Press Release from Mississippi State Athletics
Another first was accomplished for Mississippi State women’s basketball Tuesday as it was picked second in the Southeastern Conference preseason media poll, the program’s highest preseason selection.
In addition to the historic preseason prediction, junior guard Victoria Vivians was tabbed by media to the five-player preseason All-SEC team.
“We are very proud of Victoria. It is a well-deserved honor to be picked as one of the top five players in the SEC,” MSU fifth-year coach Vic Schaefer said. “I am sure she would tell you that while it’s a great honor, it is a reflection of her teammates and their hard work as well as her own.
“We are certainly honored and excited to be picked second in what is always a very tough Southeastern Conference, but we also know that there are other teams that could have been in this spot just as easily. This was the vision we had when we came to Mississippi State, and we have been so fortunate that God has blessed us with a great group of ladies who work extremely hard and take great pride in how they play and honor the game. This is another stepping stone for our program, and we are going to give our best effort to live up to that ranking.”
The Bulldogs return all five starters and nine letterwinners from last year’s squad that won a program-best 28 games, matched the school record for the second-straight year with 11 SEC wins and claimed the school’s highest league finish with a tie for second.
Schaefer’s 2015-16 edition notched its first two wins against Tennessee, with the second earning the program its second appearance in the SEC Tournament championship game. MSU went on to host the NCAA first and second rounds for the first time, defeating Chattanooga and Michigan State to punch the Bulldogs’ second Sweet 16 berth.
Vivians leads a Mississippi State roster that returns 90 percent of its scoring and 89 percent of its rebounding from that record-setting squad.
The Carthage, Miss., native is the SEC’s top returning scorer from a year ago after averaging a league second-most 17.1 ppg. The WBCA All-America Honorable Mention and first team All-SEC performer ranked third in the conference making 2.2 3-pointers per game, and defensively ranked 20th in rebounding (5.8 rpg) and 11th in steals (1.7 spg).
Against SEC competition, she finished sixth in scoring with 15.6 ppg while averaging 6.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals.
She capped the year being named to the SEC All-Tournament Team after averaging 22.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in three-game run. In the NCAA Tournament she scored at a 16.3 clip, including 24 points in State’s second-round win against Michigan State.
South Carolina was picked just ahead of the Bulldogs. The Gamecocks’ A’ja Wilson was the preseason pick for player of the year. Vivians and Wilson were joined on the preseason all-SEC team by Kentucky’s Makayla Epps, South Carolina’s Alaina Coates and Tennessee’s Diamond DeShields.
Mississippi State hosts Arkansas-Fort Smith in a Nov. 3 exhibition before officially opening the campaign at the Maine Tipoff Tournament against Purdue on Nov. 11.
Season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.hailstate.com/tickets, by phone at 1-888-GO-DAWGS.
Copyright 2016 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.
IF YOU HAVE A STORY IDEA CONTACT WLBT/WDBD AT (601) 960-4426 OR EMAIL US AT News@WLBT.COM.
715 South Jefferson Street
Jackson, MS 39201