Arkansas-Pine Bluff preview

Sophomore Dominique Dillingham has started all 14 games for the Bulldogs this season. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Sophomore Dominique Dillingham has started all 14 games for the Bulldogs this season. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

A perfect non-conference slate is on the line Monday as the 19th-ranked Mississippi State women’s basketball team hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the contest in Humphrey Coliseum are $5 for adults and free for youth high school age and under. MSU students also get in free with a valid student ID.

Fans can arrive early and enjoy games and inflatables in Bully’s Kidz Kourt, which opens an hour prior to tip.

The final SEC tune-up will be broadcast online and via the WatchESPN app on SEC Network +. The contest can also be heard in the Golden Triangle and surrounding areas on WKBB-FM 100.9, and in Tupelo on WXWX-FM 96.3. HailStatePLUS subscribers can access the live audio stream.

Vic Schaefer’s squad returns from Christmas break looking to improve on a 14-0 record that is the best in school history as well as the longest win streak.

Mississippi State, who defeated UIC and Miami (Ohio) in Las Vegas prior to the brief hiatus, has the opportunity to join the 1999-00 squad as the only teams to post perfect pre-SEC records.

The Bulldogs return to a home court where they have won 16 of their last 19 going back to last season, including nine-straight this year.

State has done it with a high-powered offense that leads the SEC and rates seventh nationally with 84.9 points per game.

Freshman Victoria Vivians sparks that potent offense, scoring at a 16.3 clip that is third in the SEC and sixth highest among freshman in the NCAA Division I ranks.

Vivians enters Monday’s game the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week after averaging 15.0 ppg in her last four contests, including a 16.0 average that earned her Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic all-tournament team accolades.

Classmate Morgan William also averages double figures, scoring at an 11.3 clip that is third-best among league rookies. William also paces the Dawgs with 4.1 assists per game.

Sophomore Chinwe Okorie leads MSU on the glass, hauling down 6.8 rebounds per game. Nearly half of her rebounds have come on the offensive glass, a 4.2 clip that is fourth among SEC players.

Although the State offense has been potent, the defense has been stifling, with MSU holding nine of its last 10 opponents below 60 points. During that stretch foes are shooting just 31.3 percent from the field and 17.7 percent from 3-point range.

The Bulldogs lead the nation defending the 3-point arc, keeping opponents to just 18.7 percent (28 of 150) this season.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff has found the going tough from 3-point range this season, knocking down just 25.7 percent while hitting 35 percent of its attempts from the field.

The Golden Lions come to Starkville 2-8 and having lost five-straight contests. UAPB wrapped its pre-Christmas slate with a 65-56 setback at UAB and a 71-27 road loss at Alabama.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff was without leading scorer Shami Goodman in both of those contests. Goodman averaged 9.8 ppg in the team’s first eight contests.

Diamond Richardson stepped up in her absence, averaging 10.0 points the last two games.

Mississippi State and UAPB are meeting for the sixth time, with the Bulldogs having won the first five meetings, including a 74-31 decision in 2010.

Following Monday’s contest, the Bulldogs host No. 14 Georgia Friday at 3 p.m. on SEC Network + to open the conference slate.

(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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