Press Release from Mississippi State Athletics
Nine games at Humphrey Coliseum and a contest at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson highlight Mississippi State’s 2017-18 women’s basketball non-conference schedule.
The 15-game, pre-SEC slate for the 2017 national finalist includes nine teams that earned postseason berths last season. Four of those teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament, including an Oregon squad that visits Starkville on Dec. 13 after advancing to the Elite Eight.
“I certainly know how challenging it is,” sixth-year coach Vic Schaefer said of the pre-conference slate. “We have tried to make our schedule more demanding each year. Obviously, all of the road games we had last year were imperative for helping us get ready for the Southeastern Conference. This year we added quite a bit more from a strength of schedule standpoint, and even though we are playing them at home, we have some very difficult games in front of us.
“With this team, I am eager to see how our preparation is for those games. We lost four very valuable seniors from last year, and I’m eager to see how this year’s senior class steps up to fill the void and leads this team. We are going to need great leadership if we are going to be prepared for this kind of schedule.”
Coming off a historic run to the national championship game in the program’s first Final Four appearance, this year’s Mississippi State edition takes the court for the first time on Nov. 3 with an exhibition against former Bulldog assistant coach Elena Lovato’s Arkansas-Fort Smith squad.
The Bulldogs officially open the campaign by hosting ACC member Virginia as part of a doubleheader with the men’s team on Nov. 10. Tickets for the twin bill cost $20 and are currently available for purchase at www.hailstate.com/tickets.
The season-opening contest against the Cavaliers, who advanced to the WNIT Second Round a year ago, will also include a Final Four banner raising to celebrate State’s record-setting 2016-17 campaign that saw MSU defeat UConn to halt the Huskies’ record 111-game win streak.
“That opening game against Virginia is both exciting and concerning,” Schaefer said. “Virginia was one of the first teams out of the NCAA Tournament last year. They are a well-coached and talented team from a great basketball conference in the ACC. We will find out a lot about our basketball team right away.”
The Bulldogs wrap a season-opening, three-game homestand against Georgia State on Nov. 16 and Southern Miss on Nov. 19.
MSU hits the road Nov. 23-25, trekking to Mexico to face NCAA Tournament participants Arizona State and Green Bay, along with Columbia, in the Cancun Challenge. The Bulldogs return to the Magnolia State on Nov. 29 to meet Louisiana-Lafayette in the program’s first contest at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson since 2006.
“Playing in our state capital is something that was very important to us. Our state is excited about our program, and it is proud of what we accomplished a year ago,” Schaefer said. “This gives us a chance for our team to play in front of our great Bulldogs in our state capital, and it is also an opportunity for Victoria (Vivians) to be able to play in the Mississippi Coliseum for the first time since winning a state championship with Scott Central. We wanted to give our fans who might not be able to make it to Starkville during the season an opportunity to see our program.”
Following that contest in Jackson, State returns to Starkville to open a four-game stretch in the Hump against Oklahoma State in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Cowgirls return a solid contingent from a 2016-17 squad that went to the WNIT.
Mississippi State breaks for final exams before returning to the court Dec. 10 against Little Rock. State and the Trojans meet for the second-straight year, as the Dawgs claimed a hard-fought 58-44 win in Little Rock last season. UALR returns three starters from that team that ended the year 25-9 and in the second round of the WNIT.
The Dec. 13 contest against Oregon is a rematch of last season’s Rainbow Wahine Challenge opener, a game the Bulldogs won 75-63 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Ducks return all five starters from that squad that ended the year with a setback to UConn in the Elite Eight.
“Oregon is a well-coached team under Kelly Graves, and they have everyone back from last year’s team that went to the Elite Eight as well as a Top 10 recruiting class,” Schaefer said. “We played them last season in Hawaii on a neutral floor and had a knock-down, drag-out. They are going to be picked to not only compete for a Pac-12 championship, but a national championship as well.”
Schaefer’s squad hosts Maine on Dec. 17 before heading to Las Vegas for the Dec. 20-21 Duel in the Desert. The Bulldogs open against host UNLV before wrapping the pre-Christmas slate with a matchup against 2016 national finalist Syracuse.
MSU’s final tune-up for SEC play comes Dec. 28 as it hosts Mississippi Valley State.
Times and television dates, along with the SEC schedule, will be announced later.
Season tickets for the Humphrey Coliseum slate go on sale to the general public Sept. 5 and cost $120 for reserved seats and $60 for general admission.
Tickets for the opening doubleheader and Jackson game are being sold separately.
Mississippi State Women’s Basketball
Nov. 3 Fri. ARKANSAS-FORT SMITH (Exh.) TBA
Nov. 10 Fri. VIRGINIA TBA
Nov. 16 Thurs. GEORGIA STATE TBA
Nov. 19 Sun. SOUTHERN MISS TBA
Nov. 23 Thurs. ^ vs. Arizona State 12:30 p.m.
Nov. 24 Fri. ^ vs. Columbia 10 a.m.
Nov. 25 Fri. ^ vs. Green Bay 10 a.m.
Nov. 29 Wed. % vs. Louisiana-Lafayette TBA
Dec. 3 Sun. # OKLAHOMA STATE TBA
Dec. 10 Sun. LITLE ROCK TBA
Dec. 13 Wed. OREGON TBA
Dec. 17 Sun. MAINE TBA
Dec. 20 Wed. $ at UNLV 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 21 Thurs. $ vs. Syracuse 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 28 Thurs. MISSISSIPPI VALLEY ST. TBA
^ - Cancun Challenge (Cancun, Mexico.)
% - Mississippi Coliseum (Jackson, Miss.)
# - Big 12/SEC Challenge
$ - Duel In The Desert (Cox Pavilion - Las Vegas, Nev.)
Home Games In BOLD CAPS
All Times Central & Subject To Change
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