Missouri preview

Morgan William is second on the team with 10.9 points as a true freshman.  (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Morgan William is second on the team with 10.9 points as a true freshman. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

No. 17/18 Mississippi State takes the momentum of an SEC-opening win against No. 19 Georgia on the road for the first time in league play when it heads to Missouri for a 2 p.m. showdown on SEC Network +.

In addition to watching the contest online and via the WatchESPN app, fans can listen in the Golden Triangle area on WKBB-FM 100.9 and in Tupelo on WXWX-FM 96.3. HailStatePLUS subscribers can go to www.hailstate.com to access the live audio stream.

Friday’s thrilling 64-56 win in front of a school seventh-most 4,114 fans extended the program’s record start and win streak to 16-straight games.

MSU was sparked by a season-best 53.8 percent shooting in the first half, but it also turned up the defense, holding UGA to 33.8 percent from the field for the contest.

Although the Bulldogs lead the SEC and rate eighth nationally with an 83.4 scoring average, Vic Schaefer’s squad has turned up the defensive pressure the last 12 games, holding all but one opponent below 60 points.

MSU has held foes to 30.1 percent from the floor during that stretch, lowering the team’s season field goal defense to 33.7 percent, third lowest in the SEC and 14th nationally.

Part of State’s defensive success has been defending the 3-point stripe, where State is first in the nation holding teams to 18.9 percent. After Georgia went 5 of 11 in the opening half, MSU held it to 0 for 10 the final 20 minutes.

The 3-point stripe could play a big factor in Sunday’s contest. In addition to MSU’s nation-best defense, the Bulldogs hit the trey at a 35.5-percent clip that is second in the conference. Missouri rates sixth at 32.3 percent, but its 108 3-point baskets is most in the league behind MSU’s 99.

Sophomore Breanna Richardson, freshman Morgan William and senior Kendra Grant all came off the bench to pace MSU with 11 points each Friday. Combined with Martha Alwal’s 10 points, State’s reserves tallied 43 of the Bulldogs’ 64 points.

Richardson’s effort against her home-state school continued a hot streak for the Conyers native. Over the last three games she has been the team’s second-leading scorer averaging 12.3 ppg and shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 60 percent from the 3-point arc.

Grant has also been playing solid basketball for the Bulldogs, scoring at a 10.8 clip behind 54.8-percent shooting the last four games.

William sealed Friday’s win with six-straight free throws in the final minute of the contest. The Birmingham, Ala., native finished the day 7 of 8 from the stripe.

She enters Sunday second on the squad and fourth among SEC freshmen with a 10.9 scoring average. The SEC’s third-best free-throw shooter at 83.2 percent, William also sits fourth in the league in assists with 3.9 per game.

William sits right behind classmate Victoria Vivians for the team scoring lead. Despite being held to just five points in her SEC debut, Vivians continues to rate third in the SEC, first among freshmen, with a 15.6 scoring average.

Mississippi State will be looking for repeat success in Columbia after claiming a thrilling 61-56 win there in Schaefer’s first season at the helm. The Bulldogs seek their fourth-straight win in the series after claiming victories in Starkville and the SEC Tournament last season.

This year’s Missouri squad returns home following a tough 63-53 road setback at Tennessee in Friday’s league opener. The loss dropped Mizzou to 10-4 overall.

Jordan Frericks paced Missouri with 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Morgan Eye knocked down 5 of 10 3-pointers en route to 18 points.

Frericks tops the Tigers with 14.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest. Eye follows with a 10.9 scoring average. She leads the league with 3.0 treys per game, just ahead of Vivians’ 2.0 average that is fourth.

State returns home at 8 p.m. Thursday when Arkansas comes to Humphrey Coliseum for a contest that will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net South.

(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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