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MSU Women's Basketball 2016-17 Season Preview

Let's take a step away from the football team and look forward to what the near future holds for our Vic Schaefer-coached Bulldogs on the hardwood.

Mississippi State women's basketball team at the 2016 SEC tournament, Jacksonville, FL
Mississippi State women's basketball team at the 2016 SEC tournament, Jacksonville, FL
Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

We all need a little positivity regarding Mississippi State sports at this point, so to do so, we'll preview the upcoming season of women's basketball.

Head coach Vic Schaefer is entering his 5th season as the leader of the program and he's taken it to an entirely new level - one that very few programs in MSU sports history have ever reached. His Dawgs are preseason ranked #10 and #11 by the AP and USA Today Coaches' polls respectively and have legitimate championship aspirations, particularly conference, but even....dare I say it...national...

First let's look at the known quantities of this team:

  • The team returns all 5 starters and 4 more reserves from last year
  • That team went to the Sweet 16 for only the second time in program history and also won a school-record 28 games
  • 3 returners were on 2015-2016 All-SEC teams - 1st team: Victoria Vivians  - All-Defensive: Dominique Dillingham  - All-Freshman: Teaira McCowan
  • The senior class is only 13 wins away from being the winningest class in program history
Returners (*denotes 2014-15 starter):
  • Zion Campbell C 6-3 RFr
  • Ketara Chapel F 6-1 Sr.*
  • Dominique Dillingham G 5-9 Sr.*
  • Jazzmun Holmes 5-8 G So.
  • Roshunda Johnson 5-7 G RJr.
  • Teaira McCowan C 6-7 So.
  • Chinwe Okorie C 6-5 Sr.*
  • Breanna Richardson F 6-1 Sr.
  • Blair Schaefer G 5-7 Jr.
  • Victoria Vivians G 6-1 Jr.*
  • Morgan William G 5-5 Jr.*
Players lost:
  • Kayla Nevitt
  • LaKaris Salter
  • Jazmine Spears
  • Sherise Williams (graduated)
Looking ahead to the new stuff:
  • Preseason picked to finish #2 in the SEC behind South Carolina according to the coaches
  • Multiple members of the team are favorites for All-SEC, All-American teams and various national awards
  • Jacaira "Iggy" Allen G 5-10 Fr.
  • Ameshya Williams F 6-2 Fr.
Arkansas-Fort Smith (Exhibition)
vs. Villanova*
vs. Maine/Purdue*
vs. Tulane**
vs. Oregon***
vs. San Jose State***
@Iowa State
@Southern Miss
@Arkansas-Little Rock
vs. SMU****
vs. Grambling/USC****
Alabama State
Northwestern State
Ole Miss
@South Carolina
Texas A&M
@Ole Miss
@Texas A&M
*Maine Tipoff Tournament - Orono, Maine
**Biloxi, Mississippi
***Waikiki Beach Marriott Tournament - Honolulu, Hawai'i
****Women of Troy Classic - Los Angeles, California

I don't know about y'all, but I'm excited for this season. This is one of the most hyped teams in recent Mississippi State sports. The team seemingly has all the pieces in place - a proven coach, a proven superstar, several recognizable and proven starters/role players, tons of experience returning, including the "knowing how to win" aspect. We shall see how this plays out, it includes a seemingly tough schedule, with lots of neutral site games. Several big games at home though, that should help the Hump see record crowds further broken. I'm not going to predict anything, but it is expected that this team will have success this year. Very exciting time to be a fan of the ladies of the court, and if you haven't followed this team in the past, I highly encourage you to do so this year. As Vic Schaefer says, "Praise the Lord, and Go Dawgs!"