I think I can speak for us all when I say, wow. What a season it has been thus far. Following Sunday morning’s victory over Kentucky, Mississippi State capped off the SEC’s first undefeated regular season since the 1997-98 Lady Vols. Though the Bulldogs made it look effortless most of the time, an undefeated season is by no means something to be brushed off. It’s hard enough to get to the top, but staying at the top is what separates good programs from historic programs. Finishing as a National Finalist puts a big target on a team’s back and suddenly there is no such thing as an “easy” game because every team, regardless of the level of talent, will bring their best and then some to try and knock you off. To me, that’s what makes this season so impressive.
The women have been nothing short of dominant, so let’s take a look back at their historic season. Looking at stats, the Bulldogs are shooting an astounding 48% from the field, and are outscoring their opponents by an average of 28 points per game. Twenty-eight points - just to reiterate. They are shooting 40% from beyond the arc and are generating 23.9 points off turnovers, nearly tripling that of their opponents. They’re dominating the boards with an average of 38.6 rebounds per game (with 31% of those being on the offensive end), doubling up their opponents in assists with 16.1 per game, and averaging 3.8 blocks per game. So in conclusion, they are dominating their opponents in every facet of the game.
In SEC play, their closest scoring game came in a great road test against No. 15 Missouri. Victoria Vivians knocked down what would be the game-winning shot in the final seconds of regulation, followed by Blair Schaefer drawing a charge to seal the hard fought 57-53 win. The following week, the Bulldogs welcomed No. 6 South Carolina in what was one of the most anticipated match-ups in Humphrey Coliseum history. Drawing a record crowd, the environment rivaled that of an SEC game in Davis-Wade, and the crowd nearly blew the roof off the Hump with every shot the Bulldogs made. The game was closer than the score indicated, but the girls ran away with it at the end in an exhilarating 67-53 victory.
In the annual Think Pink game, they handily took down Texas A&M, securing the program’s first ever SEC title. Following the game, fans stayed in their seats and relished the opportunity to watch as players and coaches cut down the net. It was a surreal experience no one will forget, especially since it was done at home. In the following game against Auburn, the four seniors, Victoria Vivians, Blair Schaefer, Morgan William, and Roshunda Johnson, and senior team manager Ashley McGlon, were honored after the game for their dedication and roles they have played in elevating the program to where it is today.
With a single-season attendance record exceeding 110,000, Coach Schaefer donated $10,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Starkville, combined with a surprise addition of $36,000 from various donors. This act encompasses the impact the team has had on the Bulldog community and the state of Mississippi; the players and coaches have become heroes to each and every one of us and inspirations to so many young kids. It has been a season for the ages, but this is just the beginning of what the program can become.
Looking ahead, the Bulldogs will travel to Nashville this week for the SEC Tournament. They have secured a bye in the first two rounds and will begin play on Friday.