Vanderbilt preview

Sherise Williams is averaging 4.1 points and 3.2 rebounds in 9.8 minutes off the bench. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Sherise Williams is averaging 4.1 points and 3.2 rebounds in 9.8 minutes off the bench. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

No. 14/15 Mississippi State looks to keep its undefeated season intact Sunday afternoon as it travels to Nashville for a tough Southeastern Conference matchup at Vanderbilt.

Tipoff from Memorial Gymnasium is set for 2 p.m. Fans can watch online or via the WatchESPN app on SEC Network +, or listen to the call with Jason Crowder and Charlie Winfield on WKBB-FM 100.9 in the Golden Triangle and WXWX-FM 96.3 in Tupelo.

HailStatePLUS subscribers can access a live audio stream of the contest.

Mississippi State has shown tremendous resiliency in jumping out to a school-best 18-0 record that includes the program’s first 3-0 league start.

The Bulldogs, who seek a second-straight win against Vandy, enter Sunday’s game one of just three unbeaten teams in the nation, joining Princeton and fellow league member South Carolina.

Vic Schaefer’s squad faces its second road test of the league slate after it rallied for a 53-47 win at Missouri a week ago. The Bulldogs returned home Thursday and used a stifling second-half defense to come back and down Arkansas 72-57.

Freshman Victoria Vivians paced the Bulldogs Thursday with 21 points, 15 in the second half.  The effort raised her season average to 15.5 ppg, third overall and first among rookies in the conference, while putting her at 11.7 ppg in the SEC.

Fellow rookie Morgan William contributed her second 11-point effort in three SEC games. The Birmingham, Ala., native kept her season average at 10.5 ppg, third among SEC freshmen.

Sophomore Breanna Richardson also added 11 points against Arkansas, giving her four double-digit scoring performances in the last five games. The Conyers, Ga., product averages 8.1 points and 5.8 rebounds this season, but in SEC play she is scoring at a 9.7 clip while grabbing 7.7 rebounds.

The three pace a Bulldog offense that leads the SEC and rates ninth nationally with 81.1 ppg, but it’s been the defense that has sparked Mississippi State.

After Arkansas shot 60.9 percent from the field in the first half, Mississippi State held the Razorbacks to 4 of 29 (13.8 percent) in the final stanza.

Thursday’s effort put MSU atop the SEC and eighth in the nation in field goal defense, holding foes to 33.4 percent. Part of that field goal defense includes the nation’s best 3-point defense that has limited opponents to 20.3 percent.

The stellar defense also leads the SEC and rates third nationally in turnover margin (+8.9) while limiting opponents to 52.8 ppg, fourth-fewest in the league and 12th nationally.

A State squad that has held its first three SEC foes to 53.3 ppg, second-fewest in the league, faces a Vanderbilt squad that returns home averaging 51.3 ppg in conference play.

The Commodores fell to 0-3 in SEC play and 8-7 overall after suffering a 64-44 road setback to LSU. Vandy fell at home to Tennessee Monday after opening league play with a road setback at Texas A&M.

Junior Heather Bowe, who averages 10.0 points and 4.9 rebounds, paces a young Vanderbilt squad that has no seniors on its roster and was hit by injuries in December.

Bowe’s 7.3 scoring clip in league play ranks right behind Rebekah Dahlman’s 8.3 average for the team lead.

Following Sunday’s contest, MSU returns home for its only back-to-back home games of the SEC slate. The Bulldogs host LSU Thursday at 7 on SEC Network + before Alabama visits Humphrey Coliseum Sunday for a 3 p.m. tip on Fox Sports Net.

(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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