Southern Miss preview

Sophomore guard Victoria Vivians leads the SEC scoring 20.1 points per game. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Sophomore guard Victoria Vivians leads the SEC scoring 20.1 points per game. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State moved up to No. 9 in Tuesday’s USA Today Coaches Poll, a day before the Bulldogs return home to host Southern Mississippi.

MSU earned its 23rd-straight week in the poll, including a fourth-consecutive week in the Top 10, as it returns home to host the Golden Eagles at 7 p.m.

Tickets for Wednesday’s contest cost $5 for adults, while MSU students and youth high school age and under get in free. Fans unable to come to the Hump can watch online or via the WatchESPN app on SEC Network +.

The contest will also be broadcast in the Golden Triangle and surrounding areas on WNMQ-FM 103.1.

Wednesday’s game will be School Night at the Hump, with MSU pencils and educational packets being given away.

Fans can arrive early and enjoy Bully’s Kidz Kourt and have pictures taken with Santa Claus, who will also read “The Night Before Christmas” at halftime.

State returns home 7-1 on the season following a 93-63 win road win at Louisiana Tech on Sunday.

“We’re coming off a great win at Louisiana Tech. We played really well down there,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “They’re a good, young basketball team. I’m really proud of our kids and how we went down there and played. Now we have to come home and get ready for Southern Miss. We are very familiar with them, and they’re very familiar with us. They’re coming off a win against [Ole Miss] in which they played really well.

“We’re expecting a hard-fought game tomorrow night against a well-coached team. We’ll have to really be ready to play. I’m looking forward to seeing how we respond after our game on Sunday [at Louisiana Tech].”

Sophomore guard Victoria Vivians‘ season-high 36 points paced the Bulldogs, who top the SEC and rate fifth nationally in scoring at 86.3 ppg.

Vivians scored 28 in the first half as she tied for the 11th-most points by a player in the nation this season. Sunday’s outing moved her atop the SEC scoring lead with a 20.1 season average.

The Carthage native notched her seventh-straight game in double figures. She has scored 20-plus points in five of those seven games.

Junior Breanna Richardson, who paced MSU in last season’s win at USM, comes into Wednesday’s game averaging 13.0 points her last two outings after notching 12 points last Sunday and 14 against Tennessee State on Dec. 6.

Sophomore Morgan William also added double figures on Sunday, matching her season high with 12 points. Five of those points came from the charity stripe, where she has gone 20 of 24 this season for an SEC second-most 83.3 percent.

William and freshman Jazzmun Holmes combined for 15 assists in Sunday’s win. William dished out eight, while Holmes tallied seven on the afternoon. The pair has helped MSU rate eighth nationally in assist/turnover ratio with a 1.5 mark.

While State has been excellent at protecting the basketball, the Bulldogs lead the nation in forcing turnovers, making foes give it away at a 27.3 per-game clip.

State also tops the nation in scoring defense, limiting opponents to just 44.5 ppg.

The Golden Eagles have been solid defensively as well, allowing 55.4 ppg en route to compiling a 6-2 record this season.

USM won its fifth-straight game Saturday with a 57-38 home win against Ole Miss. Jerontay Clemons scored 17 points in the contest to raise her season-leading average to 12.0 ppg.

Caitlin Jenkins tops the Golden Eagles on the boards, hauling down 9.6 per game to go with a 10.7 scoring average.

MSU has won three straight and seven of the last eight in the series after claiming a 73-46 win last season in Hattiesburg. The Bulldogs have claimed four-consecutive victories in Starkville.

(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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