After wrapping a successful non-conference slate, No. 8 Mississippi State begins the grind of the Southeastern Conference schedule starting Sunday at Florida.
Tip for the league opener in Gainesville is noon CT. MSU is making its second-straight appearance on the SEC Network, with Sam Gore and Candace Parker on the call.
Fans in the Golden Triangle area can listen to the radio call with Jason Crowder and Charlie Winfield on WKBB-FM 100.9. The contest from the Stephen C. O’Connell Center can be heard in Tupelo on WXWX-FM 96.3 and in Corinth on WKCU-FM 92.9 and WKCU-AM 1350.
Mississippi State heads to Gainesville riding an eight-game win streak following a 68-58 win against No. 17 South Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, on Wednesday. That victory improved the Bulldogs to 13-1 on the season.
Florida played in the second game of Wednesday’s SEC/AAC Challenge, defeating Central Florida 93-79 to improve to 12-1 on the year.
Sunday’s game will be the second time in the last three years MSU has opened conference play at Florida. State dropped that game 82-72 but rebounded to claim a 75-62 win last season in Starkville.
The Bulldogs are actually opening SEC play on the road for the 16th time in 22 seasons, including eight of the last 10 years.
Mississippi State and Florida enter Sunday the SEC’s top two teams in scoring. UF leads the league with 87.4 ppg, just ahead of the Bulldogs’ 81.7 average.
The Gator attack will be a stiff test for an MSU defense that rates 12th in the country allowing 51.3 ppg.
The Mississippi State defense held South Florida to a season-low 58 points while forcing the Bulls into their most turnovers of the year with 24. State rates seventh in the nation, forcing 24.1 turnovers per game, while its +10.4 turnover margin is third in the country.
Offensively, sophomore Victoria Vivians paced Vic Schaefer‘s squad with 23 points against USF, her 13th-straight game in double figures.
Vivians, a Preseason First Team All-SEC selection, rates second in the SEC with 18.2 ppg.
Fellow sophomore Morgan William collected double figures for the fifth time in the last seven games with 15 on Wednesday.
William has been stellar of late, averaging 11.8 ppg the last five games. The Birmingham, Ala., native has made 23 of 25 free throws (92 percent) in that stretch to move atop the SEC with 89.5 percent (51 of 57) for the season.
Junior Chinwe Okorie heads into the SEC slate averaging 10.3 points and 9.3 rebounds the last three games to raise her season average to 8.4 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds per contest.
The Gators put five players in double figures against UCF, led by 15 from January Miller.
Cassie Peoples, Florida’s leading scorer at 11.0 ppg, reached her average with 11 against the Golden Knights.
Ronni Williams, who averages 10.7 ppg, tops the Gators on the boards with 6.6 per game.
(From MSU Media Relations)