Arkansas preview

Breanna Richardson is averaging nine points per game in SEC play. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Breanna Richardson is averaging nine points per game in SEC play. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Mississippi State looks to start SEC play 3-0 for the first time in school history Thursday night as the 14th-ranked Bulldogs host Arkansas in an 8 p.m. contest on Fox Sports Net.

Tickets for the SEC matchup at 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.

Doors open at 7, and families can arrive early and enjoy games and inflatables in Bully’s Kidz Kourt in Mize Pavilion.

Fans outside the SEC footprint can watch the contest on ESPN3.

WKBB-FM 100.9 in the Golden Triangle and WXWX-FM 96.3 in Tupelo will broadcast the contest, while HailStatePLUS subscribers can listen on www.hailstate.com.

The Bulldogs enter the contest 17-0 and one of four unbeaten teams in the nation. State’s 17 victories are the most in the country.

Vic Schaefer’s squad rallied for a 53-47 road win at Missouri last Sunday after opening the conference slate with a 64-56 win against No. 19 Georgia.

The SEC’s top-scoring team, the Bulldogs have relied on a suffocating defense that held Missouri to its lowest field goal percentage and points total of the season.

State has held 12 of its last 13 foes below 60 points, with nine of those not reaching the 50-point mark. Those teams are shooting 29.9 percent from the floor, giving the Bulldogs a total 33.3 percent field goal defense that is ninth in the nation.

Senior Jerica James has stepped up the offense in SEC play, averaging 11.0 ppg in the two games.

The Wynne, Ark., native scored a career-high 17 points against Mizzou. She tallied 11 of those in the decisive final eight minutes.

Freshmen Victoria Vivians and Morgan William continue to lead the Bulldogs’ offensive attack. Vivians averages an SEC third-best 15.2 ppg, while William is the league’s fourth-best freshman with a 10.5 average.

Sophomore Chinwe Okorie tops the Dawgs on the boards, pulling down 6.1 per contest. Sixty-three of her 103 rebounds have come on the offensive glass, putting her sixth in the league with 3.7 per game.

Mississippi State owns an 8-6 advantage over Arkansas in Starkville. The Bulldogs enter Thursday having won the last two meetings.

This year’s Razorback squad, under the direction of first-year coach Jimmy Dykes, brings a 10-4 overall record, 0-2 league mark to the Hump.

Arkansas dropped its league opener at Ole Miss before falling 52-50 on a last-second basket at home against Texas A&M.

The Razorbacks have the league’s top scorer in Kelsey Brooks, who averages 16.5 ppg. Jessica Jackson follows at 14.9 ppg, but has been the team’s leading scorer in league play with a 17.5 average.

Melissa Wolff paces the Razorbacks on the boards with 9.2 per game.

Thursday’s game opens a stretch of three of four at home for MSU. After a Sunday trek to Vanderbilt, the Dawgs return to the Hump to host LSU Jan. 15 and Alabama Jan. 18.

(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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