STARKVILLE – No. 11 Mississippi State placed five players in double figures, shot 56.6 percent from the field in the opening half and cruised to a 128-34 win over Mississippi College in the Humphrey Coliseum.
The Bulldogs scored the game’s first six points and were never challenged by the NCAA Division II-member Choctaws. MSU scored 33 points in the first quarter and 47 points in the second quarter to build an 80-19 halftime lead.
“I am really proud of how we started,” MSU fourth-year head coach Vic Schaefer said. “We had a lot of energy. The press was really good for this early in the year. The second group (Blair Schaefer, Kayla Nevitt and LaKaris Salter) did a great job of sharing the ball. They made that extra pass and that led to some wide-open shots.
“We got Blair going and then we got LaKaris going. We did a great job of finding the player who was hot.”
The Bulldogs turned in a stifling defensive performance, recording 29 steals and forcing 55 turnovers.
Blair Schaefer finished with a game-high 21 points. She was followed by Victoria Vivians with 19 points and Breanna Richardson with 18 points. Ketara Chapel and Salter each had 13 points.
“It feels good when we have players coming off the bench and scoring points,” Vivians said. “That takes pressure off us. That lets us know we don’t have to do it all by ourselves.”
The Bulldogs also rallied from a double-digit deficit in the rebounding column over the game’s final half. MSU only scored 16 points in the third quarter but still forced 17 second-half turnovers with a majority of the half played using half-court defense.
Blair Schaefer hit 8-of-15 shots from the field, including a 4-of-9 night from 3-point range. Vivians hit 7-of-17 shots but was only 1-of-7 from 3-point range. Sherise Williams had a team-high seven rebounds. True freshman Jazzmun Holmes had 10 assists, six steals and only two turnovers in 21 minutes.
“Our defensive pressure was really good, even when we went to the half-court there in the second half,” Vic Schaefer said. “We are still a young team and we will have those nights when we play as a young team.”
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 50 of 96 shots from the field (52.1 percent), 11 of 27 shots from 3-point range (40.7 percent) and 17 of 20 shots from the foul line (85.0 percent). The Choctaws hit 10 of 44 shots from the field (22.7 percent), 3 of 9 shots from 3-point range (33.3 percent) and 11 of 18 shots from the foul line (61.1 percent).
MSU held a 44-41 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 28 assists and 13 turnovers, while the Choctaws had four assists and 55 turnovers.
MSU will open the regular season with a 5:15 p.m. start Friday against Samford in the Humphrey Coliseum.
First the Bulldogs will hold their first Hail State Hoops Luncheon Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. Fans can RSVP for the event, which costs $12 per person or $70 for all seven luncheons, by calling (662) 325-0198 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday, women’s season tickets will take priority for the opening contest. So those holding tickets from the women’s game will need to relocate to an open seat elsewhere for the men’s contest at 8 p.m.
In addition, men’s reserved parking will be in effect, which means lots in Palmeiro, Sanderson, Howell, MacArthur and the Soccer Complex are reserved. However, extra shuttles will be available to move fans from other parking lots to the Hump. The Gameday parking assistance center phone line will also be available starting at 4 p.m. and can assist with parking information or dispatching carts. That number is 662-325-9114.
(From MSU Media Relations)