Mississippi State hosts Oklahoma State under the lights, as Roshunda Johnson looks to put on a show against her former squad.
Tipoff is at 9:00 PM ET on ESPN2
Seeding and Records
Mississippi State: 1 (33-1)
Oklahoma State: 9 (21-10
What to Watch For
Roshunda Johnson on the primetime stage:
Johnson has been a force throughout the season and started off the tournament right. To put it simply, the bigger the stage, the brighter she shines. Johnson has steadily improved in all facets of her game, as she has become the Bulldogs’ Swiss Army knife on both ends of the floor.
While she only posted six points against Nicholls State, on-court presence was enough to draw defenders. Humphrey Coliseum will be alive and well, as Johnson is sure to feed off the energy. Look for the Oklahoma State transfer to be steal headlines and go out of her mind against a familiar foe.
Blair Schaefer from beyond the arc:
There are streaky three-point shooters, and then there are snipers from distance. Schaefer has been an assassin from beyond the arc all season, and showed why against the Colonels. Coming off an 18 point performance, Schaefer will draw a lot of attention. She can spot up from anywhere and has regained her confidence at the perfect time.
The senior guard has also improved defensively, as she plays until the end of every possession. Whether it be drawing charges or taking a risk and going for a steal, Schaefer has developed into a formidable two-way player. Though Oklahoma State will throw the kitchen sink at her, Schaefer will ultimately elude defenders and have her share of opportunities.
The second unit:
Having combined for 24 points against Nicholls State, the Bulldogs’ depth is amongst the best in the country. Everybody knows their job and is willing to take on any role assigned. As we saw against the Colonels, this second unit made the most of their minutes.
Look for Jordan Danberry, Chloe Bibby, and Jazzmun Holmes to make a game-changing play at any point. In addition, coach Vic Schaefer will utilize the entire unit if needed. They are tenacious, tough, and reliable on both ends of the floor, as all have earned the trust of their coaches and teammates.
Make no mistake that Oklahoma State will give the Bulldogs a run for their money. But as mentioned above, Mississippi State is just too deep. The Bulldogs will be playing with a bit more attitude, as Johnson will be on a mission and a half tonight.
While it will start out close and remain a dogfight throughout the first quarter, Mississippi State will regroup and go for the knockout punch. Through depth and experience, the Bulldogs will move forward. It will be too much to handle, as this team and a hostile crowd is sure to take it a level higher in Stark Vegas.