Mississippi College preview

Dominique Dillingham was third in the SEC averaging two steals per game last year.(AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Dominique Dillingham was tie for third in the SEC averaging two steals per game last year.(AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Hail State Hoops is back! The No. 11 Mississippi State women’s basketball team opens its 42nd season of hoops Tuesday night, hosting Mississippi College in an exhibition at Humphrey Coliseum.

Tip is set for 7 p.m., and admission to the contest is free.

Tuesday’s in-state showdown will also be streamed online and via the WatchESPN app on SEC Network +, with Bart Gregory and Charlie Winfield on the call.

Fans can attend Tuesday’s game then recap the contest and look toward Friday’s season opener with SEC Coach of the Year Vic Schaefer and his staff at the first Hail State Hoops Luncheon.

That luncheon, originally scheduled for Thursday, has been moved to Wednesday out of respect to the memorial service honoring Keith Joseph Jr. and his father, Keith Joseph Sr., that will be held in Humphrey Coliseum at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Cost for each luncheon, which begins at 11:30 a.m. in Mize Pavilion, is $12, but fans can sign up for the $70 luncheon bundle that includes all seven luncheons plus automatic entry into the drawing for door prizes.

Fans can register for the Hail State Hoops Luncheon Series by phone at (662) 325-0198 or via email at dbrown@athletics.msstate.edu.

The Bulldogs and Choctaws are facing off for 27th time overall, but the first since 1993. MC leads the series 14-12 after MSU claimed four of the last five meetings.

Mississippi State’s No. 11 ranking from the Associated Press is the highest preseason rating in program history. That ranking comes after the Bulldogs capped a record setting 2014-15 season ranked No. 12 by the organization.

Schaefer’s squad also claimed a No. 13 ranking in the USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll after being tabbed in the Top 10 by Athlon Sport, Lindy’s Sports and SLAM Magazine.

MSU, which was picked third in the SEC by media members, returns four starters and 10 letterwinners from last year’s team that set program records for overall (27) and SEC (11) victories while advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Schaefer, MSU’s fourth-year coach, returns three of his top four scorers, led by preseason first team All-SEC selection Victoria Vivians (14.9 ppg). The Carthage, Miss., native finished her rookie season third in the SEC in scoring and tops among league freshmen to claim Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention accolades in addition to second team All-SEC honors.

Sophomore Morgan William also returns following a stellar debut campaign that saw her earn SEC All-Freshman Team laurels. The Birmingham, Ala., native also set a school record with an 84.2 percent clip at the free-throw line and ranked fourth in the SEC with 3.6 assists per game.

State returns valuable experience in juniors Breanna Richardson and Dominique Dillingham, who averaged 8.4 and 5.7 ppg, respectively. Dillingham tied for third in the league last season with 2.0 steals per game, while Richardson is the team’s top returning rebounder after averaging 5.7 a year ago.

In addition to the 10 returning letterwinners, Mississippi State welcomes five talented newcomers in Washington, D.C., product Zion Campbell, Mississippi all-state guard Jazzmun Holmes, Oklahoma State transfer Roshunda Johnson, Parade All-American Teaira McCowan and junior college All-American Jazmine Spears.

The Bulldogs officially open the campaign Friday, Nov. 13, hosting Samford at 5:15 p.m. in the opening game of a men’s-women’s doubleheader.

(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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