Ole Miss and Mississippi State have enjoyed a healthy rivalry in many sports over the years.
Women’s basketball has not been lost on the rivalry either as Vic Schaefer and Matt Insell continue to battle for in-state recruits and bragging rights. The Bulldogs and Rebels will renew the hardwoord rivalry for the 90th time tonight at 6 p.m. on SEC Network.
“Like for any sport, you can throw the records out and the kids are going to compete hard,” said MSU’s Schaefer. “It’s a game that is meaningful to so many people. It doesn’t seem like there are any people that sit in the middle in this rivalry. You are either on one side or the other. You are either in or you’re out.”
Ole Miss has dominated the series historically with a 63-26 advantage but it is the Bulldogs that have had the most success of late. MSU has claimed the last three meetings and nine of the last 11. The Bulldogs have also won the last eight outings at Humphrey Coliseum, the site of tonight’s contest.
State swept last year’s series edging out the Rebels 64-62 in Oxford and 55-47 in Starkville.
Both teams enter tonight’s match-up coming off a loss. The Bulldogs suffered their first SEC defeat 66-54 at No. 24 Missouri on Thursday, falling to 3-1 in conference and 16-2 overall.
“I think we just have to learn from it and move on and leave it in the past,” said MSU guard Dominique Dillingham. “We lost. We’re going to lose games, but we don’t want to lose anymore. We have to just learn from it.”
Ole Miss (9-8, 1-3 SEC) is seeking to snap a three-game slide. The Rebels lost 76-57 at LSU, 85-65 to No. 20 Florida and 81-58 at No. 15 Texas A&M.
“Right now, we’re going through a slump, and that has to do with youth and trying to fight through that and learn to play in different types of situations,” Insell said. “That’s what we’re struggling with.”
The game will be a match-up between two of the SEC’s premier sophomore guards. MSU’s Victoria Vivians leads the league averaging 18 points per game while the Rebels’ Shandricka Sessom sits sixth scoring 16.2 points.
MSU junior forward Breanna Richardson is still listed as day-to-day with a concussion, which has kept her out of the last two games.