Auburn preview

Mississippi State sophomore guard Morgan William is averaging 13.2 points over her last five games. (AP Photo/Ronald Irby)

Mississippi State sophomore guard Morgan William is averaging 13.2 points over her last five games. (AP Photo/Ronald Irby)

Mississippi State looks to start 2-0 in Southeastern Conference play Thursday as it opens the home portion of its conference schedule against Auburn at Humphrey Coliseum.

Thursday’s contest against the Tigers tips at 7:30 p.m. and will be part of the SEC Network’s inaugural whip-around coverage. The network will alternate between games, while each contest will be shown in its entirety online on the SEC Network +.

Fans can also listen in the Golden Triangle area on WNMQ-FM 103.1 or on through a HailStatePLUS subscription.

Individual game tickets cost $5 for adults, while youth 17 and under get in free. MSU students also get free admission with a valid student ID.

Bulldog fans have one final chance to save on #HailStateHoops tickets by purchasing $35 general admission season tickets. Fans who purchase before Thursday’s game will get admission to each home SEC contest for just over $4 per ticket. Season tickets can be ordered online at or by calling 1-888-GO-DAWGS.

In addition to free pizza, Mississippi State students can also get free Hail State koozies while supplies last.

Families can arrive early and enjoy games and inflatables in Bully’s Kidz Kourt, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in Mize Pavilion.

Fans at Thursday’s game will also get a special treat, as the Bama Air Dogs will perform their high-flying routine at halftime.

On the court, Vic Schaefer’s squad will look to fly high and win its 10th-straight game after opening the SEC slate with a 76-70 road win at Florida last Sunday. That win improved the Bulldogs, who claimed the highest rankings in program history this week, to 14-1 overall and 1-0 in league play.

“We are excited to be home and to have a chance to play in front of our crowd,” Schaefer said. “We have a tough, formidable opponent in Auburn, who is coming off a tremendous win against a top-10 team in Kentucky. They play extremely hard and have a tremendous guard who is leading the league in scoring. They are well coached and well disciplined. We will still have to be ready to play like we do every day in this league.”

The contest is a showdown of the SEC’s top scorers, as Bulldog sophomore Victoria Vivians’ 17.9 ppg rates second in the league behind Auburn’s Brandy Montgomery’s 18.4 average.

Vivians scored 14 points in last Sunday’s win after putting up 23 points against South Florida in the SEC/AAC Challenge.

The Carthage, Mississippi, native averages 2.5 3-pointers per game, third-most in the conference.

Classmate Morgan William follows Vivians in the scoring column with a 9.7 average. The Birmingham, Alabama, native is coming off an SEC personal-best 21 points at Florida after she scored 15 points against South Florida.

William has scored at a 13.2 clip her last five games, just behind Vivians’ 16.6 average in that stretch.

Junior Chinwe Okorie paces MSU on the boards with 6.7 per game. She also averages 8.3 ppg for the season after scoring 8.8 points and grabbing 8.0 rebounds her last five outings.

“We are still young at certain spots on the floor, but we are playing hard defensively. I’m pleased with that,” Schaefer said. “We have had two good wins since our last home game. I was extremely proud of how business-like our girls took the last two games. Their approach was outstanding and their preparation was good. Their work ethic and focus was good.”

That hard work and focus has helped make the Bulldogs one of the nation’s top defensive squads, allowing 52.5 ppg and forcing 24.6 turnovers per game.

MSU, which is also among the national leaders in scoring at 81.3 ppg, faces an Auburn squad that is 11-3 after opening the league slate with a 66-61 home upset of then-No. 7 Kentucky.

Tra’Cee Tanner follows Montgomery in the scoring column with 14.1 ppg. She also tops the Tigers on the glass with 8.6 rebounds per game.

(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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