her campaign, notching her third double-double of the year with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Vivians enters the weekend averaging 16.3 ppg, the second-highest mark in the SEC and third nationally among Division I freshmen.

Senior Martha Alwal had another solid outing, posting 14 points while grabbing nine rebounds to go with four blocked shots. With eight swats the last two games, Alwal needs one to tie former Tennessee standout Candace Parker for eighth in SEC career history (275).

The Worthington, Minn., native also needs two points to match former Bulldog Nitra Perry for 14th on MSU’s all-time scoring list.

Saturday’s contest against UIC (8-1) features two of the nation’s best defensive squads. Mississippi State owns a +8.8 turnover margin that is first in the SEC and fifth nationally. The Flames are eighth nationally in steals, 20th in scoring defense and 60th in turnover margin.

There will also be a battle on the boards, as MSU rates second nationally and first in the SEC with 20.3 offensive rebounds per game. UIC owns a +8.8 rebounding margin that is 34th nationally, while its 17.4 offensive rebounds per game is 22nd in the nation.

Redshirt junior Ruvanna Campbell paces UIC with 16.8 ppg and 14.0, the second-most nationally.

Miami (Ohio) comes to Las Vegas 2-5 overall and having lost back-to-back contests to Evansville and UT Martin. The RedHawks score at a 59.1 clip, led by 11.9 ppg from Baleigh Reid.

Hannah McCue tops Miami on the boards, hauling in 9.9 per game.

(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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