Mississippi State has made great strides over Vic Schaefer‘s four-year tenure as women’s basketball coach.
The Bulldogs are coming off the best season in program history going 28-8 and reached the Sweet 16.
But as great at the 2015-16 campaign was, it ended rather badly as MSU suffered a 98-38 beat down at the hands eventual national champion UConn.
“I’ve got a bit of a sour taste in my mouth over that last one,” Schaefer said. “But again, that’s my responsibility and I’ll wear that and make sure that doesn’t happen again. But to win 28 games to set the school record for victories and finish tied for second (in the SEC) and play for an SEC Championship, it was certainly a special year.”
Year 5 under Schaefer could see the Bulldogs reach even greater heights. State returns all five starters, its top seven scorers and only lost three reserves – Sherise Williams to graduation and Kayla Nevitt and LaKaris Salter, who both transferred to Jacksonville.
“We’ve got a chance to be good, no question about it,” Schaefer said. “When you don’t lose hardly anything and have the bulk of your production back and to add the quality of the class we’re going to add, you certainly have the potential to do something special. We’re going to try to do something that’s never been done.”
Schaefer also has the services of Roshunda Johnson and Zion Campbell available to him after both sat out last season. Johnson is a guard that transferred in from Oklahoma State where she averaged 11.3 points as a sophomore and Campbell is a 6-foot-3 center who redshirted her first year on campus.
“Redshirting Zion was the best thing we could’ve done for her,” Schaefer said. “She’s working harder than anybody I’ve got right now in the offseason. Ro is really going to add to our team offensively. I really want to be better offensively and the addition of Ro is really going to provide that and add another skill set that people are going to have to defend.”
Schaefer also signed a pair of highly touted prospects in the offseason as well.
Jacaira Allen is a two-time first team All-State selection out of Pompano Bech, Florida and is expected to provide immediate depth as a two-guard.
“Iggy is out of Florida and is a big guard,” Schaefer said. “Hopefully she’s going to take away some of those minutes that Dominique (Dillingham) had to play. She plays a lot like Dominique, a big physical guard that rebounds.”
Also joining the team this year will be former Harrison Central standout forward Ameshya Williams.
“Ameshya Williams is off the coast and is 6-3, long and athletic,” Schaefer said. “She plays a lot like Martha (Alwal). Johnnie (Harris) and I both think she might be the sleeper of the class. She averaged 24.6 points and 14.2 rebounds a game and was first team All-State in Mississippi and we’re obviously excited about her.”